Part of the mythology of American Liberal Judaism is the contrast between the conservative and reactionary Puritans of Massachusetts against the liberal Roger Williams founded Rhode Island in their treatment of Jews. Prominent are mentions of the Newport Synagogue and cemetery as representations of the supposed equality for all that liberals were generously willing to bestow.
The reality is rather different. While Rhode Island did permit Jews to practice their religion, Jews had no civic equality and could not become citizens of Rhode Island. In 1762 when Aaron Lopez who played a great role in building Newport's shipping industry to prosperity sought citizenship, he had to go to Puritan Massachusetts to get it. Jews in 'liberal' Rhode Island were not welcome as citizens and did not receive political equality until 1842.
Much is made of the Newport Synagogue as representing a Jewish presence in liberal Rhode Island. In point of fact there never was a strong Jewish presence in Rhode Island. A number of Jews first arrived in Rhode Island hoping that it would grant them equality only to discover that they had no rights as citizens and they left. When Rhode Island received a Royal charter which again promised equality for all, 15 families came to be disappointed as well.
The famous Newport synagogue was built on donations from New York and soon fell into disuse. It was maintained by donations from the Touro family and the city council seeing that it attracted donations from wealthy Jews (which were placed into trust funds administered by that same council) turned it into a tourist attraction devoid of worshipers in the early 19th century. Only late in the 19th century, did Rhode Island finally gain an actual Jewish community.
Liberals and particularly liberal Jews like to cultivate the myth that it was liberals who embraced and protected Jews in the US. As a result they've filled Jewish-American history with lies, myths and outright propaganda. Like the benevolence of FDR, who had no trouble sending Jews back to the gas chambers on the St. Louis. The affinity of Harry Truman for Jews (he considered Jews pushy people and refused to allow one in his house, including even his biographer). The friendship of Thomas Jefferson (who despised Jews but was committed to equality) Bill Clinton as Israel's best friend in the White House (in actuality brought Israel to the brink of annihilation) and so on and so forth.
And so goes another lie that liberals like to tell about American-Jewish history.