Airbnb Buddha

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
I hope all well. We arrived at our apartment in Jodhpur. There are various shrines and images of the Buddha… Can we stay here? (The whole country is full of Buddhas, actually.) Should we cover them up? Here is an example:

Hindy in India

Dear Hindy
From the photo, it would seem that this is decorative rather than intended for worship–particularly since you are (I presume) in an Airbnb-type of accommodation intended for tourists/visitors. Nevertheless, I would advise that you remove from view what you can, and cover over whatever cannot be sequestered away. Try to avoid davening in any room in which the Buddha is depicted (even if it is covered). You may/should return them to their places when you leave.
Enjoy your exotic holiday and return safely! (As Tom Lehrer sang in the 1960’s about “American City”, “Just two things of which you must beware/ Don’t drink the water and don’t breathe the air.”)
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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