If a Jew wishes to visit a grave at a Christian cemetery (say the grave of a patrilineal grandparent), is it permissible? Does it matter if it is a mostly unadorned cemetery vs. one with pictures of Christian saints or other iconography?

  • 1
    The Vilna Gaon was opposed to visiting even Jewish cemeteries.
    – Loewian
    May 28, 2015 at 0:28
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    Why would the halacha be different for an observant Jew versus a nonobservant Jew?
    – Double AA
    May 28, 2015 at 2:11
  • IIRC, didn't several notable rabbis visit Arlington National Cemetery on various occasions, such as when a notable president died?
    – DanF
    May 28, 2015 at 2:26
  • Is the cemetery on church grounds? May 28, 2015 at 7:29
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    A number of years ago there was a high profile murder in Brooklyn of a black ger. his family wanted him buried, if I recall correctly, in his native Carribean country where no Jewish cemetaries existed---at least in that city. The man was a very well-liked member of the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn. The "problem" was resolved by securing permission to symbolically build a fence on a plot on cemetery grounds. Although this situation may not address the OP's issue precisely, it does suggest that a Jew may pass through a non-Jewish cemetery without any halakhic difficulty.
    – JJLL
    Aug 17, 2015 at 4:40

1 Answer 1


yeshiva.co answers the question whether a Jew can attend a non-Jew's funeral

A Jew can enter a non Jewish cemetery and attend a non Jewish funeral. (see Bava Metziah 114a). The only prohibition is to enter a church if the ceremony takes place there.

chabad.org adds

According to Jewish law, there is generally no issue with attending a non-Jewish funeral or visiting a non-Jewish cemetery.

If there are pictures, one should not behave in any way that leads to concerns of avoda zara (e.g., prosternating).


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