Back when Jews lived in the same communities for generations, they were obligated to follow the minhagim (customs) of their community. The classic example is that East European Jews held that one cannot eat dairy until after 6 hours following a meat meal, but that German Jews held that it was sufficient to wait 3 hours, and Dutch Jews wait only 1 hour. Now, Jewish communities in many countries include Jews from the four corners of the Earth and many people observe different minhagim.

Given that, how does a convert to Judaism know which minhagim are required of him? Would he look to the customs of his rav? Or would he look back at his geneology and adopt the customs of Jews from the area in which his non-Jewish ancestors lived? Could he choose the easiest or the strictest customs on his own?

  • @MonicaCellio: I had answered the question you cited with insights from my own experience, and noted that many converts cherry pick their minhagim. Here, I'm trying to determine whether cherry-picking minhagim is valid or not. – Bruce James Apr 10 '13 at 14:36
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    [cont'd] The three sentences I cherry-pick-quoted from each question seem to parallel the other. (And those are the only three question-sentences in the older question, and three of the main ones here.) Maybe I'm missing something, but this really does seem like a duplicate. Ping also @MonicaCellio. – msh210 Apr 10 '13 at 15:17
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    I think that's an inadequacy in the answers there, not in the question. What you just asked in your comment seems to me to be covered in the other question. – msh210 Apr 10 '13 at 18:02
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    Well: almost. The other question is specifically about Ashk'naz vs. S'farad and this isn't. – msh210 Apr 10 '13 at 18:02

Rav Nebontzol(Kuntres Hahanhagos-Minhagim 23,quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach who held a convert can choose for himself either like the Shulchan Aruch or the Rama.

Chacham Ovadia in Yechavei Daas 5:32 held if a convert converts in Eretz Yisroel he should follow the rulings of the Mechaber whether stringencies or leniencies since he was accepted as the Mora Dassra and was the final psak there.

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    What if he wants to become Temani? – Double AA Jun 20 '14 at 2:31

A ger is free to choose any minhagim that he would like, however Rav Ovadia Yosef says that a convert must take on Sefardic customs, because he has no excuse to do ashkenazi customs and has no precedent to reckon with.

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    What excuse does he have to be taking on Sefardic customs? – Double AA Jun 18 '14 at 5:09
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    The rest of the answer contradicts its first dozen words, which (dozen words), therefore, I don't get. – msh210 Jun 18 '14 at 5:11
  • @DoubleAA Maybe he's in Israel, as per the assumptions of this question? – MTL Jun 18 '14 at 5:38
  • I recommend adding to the answer the assumption that the person is living in Israel where HaRav 'Ovadiah A"H states that Shulhhan Arukh is the leading authority. – Lee Jun 18 '14 at 6:46
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    I am not sure what your source is,but in Yechavei Daas 5:32 writes when one converts in Eretz Yisroel he should follow the Mechaber since he is the Moreh Dasra and final psak .Where does he say about outside? – sam Jun 19 '14 at 1:35

I don't think there is one specific set of minhagim that one must absolutely adopt. However, a person should not pick and chose minhagim according to his or her liking. Taking on a specific way of understanding halachah and jewish practice should not be taken lightly. it is therefore best to ask your mentor/teacher or rav on specific decisions.

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