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
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 15:04
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    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
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 15:06
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    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
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 15:10
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    I don't know what's common or not, but the Conservative congregation I go to on weekdays stands for kaddish (all of them). Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 15:21
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    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
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 15:38

1 Answer 1


The Rem"a, in his glosses to Shulchan Aruch SIman 56, writes that it is best to stand when Kaddish is being recited. In his work Darchei Moshe he brings the custom of the Maharil and the Ariza"l, who would remain standing for Kaddish if they were previously standing but would not intentionally stand for Kaddish. The Magen Avraham writes that one should not be lenient in this regard, and should make sure to stand. (Shaul Wolf Chabad.org)


whether to stand or not isn't at all related to orthodox or conservative but a difference in opinion among legitimate Rabbis. also the person who is reciting kaddish apposed to those responding definitely does stand according to all opinions

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    Nonetheless, there does seem to be a difference between the Conservative practice and the Orthodox Ashkenazi practice. The OP is asking about that difference. Is this difference of opinion that you mention here the reason? How far back does it go?
    – Daniel
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 2:21

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