Roman Baths

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
I am planning a visit next week to Bath, Somerset, the UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its Roman-era baths. But when a friend sent me photos, describing “one of the finest religious spas of the ancient world,” I began to wonder if one is actually allowed to visit this particular historical attraction, considering that the religion of ancient Rome would surely have been a form of paganism, ie idolatry.
I have heard of spas described as “sinfully indulgent”, but I don’t want to sin just by walking through the door.

Dear Beth,
Thank you for your interesting and practical question. Although the “spa” (Roman bath) may well have had religious connotations and possibly uses (see Mishnah A.Z. 3:4), since the bathhouse we are considering has been decommissioned long ago, and now serves primarily as a tourist attraction, it is permitted to enter. Enjoy your holiday!
Best wishes
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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