Discover the inventors, politicians, performers, activists and other everyday people who made this country what it is today.   George Washington Recognized Equal Status of Jewish Americans August 17, 1790 Do you go to church or temple? If you want to, you can go to whatever kind of religious institution you prefer. This kind of religious freedom doesn't exist everywhere in the world. In the United States, freedom of religion is upheld by the First Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment was written in 1789. Not long after, the members of the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, presented George Washington with a congratulatory address when he visited their city on August 17, 1790.