Mezuzah – College Dorm

I’m moving into a college dorm very soon and would like to know if the room requires a mezuzah. I don’t know in advance who all my roommates will be, or if they will all be Jewish.

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

If some of your roommates are not Jewish, there is no obligation to place a mezuzah. (There are those who say that even so, one may place a mezuzah (without reciting the blessing) so long as there is no concern it will be treated disrespectfully.)

If all your roommates are Jewish, there is still another factor to consider. If the school has the right to switch your room on you at any time, then the particular room you are in is not technically yours. The school did not rent you a specific room, just a room. If, however, you have the full year’s right to your room, then a mezuzah should be placed and a blessing should be recited.

For more details on buying and placing a mezuzah, please see this article: Mezuzah: The Inside Story.

(Sources: Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 286:1, Shach 6, Taz 2, Pitchei Teshuva 291:9, 286:3, Birkei Yosef 286:4, Lehorot Nattan by R' N. Gestetner, III 71.)

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