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10 Cheshvan 5766

Shul Minhagim

Rabbi Chaim Tabasky

What is the correct procedure if a Shul wishes to change a Minhag that has been practised for over 50 years. In particular a Nusach Ashkenaz Shule that has had Hakafot on Shemini Atzeret and Hallel on Erev Pesach. Can a new Board of Management change these minhagim? If so how?

If the rabbinical leadership in a shul feels the minhag should be changed, and the lay leadership is in agreement, it may be done. However, minhagim should not be changed unless the reason is compelling and the present minhag causes some problem for the community as a whole. Minhagim preserve the continuity of communal identity, and and their integrity has strong halachic basis. If there is a disagreement in a community about minhag, it is a cause to consult major halachic authorities.

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