Brooklyn Children’s Museum Now Kosher for Kohanim

Rabbis of the Crown Heights Beis Din conducted a thorough on-site inspection at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum to verify that any human remains were sealed off in a kosher manner.

A Kohen walks into a museum…

It’s not funny. Many museums, in fact, pose a particular issue for Kohanim, making the above scenario pretty uncommon. Kohanim are forbidden from entering areas where human remains may be present, like cemeteries and morgues, and often—museums. Right here in the Crown Heights neighborhood, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum was a site that raised their radar due to the presence of human skeletal remains on the premises.

In response to these concerns, a team of Rabbis from AsktheRav, under the auspices of the Crown Heights Beis Din, began an investigation. Sara Leah Bronstein, a member of the staff at the Jewish Children’s Museum and a local resident, initiated the contact.

After a Zoom meeting between the rabbis and the museum’s leadership that was arranged to gather pertinent information, the Rabbis conducted an on-site inspection to verify that any human remains were sealed off in a kosher manner.

The team, led by Rabbi Yosef Braun, an executive member of the Beis Din, included Rabbi Menachem Mendel Rotenberg and Rabbi Menachem Mendel Vaisfiche. Rabbi Vaisfiche, a Kohen himself, remained outside throughout the inspection and joined the team inside only once an all-clear signal was given.

The museum staff, represented by Hana Elwell, Vice President of Exhibits and Education, and Kate Mirand Calleri, Director of Education, played a vital role in facilitating assistance throughout the inspection.
Thanks to the commitment and collaboration of the Rabbis and the museum leaders, this event was a sure win for heightening awareness and respect for diverse religious practices—and for Kohanim, both parents and children, who can now enjoy visits to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, confident that the premises adhere to the highest kosher standards.

Read Rabbi Braun’s Letter to the Museum.
Rabbi Braun’s Halachic Analysis.

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