Q: Rabbi Maroof,
I was recently on a business trip, and while I found the city to be very nice etc., I am a bit concerned. I visited an Asian Restaurant, not owned by Jews, (Under the local Rabbis) There seemed to be active idolatry taking place. There was a statue of Buddha, where they had placed a large bowl of oranges and burning incense right in the entrance to the place. At the end of the meal I was served oranges (Possibly ones that were previously in front of Buddha)
Is this place considered a "Bais Avodah Zorah" ? And can a Jew eat there?
A: Dear Mark,
It is prohibited to eat or otherwise benefit from any food that was presented as an offering to an idol. So, if the oranges in question were indeed utilized in an idolatrous ritual before they were served to you (or if they were somehow consecrated to be used as such) they would not be permitted for consumption.
However, the mere fact that idolatrous activity may be taking place in a section of the restaurant does not necessarily mean that it is prohibited to enter the building and/or eat kosher food that is prepared or sold there. This is because the restaurant is not primarily designated for idolatrous worship, and so is not classified as a "House of Idolatry".
Whatever the case may be, I would suggest that you contact the local Orthodox rabbinate immediately to inform them of your concerns.
I am confident that the rabbis will conduct a thorough investigation into the goings-on at the restaurant and will take action to remedy the situation if need be.