Halloween and Kaparos

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I once asked a prominent Brooklyn rabbi* what the halakhah is regarding Halloween and he surprised me with a leniency. My assumption was that since the holiday’s origins are pagan, any connection to the holiday, even giving out candy, should be forbidden (see here: link). He replied, however, that the connection to paganism is remote and long forgotten. It has lost its original meaning and is now a holiday about silliness. It still isn’t a wholesome holiday for Jews but, according to this rabbi, it isn’t tainted with paganism and its attendant stringencies either.

There is an early medieval custom to swing a chicken over one’s head on the eve of Yom Kippur and declare that the chicken should be punished in one’s stead. This practice of Kaparos was opposed by many scholars, including the Rashba, Ramban and the author of the Shulchan Arukh (see Beis Yosef, Orach Chaim 605 – link), because it seems to be based on a pagan practice (see the entry in the Jewish Encyclopedia: link). Despite this, the majority of authorities, particularly among Ashkenazim, have permitted the practice of Kaparos and Jews continue to practice it today. But how could these authorities allow a seemingly pagan practice?

R. Tzvi Hirsch Chajes (Darkei Ha-Hora’ah part 1 ch. 6 in Kol Sifrei Maharatz Chajes, vol. 1 pp. 236-237 – link) offers two reasons which, when combined, explain the continuation of the practice. The first is that the Jewish masses are not careful in distinguishing between practices. They do not recognize what is biblical and what is rabbinic or what is an important custom and what is minor. If a practice they’ve performed their entire lives is abolished, they will mistakenly think that anything can be abolished. They will not realize the exceptional nature of this practice.

Additionally, and most importantly, is the Halloween comparison. Like those of the contemporary American holiday, the pagan origins of Kaparos are entirely obscure. The practice has changed into a Jewish custom and has long lost any external meaning. People observe it solely for mitzvah purposes. Therefore, explains the Maharatz Chajes, the socio-religious damage of abolishing a popular practice overrides the need to stop a custom that has lost all pagan meaning.


* While I don’t think there is anything wrong with the standard practice of quoting rabbinic rulings one heard from famous rabbis, I generally do not reveal on this blog the names of rabbis who speak to me privately so that they will continue to speak freely around me.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link of New Jersey, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

40 comments

  1. “They do not recognize what is biblical and what is rabbinic or what is an important custom and what is minor. If a practice they’ve performed their entire lives is abolished, they will mistakenly think that anything can be abolished. They will not realize the exceptional nature of this practice.”

    This may be the explanation beneath the practice of Chasidim not to change their style of dress.

  2. I heard an Aish rabbi tonight relating the view that it’s important to give out candy on a street rather than be thought of as the mean frummies on the block … even when Halloween falls on Shabbos.

  3. “Like those of the contemporary American holiday, the pagan origins of Kaparos are entirely obscure.”

    But are they? When during a month where we attempt to repent and seek forgiveness from G-d, can swinging a chicken over one’s head, ostensibly to transfer ones sins onto it (and then kill the sinful chicken) be anything but pagan? Whereas Halloween really has degenerated to meaningless costumes and debauchery, the very essence, the very meaning of the act of Kaparot is one that is inherently illegitimate.
    It’s not as if swinging chickens over the head for kicks and giggles (as is the case with Halloween); it’s done because it is conceived of as an act which in some way is related to atonement, in what remains to be a pagan way, even if you think its a mitzvah. And its one thing to participate in a harmless aspect of an originally pagan custom. It’s entirely another to participate in an originally pagan custom when it relates to something as important as repentance and Yom Hadin in a pagan way.

  4. Maybe the pagan and Christian origins of Halloween are forgotten in Brooklyn; but they certainly aren’t forgotten in places like Victoria, BC that have a large concentration of modern pagans. FYI.

  5. “When during a month where we attempt to repent and seek forgiveness from G-d, can swinging a chicken over one’s head, ostensibly to transfer ones sins onto it (and then kill the sinful chicken) be anything but pagan?”

    I thought that transferring ones sins onto someone else was a Christian concept.

    I actually asked a rav today about Halloween and he said that there is nothing wrong with giving candy to trick-or-treaters and it may well be a good thing to do in order to have good neighborly relations. He did not support Jewish kids doing trick-or-treating or going to Haloween parties.

  6. I believe people have reinterpreted the practice to mean that we see the chicken as if it should really be us, like the Ramban writes about sacrifices.

  7. “People observe it solely for mitzvah purposes.” hence the problem – there is no mitzvah its a minhag (and maybe a minhag taout but one allowed to continue). the analogy to halloween really isn’t analogous. your reasoning is faulty – see ezra’s post.

    i guess taking one’s girlfriend on a date on st. valentine is —–{fill in the blank] issur of aovda zara, chukat hagoyim, neither but to go out on a saint’s birthday one should instead play pinnochle with the viber and friends, or not a bad idea if it falls out on thursday night [date night]. you choose.

  8. kaparos pagan in origin? You mean like sacrifices? Or worship? Or you mean it’s only when you transfer sins to another being and then it stands in as a scapegoat? Uhm, like the scape goat (l’azazel)? I’d go on, but I think someone’s knockin at door.

  9. I wonder if the first reason from the Mahara”tz Chajes works anymore. Many people in the Jewish community are much more educated. Though I guess it depends which community you’re in.

  10. kaparos pagan in origin

    how abouttashlich-cast yours sins upon the water like the man……..
    certaily, non Jewish in orign

  11. There is no St. Valentines’ day. He was decanonized, and therefore has no saint’s day anymore. It now truly is a purely secular holiday. (even assuming the romantic aspects ever had a religious basis).

  12. MDJ: Not true — he was not de-canonized. From wiki:

    The feast day of Saint Valentine, priest and martyr, was included in the Tridentine Calendar, with the rank of Simple, on February 14. In 1955, Pope Pius XII reduced the celebration to a commemoration within the celebration of the occurring weekday. In 1969, this commemoration was removed from the General Roman Calendar, but Saint Valentine continues to be recognized as a saint, since he is included in the Roman Martyrology, the Catholic Church’s official list of saints. The feast day of Saint Valentine also continues to be included in local calendars of places such as Balzan and Malta, where relics of the saint are claimed to be found.

  13. So are yoy saying kapparot did not start as a Jewish custom until after the pagan origins were forgotten?
    KT

  14. Not distinguishing among a d’oraita, a d’rabbanan and a minhag is itself a serious problem. See the Rishonim on the bottom of Sanhedrin 29a, where the sin of Adam Harishon is said to flow from failing to distinguish his siyag from HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s mitzvah. The purpose of a siyag is to habituate oneself to stay far from an aveirah, not to fool the masses about what the aveirah really is.

  15. See here for how Rav Pam, zt”l dealt with Halloween in Brooklyn, NY:

    http://matzav.com/rav-and-rebbetzin-pam-and-holloween

  16. dov: kaparos pagan in origin? You mean like sacrifices? Or worship? Or you mean it’s only when you transfer sins to another being and then it stands in as a scapegoat?

    Even if those originate in paganism, a mitzvah in the Torah is different. See Tosafos, Avodah Zarah 11a sv. ve-i.

    Jon_Brooklyn: I wonder if the first reason from the Mahara”tz Chajes works anymore. Many people in the Jewish community are much more educated.

    Aderaba, in my experience it is extremely relevant. I see it all the time. If we can change this, why can’t we change that? If women can learn Gemara, why can’t the daven from the amud?

    Mycroft: how abouttashlich-cast yours sins upon the water like the man……..
    certaily, non Jewish in orign

    It is a biblical metaphor! Micha 7:19.

    Joel Rich: So are yoy saying kapparot did not start as a Jewish custom until after the pagan origins were forgotten?

    No. Some suggest that it began as a minhag vasikin, entirely separate from pagansim. Others suggest that the people borrowed it from paganism and it caught on. And others combine the two — it was a minhag vasikin but people borrowed from paganism the insistance to take a white hen, etc.

    Steven: Certainly interesting but I’m not sure when Rav Pam became the final word on halakhah.

  17. Others suggest that the people borrowed it from paganism and it caught on
    ======================================
    In this instance the early Rabbis should have banned it, and enough people doing the wrong thing eventually kashered it.
    KT

  18. <>

    Baal habayis omeid bifnim u’trick-or-treater omeid bachutz…

  19. R. Student,
    Yi’yasher kochaka for the tzu shtell between Kapparot and (lihavdil) distributing candy on halloween, a tzu shtell which is definitely “ra’ui la’alot al shulchan melakhim”. Even so, I can see that one might respond (lihagdil torah uliha’adirah) with a rejoinder that a difference may exist. In the case of Kapparot, there is an established minhag recognized by Gedolei Yisra’el (already found in a responsum of the Ge’onim, as cited by Rashi in Shabbat 81b, s.v. “hai parfisa”). Although some (such as the Mechaber of Shulchan Arukh) remonstrate against the minhag on the grounds that it (allegedly) resembles pagan practices, Maharatz Chajes is capitalizing upon the public amnesia regarding those pagan origins to justify perpetuation of the minhag. halloween is different, because no Gedolei Yisra’el have ever formally recognized the legitimacy of celebrating halloween. [As R. Hershel Schachter writes in Bi’ikvei Hatzon, no. 5, a minhag can only be justifiably commenced with the assent of Gedolei Yisra’el.] Some Gedolim indeed distribute sweets on halloween when they are approached by visitors, but I am not sure that’s the quite same as formal recognition. As such, even if the pagan origins of halloween have been largely forgotten, it might not enjoy the same status of Kapparot.
    My compromise suggestion presented in the other forum (i.e. give a ten-dollar-bill with a smile to each trick-or-treater but no candy) satisfies both the mitzvah to eschew participation in chukat ha’akum as well as the mitzvah to give tzedakah to Noahides (plus the imperative to show hakarat hatov to North American society as a “malkhut shel chessed”). It is true, as R’ POV observes, sometimes halloween is (lihavdil) “chal lihi’yot biShabbat”, whereupon giving money will be impossible. However, if the amount of money given on most years (when halloween is not “chal lihiyi’ot biShabbat”) is large, this will lead to happy responses from the trick-or-treaters that will tide them over the occasional halloween (“shechal lihi’yot biShabbat”) when they will be denied financial contributions from Jews. [Mashal limah hadavar domeh (lihavdil): “Vikhi tomru mah nokhal bashanah hashevee’eet… Vitziviti et birkhati lakhembashanah hasheesheet…”]

  20. R’ Gil, you truly deserve extra points for providing the links to the works (I know it wasn’t the first time). I hope this will became standard.

  21. There’s no question that, given sincere teshuvah, an individual’s korban effectuated kapparah; Rav Soloveitchik beautifully elucidated how the scapegoat effected a certain kapparah for an indivual, even if he hadn’t done teshuvah, contingent on the individual’s connection to klal Yisrael.

    But an animal as kapparah in the absence of the Beit haMikdash?

    Ditto on what Mordechai Schur said. Several of my coworkers attended an event for “[t]heholiday popularly known as Halloween [which] is the time of year known to witches as Samhain, when the veil is thin between the worlds of the living and the dead.”
    It featured the following: “…we build elaborate and beautiful altars. Altars provide a way of showing honor and respect for the elements , spirits and deities, to remember and acknowledge our beloved dead, to pray for healing and transformation. Our altar building tradition is heavily influenced by the Latino Dia de los Muertos traditions of building home altars for our friends and relations who have passed.”

    What was that again about the pagan roots being remote?

  22. The graphic made me want to read the post. The content revealed even more about the rite than I thought knew. In no way was the post offensive.

  23. Sorry… I forgot to insert the word “lihavdil” in the fourth to last line of my last post, so as to indicate that I am not comparing halloween with (lihavdil) Shabbat. Thank you.

  24. Although I continue to practice Kapparos with a chicken (as opposed to money), I do have my qualms about it for all of the above reasons. A couple of years back I was close to abandoning it in favor of money. I asked my Rav if doing so would call for Hataras Nedarim. He was in a rush at the time and didn’t give me a defnitive answer, but it was also clear that he was not giving me the “Nah, do what you want” that I was hoping for, and so I didn’t follow up and just kept using the chickens).

    While I contiinue to have qualms about the minhag, I also have qualms with the attitude taken by some in this thread. Yes, the objections to the practice were raised by the rishonim and as such are to be taken seriously, but support for the practice has sources equally old and illustrious as pointed out above. I think it calls for a repectful agreement to disagree. If you are not comfortable doing kapparos with a chicken because you are convinced it’s a pagan custom, then I wouldn’t argue with you, and you shouldn certainly not do kapparos with a chicken. But I think you should still try to avoid casting anyone who does as some kind of blithering idiot. At a minimum the Rema admonished against such and attitude.

  25. BTW, I am in full agreement with those on this thread who bemoan this generation’s increasing (and in many cases willful)tendency to fail to distinguish between d’oraisa, d’rabonon, minhag, and chumra. This tendency represents a regression to the shtettel am-haaratzus, that predominated in Europe and represents the undoing of much good that was accopmplished by the last generation of widely available yeshivah education. It is precisely this kind of mindset that might lead someone to think that his g’zar din is more dependent on performing kapparos than in working on refining his midos. I am continually baffled by the sense that with all of our years spent in yeshivah, the yeshivishe “velt” is becoming increasingly uncomfortable allowing us to so much as open a Shulchan Aruch and look up a simple question for ourselves rather than run to annoy the Gedolei Eretz Yisrael with every little nonsense that comes our way. What exactly did we pay all that tuition for? The answer used to be, “so you would know when to ask a shailoh”. But that is no longer a valid answer, because the reccomended practice now, is to always ask a shailoh.

  26. Rabbi Michael Broyde came to the opposite conclusion. To quote from his article:

    “Based on this, in order to justify candy collection on halloween, one would have to accept the truthfulness of any of the following assertions:

    1] Halloween celebrations have a secular origin.

    2] The conduct of the individuals “celebrating Halloween” can be rationally explained independent of Halloween.

    3] The pagan origins of Halloween or the Catholic response to it are so deeply hidden that they have disappeared, and the celebrations con be attributed to some secular source or reason.

    4] The activities memorialized by Halloween are actually consistent with the Jewish tradition.

    I believe that none of these statements are true.
    Applying these halachic rules to Halloween leads to the conclusion that participation in Halloween celebrations — which is what collecting candy is when one is wearing a costume — is prohibited. Halloween, since it has its origins in a pagan practice, and lacks any overt rationale reason for its celebration other than its pagan origins or the Catholic response to it, is governed by the statement of Rabbi Isserless that such conduct is prohibited as its origins taint it. (76) One should not send one’s children out to trick or treat on Halloween, or otherwise celebrate the holiday.

    The question of whether one can give out candy to people who come to the door is a different one, as there are significant reasons based on darchai shalom (the ways of peace), eva (the creation of unneeded hatred towards the Jewish people) and other secondary rationales that allow one to distribute candy to people who will be insulted or angry if no candy is given. This is even more so true when the community — Jewish and Gentile — are unaware of the halachic problems associated with the conduct, and the common practice even within many Jewish communities is to “celebrate” the holiday. Thus, one may give candy to children who come to one’s house to “trick or treat” if one feels that this is necessary.

  27. Whoops, forgot to put an endquote. The whole thing from the word “based” until the end of the post was taken from his article.

  28. MiMedinat HaYam

    ok. i’ll put up the various haloween lights on my front lawn. next year, i’ll take it a step further, and put up another set of lights for chanukka, and a few weeks later, for that other (secular) holiday.

    where is the line?

  29. R’ MiMedinat HaYam,
    Good question; thank you for investigating the outer limits of the issue of chukot ha’aku”m so as to better clarify the Halakhah. As I see it, it seems everyone agrees (dikhulei alma lo pligei) that it is forbidden to erect halloween parenphernalia or 25th December parenphernalia on one’s home premises (including pumkins, skeletons, zombies, witches, tombstones, mistletoe, Dec. 25 trees, etc.) There is no issue of “darkhei shalom” which requires arranging such things in one’s home or one one’s front lawn; displaying such items (even if one also has a mezuzah, such that one’s door is decorated with “mezuzah mi’yamim ulihavdil pumpkin mismol”), is clearly biblically forbidden under the rubric of chukot ha’akum. [Let’s remember that Vilna Ga’on was stringent about this interdiction such that he even insisted that no trees be erected in synagogue on Shavu’out for this reason.] On the other extreme, I think everyone also agrees (dikhulei almo lo pligei) that there is nothing wrong with giving money to a Noahide who knocks at the door soliciting candy; indeed, it can be a mitzvah of tzedakah for the sake of darkhei shalom, as per the gemara in Gittin 61a, and a wonderful Kiddush Hashem, given the contextual circumstances. The sole debate among rabbinic scholars is specifically giving candy in response to a halloween request for candy from trick-or-treaters. Some see this as also encompassed within the rubric of tzedakah for darkhei shalom and hence permitted or even laudatory (R. Kamenetzky, R. Pam, R. Leibowitz); whereas others see this as participation within chukot ha’akum and hence forbidden (R. Shmidman, R. Kornblau, R. Willig).

  30. Charliehall,

    The idea of kapparot does have a makor within Judaism. The notion of a tzadik’s yissurim providing atonement for sins, for instance, while it may seem uncomfortable for someone who wants to make a huge dividing line in the sand between Christianity and Judaism, is an idea that does have a source within Judaism. You need to view things academically sometimes, as it is a basic intellectual premise thsat beliefs generally do not arise out of a vacuum, but arise out of earlier beliefs and theoretical movements, within an ideological context. This is true of many Christian beliefs, as this is a world religion that emerged within a Jewish context. Claiming that that which is Jewish exists in a very narrow trajectory and window of thought demonstrates an ignorance I would not have expected from you. Indeed, Dr. Marc Shapiro makes the same general point regarding Jewish polemics attacking Christian beliefs such as insemination by a noncorporeal being on his seforimblog. This is not missionizing- this is a firmly open-minded, mature, and academic way of looking at theological matters.

  31. MiMedinat HaYam

    to Shalom Spira on November 1, 2010 at 7:00 pm :

    then can i give out holiday candy with the color / other theme of the holiday?

    must i oppose putting up a holiday tree in my building’s lobby / common areas if i have a (significant) vote?
    and none of my neighbors are non jews?

    (for the record, i have bought holiday paper goods with color scheme, but not with tree scheme, in the past.)

  32. Shalom Spira,
    You said:
    displaying such items (even if one also has a mezuzah, such that one’s door is decorated with “mezuzah mi’yamim ulihavdil pumpkin mismol”), is clearly biblically forbidden under the rubric of chukot ha’akum
    What are you talking about? Wasn’t the whole point of this post to demonstrate that since there is no longer a pagan connection to Halloween, we are allowed to celebrate?

  33. Okay, a further clarification: I think that if one holds that it is permitted for a Jewish household owner to distribute candy to trick-or-treaters (like R. Kementzky, R. Pam, R. Leibowitz), then it actually becomes obligatory for the Jew to do so, as a function of tzedakah mishum darkhei shalom and Kiddush Hashem. Thus, there appears to be no middle ground on this question, and there’s no way to be “machmir” to avoid doubts on this question. Either one is *obligated* to distribute candy, or one is *prohibited* from doing so (as R. Willig holds). That’s why I like my compromise hypothesis to replace candy with a large sum of money for each trick-or-treater, and thus escape the horns of the dilemma (likayem mah shekatuv, “vihakessef ya’aneh et hakol” – Kohelet 10:19).

  34. Thank you, R’ Memedinat Hayam and R’ PhineasGage, for the excellent questions.
    Distributing halloween candy with holiday theme: For R. Willig and company, distributing any candy is automatically prohibited. Your question is according to those poskim who permit distributing candy. I don’t know the answer.
    Opposing erection of tree in one’s apartment building or condominium complex when one possesses a significant vote: My sense is that all the halakhot of avoiding chukot ha’akum, as well as the mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem, can be best fulfilled by the Jew simply excusing himself from attending the meeting where the vote will be taken. [If one’s Moahide neighbours ask the Jew why he declined to attend the meeting, the Jew should send the Noahides a copy of “Confrontation”.] If the Noahides members of the apartment building or condomonium complex vote to erect a tree, we are not obligated to comment on this, and should “take the fifth amendment” with a friendly smile to all our Noahide neighbours. Obviously, if one is privileged to live on the YU campus or in Kiryas Joel or the like, where 100% of the tenants are Jewish, then – on the contrary – one must attend the meeting and convince one’s fellow Jews to follow Halakhah by refraining from erecting a tree in the building.
    Was the point of R. Student’s post to show that Jews may celebrate halloween: My interpretation of the cited words of the prominent (and anonymous) moreh hora’ah in Brooklyn is that he allows distributing candy. But even he agrees that displaying halloween parenphernalia is outlawed. R. Student, would you be able to return to the moreh hora’ah, inform him of the discussion that has occurred on this website, and ask him for a clarification? Thank you.

  35. Reb Spira,

    I would direct your attention to the Shut Mateh Levi where he discusses whether it is permitted to contribute money towards building a church.

    http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=1008&st=&pgnum=171

    His concluding words in the left-hand column, at the bottom, where he says there is no issur whatsoever, and in fact there is a mitzvah to contribute towards the construction (!). So we can give to a church in order to make a kiddush Hashem so that non-Jews will recognize that we are tolerant, and yet we can’t give candy to kids on Halloween?

  36. Shalom, you do realize that many of the names used here are nicknames, and so it’s just nonsensical to add “R'” before them?

  37. Shalom Spira said:

    “…I think that if one holds that it is permitted for a Jewish household owner to distribute candy to trick-or-treaters (like R. Kementzky, R. Pam, R. Leibowitz), then it actually becomes obligatory for the Jew to do so, as a function of tzedakah mishum darkhei shalom and Kiddush Hashem…”

    I respectfully disagree. I don’t think for a second that any of the three Rabonnim in question would have paskened it to be an obligation. The issues of kiddush Hashem and Darkei Sholom are extremely subjective and specific to each time and place. For example, in my Brooklyn neighborhood, where I have now lived for 13 halloweens I have had zero – count em, ZERO – trick or treaters ring my bell. Such is the nature (or lack thereof) of trick-or-treating in my particular time and place. Are you actually suggesting that if some sadly misdirected youngster happens to ring my bell next October 31st, that according to Rav Pam, etc. I will be mechuyav to answer the door with candy…Puhleaze…

  38. Thank you and yi’yasher kochakhem for the illuminating points.
    R’ Skeptic, the responsum discusses giving money to Noahides. This is certainly permitted as a function of the gemara in Gittin 61a, and the Shu”t Mateh Levi is ruling that – given the circumstances that 19th century German Jewry was facing – the Jews were obligated to give as a function of Kiddush Hashem. Giving candy on halloween is arguably different, because the very act of distributing company is envisaged by R. Willig et al. as ipso facto participating in a chukat ha’aku”m ritual. Therefore, giving candy may be prohibited. [Of course, R. Kamenetzky et al. disagree with R. Willig et al.’s interpretation. I am simply elucidating both sides of the dispute, both of whom are obviously Gedolim Vitovim mimeni.]
    R’ Nachum, you are correct that the names are nicknames, but the gemara in Eruvin 13b (“lo Rabbi Meir shemo ela Rabbi Nehora’i shemo”) seems to indicate that even nicknames can be prefaced with a title.
    R’ Cohen, you are correct: it all depends upon time and place. My perception is that when it comes to trick-or-treating, there is an expectation for Jewish household owners to give (just like in the aforementioned responsum of Mateh Levi where the Jewish community was expected to give to the Noahides who were engaged in a building project), and therefore R. Kamenetzky, R. Pam and R. Leibowitz held that one is obligated to distribute candy.

  39. MiMedinat HaYam

    regarding donating to build a church:

    in early american history, we find non jews contributed to building some of our very early shuls, not per (their versions of) darchei shalom, but out of their sense of contributing to the public good.

    of course, there are halachic issues with accepting non jewish money to build a shul (or any tzedakah.)

    so perhaps accepting their money would be acceptable, since it is not given to support religion, but to support the “public” good. perhaps.

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