There is a large non-Jewish cemetery near where I live. It has beautiful grounds and is open to the public for visiting. Is it OK to pray or study Torah there?

  • 2
    Gemara taanis 16a mentions going to cemeteries on public fast days, with two potential reasons - to declare we are chashuvin lefanecha k'meisim OR so that the dead will 'daven' on our behalfs. The difference is whether it relevant to go to non Jewish cemeteries (they can't 'daven' for us). Ignoring some of the troubling questions on this gemara, it doesn't seem to bring up any issues with davening in a non Jewish cemetery, just it won't achieve anything special. Sep 18, 2019 at 11:27
  • @MosheSteinberg do you have a link to the relative passages?
    – larry909
    Sep 18, 2019 at 11:37
  • 1
    sefaria.org/Taanit_16a.7 Sep 18, 2019 at 18:26

1 Answer 1


It has been said that a Jew may visit the graves of righteous gentiles to arouse one to do Teshuvah when the graves of Jews are not available in one’s vicinity, but if the cemetery you wish to enter contains statues of idols (such as Christian crosses, etc.) then you should not enter such a cemetery let alone pray or learn there.

M”B 579:14; Kaf Hachaim 579:20

  • Does your answer paraphrase what it says about the crosses?
    – larry909
    Sep 18, 2019 at 14:24
  • 2
    @larry909 Yes, the M"B mentions graves that non-Jews mark with their religious symbols. Sep 18, 2019 at 14:34

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