May Kohanim visit Hayden Planetarium in New York City? The planetarium in question is adjacent to the Natural History Museum. Issues in question are presumably sof tumah latzeit (the idea that the impurity will eventually leave, therefore rendering the exits impure) in conjunction with ohel (the idea that the roof might transmit the impurity from dead mummies and skeletons to the planetarium).

I am not familiar with the planetarium in question, but I believe that it has its own entrance, which might mitigate the issues involved.

  • 1
    Can kohanim enter the museum itself? And of course, CYLOR if this applies to you.
    – Scimonster
    Dec 23, 2014 at 9:35

2 Answers 2


This might not be a problem as the Rambam says non Jews do not create tumat ohel. (rambam tumat met 1,13)

Although it is controversial in the Talmud see shut harambam (tumat met 1,13) debating whether non Jews create tumat ohel.


From Rav Aviner http://www.ravaviner.com/2013/03/halachot-of-visiting-museum.html?m=1

Q: Is it permissible for a Cohain to enter a Natural History museum that has a mummy?

A: There is a dispute if a non-Jewish corpse spreads impurity in an enclosed area (Tumat Ha-Ohel), and it is permissible to be lenient (Shulchan Aruch and Rama, Yoreh Deah 372:2. And we have heard in the name of Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein that he permitted it, but he warned against a Cohain touching a mummy). And there are those who are strict (Taharat Ha-Cohanim Ke-Halachah 5:6).

The CRC has a conveinint guide of which museums may be problematic:


  • 2
    This answer addresses the Natural History Museum itself and concludes that its status is disputed. That is a good first step toward answering the question at hand, which is about the status of the adjoining planetarium, specifically related to its status as adjoining. Also, note that the CRC list linked here is for Chicago only.
    – Isaac Moses
    Dec 20, 2018 at 15:45
  • Shulchan Aruch and Rama, Yoreh Deah 372:2 don't say it is permissable to be lenient. They both actually say one should be strict.
    – Double AA
    Dec 20, 2018 at 16:16
  • I wonder why he gave that as a mareh makom
    – sam
    Dec 20, 2018 at 16:25

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