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At most (maybe even all?) Conservative synagogues, the congregation remains seated during every kaddish (except mourner's kaddish, and then only mourners rise). At Ashkenazic Orthodox synagogues, the entire congregation rises for every kaddish. The question: Does anybody know how far back this difference goes, and why it originated? Back in the 1940s, for example, was the difference in practices already in place? What about in the early 1900s? Can the difference in practice be traced to older halachic traditions (e.g. "The Shulchan Aruch says X but the Rema says Y"), or is there some subtle ideological point being made?

This question of sitting vs. standing for kaddish was raised in Is it required to stand during Kaddish? but there the context seems to be only Kaddish Yatom, and I am interested in the other instances of kaddish as well; also, my question is not so much about the halacha as it is about the historical point of divergence in practice between Orthodox and Conservative congregations in the United States.

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It seems you've never been to a Sephardic Orthodox synagogue. –  Double AA Feb 8 '13 at 15:04
Also, in your linked question, only the lowest voted answer makes any reference to mourning. The question and other answers deal with all kaddishes. –  Double AA Feb 8 '13 at 15:06
Michael, welcome back to MY. More than likely the divergence traces back to some ideological shift based on either ignorance of the Halachah or relaxing in its observance/enforcement/encouragement. Are there places in Conservative synagogues where the congregation stands uniformly that suggest some ideological push to do so (like prayer for the State of Israel)? –  Seth J Feb 8 '13 at 15:10
Actually I attended a Sephardic Orthodox congregation nearly exclusively from 1998-2002 and my recollection (which could be wrong) is that they rose for every kaddish. But I've edited the question to specify "Ashkenazic Orthodox" to avoid complicating the question. Since Conservative Judaism emerged out of an Ashkenazic context it would be odd if they adopted a Sephardic minhag, no? If this really does originate in an Ashkenazic/Sephardic difference then the "when" and "why" questions seem to be even more salient. –  mweiss Feb 8 '13 at 15:38
Seth, this doesn't have the feel of a strict/lax distinction, nor of a knowledgeable/ignorant distinction. After all (as has been pointed out) there are variations even within Sephardic Orthodox congregations on this point. Regarding Prayer for the State of Israel, at my (Modern Orthodox) congregation everybody rises for that, as well as the prayers for the United States and the Israeli Defense Forces. When I lived in England, the norm in all Orthodox congregations was to rise for the prayer for the Royal Family. Are there places where one does not rise for such prayers? –  mweiss Feb 8 '13 at 15:51

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