If a Jew were elected president of the United States, would he/she be required to put a mezuzah on all of the doors of the White House? I can think of many arguments for each side.

  • The house does not belong to the president. Nonetheless, we do require placing mezuzot on rented dwellings.

  • The White House may not be considered a dwelling due its public use. Still, there is a section of the White House called the "Executive Residence" which is where the president and first family live. Perhaps this section needs mezuzot and the rest of the White House does not. On the other hand, even the Executive Residence is still somewhat of a public space, with many rooms the first family likely never uses, rooms for hosting state events, rooms used by White House employees, etc. But perhaps these are akin to guest rooms/entertaining rooms in a normal house.

  • It seems somewhat strange to affix mezuzot to some doors in the White House and not others. After all, the halakha is that every room in a house must have a mezuzah. But since the rest of the house is a public space, perhaps this is more akin to an apartment building where the Jewish resident is only responsible for placing mezuzot on the space he/she occupies.

So to which doors (if any) would a Jewish president need to attach a mezuzah?

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    Intriguing and +1, I wonder if the fact the President doesn't rent but is given the house as part of his role influences the outcome? – mbloch Feb 7 at 15:39
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    I'm inclined to think that the White House has halachic rules similar to a hotel room that you would rent for a minimum of 30 days. (I think that' s the criteria for a mezuzah.) You live in the hotel room. So your room would need the mezuzah, but the other hotel rooms don't. Re the White House, I think we need to distinguish its status. Specifically - is the entire White House considered the president's home and the president controls when he wants to allow people into specific rooms such as the oval office, press rooms, public tours, etc?(cont.) – DanF Feb 7 at 15:44
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    Housing is part of the compensation for a variety of jobs. From housekeeper or nanny to university president to Peace Corp worker or summer camp counselor. Some are short-term, some longer-term. Some are for entire houses, some for a room of one's own, some for a shared room. – Cyn Feb 7 at 15:46
  • ... in which case, it is the president's home & seems each room needs a mezuzah. If, however, all the rooms are public access but just the bedrooms and kitchen and specific other rooms are "owned" by the president, then, this sounds like the hotel situation. – DanF Feb 7 at 15:49
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    I'm sure it varies a lot. I could see, for example, a museum with a small suite in the back for the caretaker to live in. Or an office building with apartments on the top floors. Or an oil drilling platform with 50 workers that also live there. If there are rulings for some situations I mentioned in both comments, we could figure out how the rules might apply to the occupants of the WH. The WH is a historic building with strict rules about what renovations are and aren't allowed, but putting up a mezuzah (which can be done without damaging the door frame) in and of itself should be fine. – Cyn Feb 7 at 16:06

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