Praying in a non-denominational room


Last time I was at Newark Airport between flights in the morning, I davened shacharis in the non-denominational room (actually, they call it a meditation room). The room has mats in the back for Muslim prayers and an opaque curtain in the front blocking some Christian emblem with a cross on it. You can't see the emblem with the curtain closed. I assume Christians open the curtain when they're praying there. Other than this, the room has no religious markings of any kind. I just wanted to double-check that I can use this room, because I will be traveling to the US after Purim.


A meditation room or non-denominational prayer room is an acceptable room to daven in. Although Muslims believe in Hashem, the Radvaz asserts that it is forbidden to indicate that one accepts all the beliefs of Islam, which are obviously heretical according to Judaism.[1] It would logically follow that it would be forbidden to enter a mosque as if one were going to pray.[2] In this situation, however, the opposite is true. Because there is no indication of which faith a person entering believes in, entering such a room cannot be forbidden on the grounds that a Jew is demonstrating his belief in another religion.

The prayer mats in the room do not pose a problem either. They are not tashmishei avoda zara and you are not benefiting from them. As for the cross in the meditation room, it probably is a symbol and was not bowed down to or worshipped. If this is the case, then one may even benefit from it.[3] However, since a traveler might possibly have kneeled to it and worshipped it as avoda zara, we have to assume that worst-case scenario and treat it as a tzelem.[4] But if the curtain is closed and it does not appear as if you were praying to the cross, there is no problem with davening in the room.

BookID: 2 Chapter: 149

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply