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Nusach Sefard


Rabbi David Sperling

Sivan 13, 5774
Is Nusach Sefard the dominant Nusach among Ashkenazim in Israel? Is it dominant in the Religious Zionist world? Is it recommended to switch to Nusach Sefard when moving to Israel?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. You are correct that many ashkanazim in Israel (and outside of Israel also) use the Sefard nusach, and though I haven’t taken a survey, it seems that it is the major nusach (though in Jerusalem standard Ashkanazi is also very common). The question of nusach is not effected by one's world outlook – such as Zionist or not. For example, in Yeshevat Meracaz HaRav – the yeshiva that Rav Kook estabalished – they use the ashkanazi nusach; Rav Mordicha Eliyahu zt"l, - looked up to as a major religious Zionist rabbi – used the Sefardi, adut hamizrach, nusach. In other Zionist yeshivot (such as Machon Meir) they use sefrad. And in others they allow the chazzan to determine the nusach. One finds the same variations of nusach in the non-zionist world also. As to changing one's nusach when making aliyah (may you be blessed to merit a speedy and successful one!) – one needs to examine many factors. The most basic question is if one is moving to a fixed community or not. If one is moving to a fixed community – such as a yeshuv or kibbutz – then there are grounds for changing to the nusach of your new location. However, if you are not yet set on where, and with whom, you will be permanently living, you should stick to your old nusach. There may be other factors involved in each personal case, and you would do well to wait until you have established a personal connection with a rabbi in Israel before making such a big change in your life. However, there are numerous small changes within each nusach between Israel and the Diaspora. For example, in Israel we have the cohanim bless us each morning, say "sim shalom" at mincha of Shabbat, etc. These changes should be incorporated into your prayers, no matter what your nusach, upon making aliyah. May we be blessed that all our prayers are received with grace and love, Blessings.
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