Carnival in synagogue, question to the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference

The following text was sent by e-mail to the members of the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany. It The list of recipients includes the following rabbonim:

  • Board: Avichai Apel (Frankfurt), Zsolt Balla (Leipzig), Yehuda Pushkin (Stuttgart).
  • Advisory Board: David Geballe (Duisburg), Shimon Großberg (Giessen and Limburg), Ariel Kirzon (Potsdam), Julian-Chaim Soussan (Frankfurt)

The topic is „Cologne Carnival in a Synagogue“, which is described in detail in this blog post: Orthodox Jewish Community of Cologne Dances the Can-Can


Dear members of the board, esteemed members of the advisory council, esteemed Rabbonim,

I would like to ask you to answer the following questions:

1. From a halachic perspective, is it permissible for a carnival session to take place in a synagogue? 

This concerns a Cologne carnival session with dancing girls (in mini-skirts) in the community hall (Photo) and a photo session of costumed men (Photo) in front of the Aron ha-Kodesh.

2. Is it possible to desecrate a synagogue in this way?

3. Does the entire synagogue building fall under halachic law or only the prayer hall?

4. Are there clear halachic guidelines for behavior within the synagogue building?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.


Αnаtоli Кrеуmаn

P.S. My questions, as well as your answer (or silence), will be published on my page.


The answer of the orthodox Rabbinical Conference Germany

Dear Mr. Кrеуmаn, Shalom!

Thank you very much for your inquiry, which you sent to us via email on February 12, 2023. We are happy to answer it here. We see your commitment to supporting the holy place of worship, the synagogue, as a sincere and heartfelt matter of great importance.

At the religious helm of the Cologne synagogue community is the community rabbi, Rabbi Jechiel Brukner, who should be the first point of contact and able to assist you in such internal matters. Therefore, we believe it is appropriate to discuss this issue and the related questions with the community rabbi before involving external parties.

The rules of conduct for events in a Jewish community center differ depending on the specific areas of the facility where they take place.

Therefore, it cannot be said that the community center as a whole has been desecrated by the points you have raised.


Orthodox Rabbinical Conference – The Rabbinat Germany

Rabbi Avichai Apel     Rabbi Zsolt Balla     Rabbi Yehuda Pushkin


First unofficial response:

The questions you have raised can only be answered in a context in which all factors – social, legal, and communal – can be considered. Just as you would ask if it is possible to drive a car on Shabbat, I would not answer with a clear „yes“, but rather with „it depends“, as there are many variables in making a halachic decision.

Therefore, I would advise you to consult with the local Orthodox rabbi, who, in my firm belief, will consider every factor carefully before answering your questions.


The synagogue building includes both the prayer hall and the banquet hall (also called the community hall).



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