What is the single most widely practiced minhag (religious Jewish practice that's not mandated by halacha) among Jews in the United States today? By "widely practiced" I mean practiced by the most people.
closed as primarily opinion-based by DonielF, Danny Schoemann, mbloch, Shmuel Brin, Ploni Jul 29 '18 at 23:37
Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.
Hands down it is - not saying Birchas Kohanim on a daily basis
I think there are two questions here:
- What custom is most widespread among observant American Jews that is less common in other countries?
- Name something post-Talmudic that most American Jews, observant or not, keep.
For the latter category, I think we could point to the Jewish customs of mourning, which are observed overwhelmingly across the spectrum of observance. Most notably, saying Kaddish! (Post-Talmudic.)
For a custom that is, let's say, post-Shulchan Aruch, I would say covering the mirrors in a shiva house. Some say this was simply a matter of covering the mirrors in rooms where prayers would be held (we don't pray facing a mirror), but Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveichik argued that this was a version of a Talmudic custom regarding repositioning all the beds in the house -- they're both ways of expressing the loss of humanity experienced.
Are we including minhage sh'tus? How about gift-giving on Chanuka?
https://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/3572 — apparently it might not be a minhag sh'tus.
Yizkor is a big one.
Keeping Yomtov Sheini, which now that we have a set calendar is only an obligation due to minhag avoseinu. Yet, it still has the full force of mandated halacha. (Thank you Shalom!)
I'd bet it's the Pesach Seder.
Well one I can think of offhand is reading the Haftorah on Shabbos. But I'm sure there are plenty more.
Celebrating (purposely using very vague term), wrongly (Halachicly) or rightly Yom Kippur.
What about candle lighting 18 minutes before sunset?
Blowing Shofar in Elul is a Minhag which I think all follow.
Bathing on Friday.
מצוה על כל אדם לרחוץ בכל ערב שבת פניו ידיו ורגליו בחמין. ואם אפשר, ירחץ כל גופו בחמין.
קיצור שולחן ערוך, סִימָן ע"ב, סעיף י"ב