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What is the single most widely practiced minhag among Jews in Israel today? By "widely practiced" I mean practiced by the most people.

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    You also have to define "minhag." According to some poskim, it's much more specific than "stuff people do." – JXG Sep 8 '11 at 6:52
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    The most widespread minhag in Israel is living in Israel.. oh wait, thats a halacha :) – avi Sep 8 '11 at 12:04
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    spitting gar'inim? – josh waxman Sep 19 '14 at 15:36
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    The question is too wide, and is opinion based (unless someone made a study of Israeli customs). Vote to close – Shmuel Brin Sep 19 '14 at 21:01
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    Waiting 6 hours between meat and milk. Vote to close as above. – Danny Schoemann Sep 21 '14 at 7:37

12 Answers 12

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In Israel the custom is to duchen (perform the Priestly Blessing) every day. Outside Israel we Duchen only on Yom Tov.

  • Some duchen every day in the diaspora as well. – Double AA Sep 19 '14 at 15:38
  • @DoubleAA, every day? I've heard of every Shabbos בחו”ל. Where do they do it every day? – Noach MiFrankfurt Dec 24 '15 at 23:46
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    @NoachmiFrankfurt Many Sefardi Shuls. – Double AA Dec 25 '15 at 0:22
  • @DoubleAA “Many...”; I’d say all. (Intentional margin of error or do you know of any that don’t do every day?) – Oliver Dec 3 '18 at 17:30
  • @olive intentional hedge – Double AA Dec 3 '18 at 18:25
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Celebrating Lag Baomer. Lighting bonfires and going to Meron.

Going to Meron is definitely a custom (the whole celebration of Lag BaOmer is a custom), and according to this article, over 500,000 people were expected to make the pilgrimage in 2009.

According to this, as of Iyar 2011 there were 5,837,000 Jews living in Israel, so that's a pretty large percentage.

As for lighting bonfires, I don't have any numbers, but my understanding is that it is done all over Israel.

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Eating Sufgoniyot - jelly doughnuts on Chanuka

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Not wearing Tefilin on Chol Hamoed.

  • That is a Halacha – Gershon Gold Oct 21 '10 at 23:52
  • It's a Minhag just became Halacha and its genius – SimchasTorah Oct 21 '10 at 23:55
  • ST - What is genius? – user146 Oct 22 '10 at 20:42
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    This minhag is so prevalent in Israel that even completely secular Jews follow it. Even the neighboring Christians and Muslims don't put on tefilin on these days! – Charles Koppelman Aug 1 '12 at 15:47
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Although not based in halacha, Jews standing still during the siren on the yemei zikaron is widely practiced.

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    Is that on the level of Minhag? – Gershon Gold Oct 22 '10 at 2:57
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    Isn't minhag Jewish custom? If all Jews would start doing chukei goyim, that would not be an appropriate answer despite being a custom. But this would be in line with kavod hameysim. See gemara sanhedrin, the very top of 74b where the Rava bar R' Yitzchak interprets R' Yochanan psak of giving your life during a royal decree even for a minor mitzva (when public) as referring to "even changing shoe straps". Rashi explains that even if there's no mitzva, just a minhag based on a "tzad yahadus" like tznius (or aveilus- Tos.), one gives his life. – YDK Oct 22 '10 at 3:59
  • So is going going a bomb shelter upon hearing the siren. Not based on Halacha either. – LN6595 Dec 5 '18 at 0:41
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Ramban (to Yisro 20:8):

Gentiles count days of the week by the days' names themselves, calling each day by its own name, whether after the heavenly bodies, as Christians do, or by whatever other names. Jews count all the days by the name of Shabas: "echad bashabas", "sheni bashabas", because that's part of the command that we were commanded, to remember [Shabas] constantly, daily.

I seem to recall hearing that this opinion is fulfilled even by calling the days "the first day", etc., without mentioning Shabas explicitly.

Just about every Hebrew-speaker in Israel calls the days "the first day" through "the sixth day" and "Shabas".

  • According to Ramba"n that is a kiyum mitzva. – WAF Sep 2 '12 at 16:24
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    @WAF, yes, but according to common practice it's "kiyum mitzva according to the Ramban", which is merely a good practice (I suppose). :-) – msh210 Sep 2 '12 at 16:42
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Going to the Kotel — the Western Wall. (By the way, this is indeed a custom; Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef Shelit"a in Yalkut Yosef Al HaMoadim).

  • I feel like more Diasporans make a point of going there than Israelis. Most Israelis live within an hour and half commute and make it there only a few times in their lives. – Double AA Dec 5 '18 at 0:58
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Hands down it would be lighting the Chanuka Menora outdoors.

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    Wouldn't that be mandated by the halacha? And we're only using leniencies here in Chutz L'Aretz to avoid doing it? – Chanoch Oct 18 '10 at 20:49
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    Halacha mandates Pirsumei Nisah - however the majority of Poskim hold that the Pirsumei Nisah is for your own household. Lighting outdoors is a Minhag which is mainly kept in Eretz Yisroel. If anyone has a better answer I will be happy to vote them up! – Gershon Gold Oct 18 '10 at 20:52
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    Actually, lighting the chanukiyah outdoors is relatively unusual and only practiced by the religious, certainly not the masorti or chiloni who light. You only see it commonly done in Jerusalem, otherwise most people light in their windows or simply in the house. Communal lighting at public events though is quite common. – chaimkut Dec 21 '10 at 13:38
  • I've seen people in Chutz LaAretz light outside. Although you wouldn't believe it, the USA is not persecuting the Jews like they did in Europe! – Double AA Mar 27 '12 at 23:40
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Maybe going by one's Jewish name?

  • widespread use of russian and arab names would make that untrue – SimchasTorah Oct 18 '10 at 5:03
  • Do you mean exclusive use of that name, or just having one that can be used for an aliya or a get? – WAF Oct 18 '10 at 22:16
  • @WAF, considering the prevalence of non-Hebrew names among religious Jews, especially among (at least Ashk'nazi) women (think "Shprintze"), I don't see why "John" is any different. Can't anything be used for an aliya or a get? – msh210 Oct 19 '10 at 3:45
  • @WAF, I meant using it for day-to-day personal and business purposes. @msh210: for a get, yes - if a person is commonly known by a certain name, then you put that (as well as their proper Hebrew name, assuming they have one). But for an aliya their Hebrew name should be used. – Alex Oct 19 '10 at 15:21
  • @Alex, what about someone named just Heshl or Hirsh or Shraga Feivl? Can he not get an aliya? – msh210 Oct 22 '10 at 3:52
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Observing 1 day Yom Tov for the Shalosh Regalim (Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot-Shmini Atzeret).

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I would say the "Brit Mila" (besides Sufganyot, as said above, which are given freely at universities, schools, central bus stations, malls etc. etc....yummy. I remember that I even got one at work... Bahurei Yeshiva were giving them away for free in our building in the middle of an industrial park).

The Brit Mila is the one Mitsva that every community in Israel, from Orthodoxes to Kibutznikim Hiloniim, practices without much hesitation; in different ways, but still the Mohel is there and the blessing done. Pydyon HaBen, sadly, is not followed as it should.

edit: this is not a min'hag but rather a mitzva, but still that's the one thing touching every layer of the population. Most non-religious people will look at it as a Jewish custom, like doing the kiddush be yom shishi...

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Again, I would say Yom Kippur Observance even if it is Yom Ofnayim.

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    okay, but that's mandated by halachah, not a minhag. – Alex Oct 18 '10 at 6:02
  • What is "again"? – MTL Sep 19 '14 at 16:34

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