Generally, the original non-Chassidic Ashkenazi community in Israel were followers of the Vilna Gaon. Since they were practically the only Ashkenaz presence in Israel, they were able to institute many of the Vilna Gaon's rulings in their new communities. So why is the general non-Chassidic custom in Israel to use the Nusach Sefard (not the Nusach Eidut HaMizrach, but Sefard which is a mix of Nusach Ashkenaz and Eidut HaMizrach)?

Outside of Israel, this Nusach is traditionally used by (non-Chabad) Chassidim, while non-Chassidim use the traditional Nusach Ashkenaz. Did the Vilna Gaon support using Nusach Sefard?

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    I don't think this is true.
    – user15253
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 7:51
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    This was true before many years, because most people comming from Polin, Hungaria, Romania were from chasidish origin. An other cause was the NUSACH ACHID from the Rabbi Goren, that was +- a nusach sfard was widespread in the DATI lEUMI (called aslo Mizrachi) movement.
    – kouty
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 8:22
  • The Vilna Gaon was opposed to any kabbalistic changes to the prayer rite, even removing many that had crept into Nusach Ashkenaz. He definitely did not support Nusach Sefard.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 12:18
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    @Shmuel Brin , yep. I think you'll find they're Cuassidish shuls in principle. There are a lot of people of Chassidic heritage who are no longer doing much more than a handful of chassidish minhogim.
    – user15253
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 16:41
  • Nusach Sfard and Nusach Ashkenaz for Eretz Yisroel, although similar, are not the same.
    – ezra
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 18:28

2 Answers 2


Some comments on the question have disputed whether you're right that an inordinate number of Ashkenazic synagogues in Israel use nusach "S'farad". I haven't seen statistics on point, but my limited experience tells me that you're right, specifically about such synagogues as are often called "דתי לאומי". If so then, as you ask, why?

Someone once told me why. He was an Israeli whom people might call "דתי לאומי", but beyond that had AFAIK no particular expertise in the subject at hand; but what he said makes good sense to me. He said that the elementary schools called "דתי לאומי" (or "ממלכתי דתי") generally get a mix of children whose families use various versions of the prayers, and therefore most such schools use "S'farad" as a sort of compromise, since it will be least dissimilar to the greatest number of people's home versions. These students thus grow up using "S'farad" in school; many of them do so at home also therefore, and continue to do so throughout their lives, which explains why their synagogues (as adults) do so also.

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    Not so ironically the nusach called Sefard was invented as a compromise for the Ashkenazim who wanted to daven with the Sefardi nusach.
    – user6591
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 14:19
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    This greatly parallels the development of the modern Israeli Hebrew pidgin. As little logic as these compromises between mutually exclusive traditions have, they are quite effective at catching on.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 16:19

The Hasidic movement won over the majority of the Jewish population of Eastern Europe, at least on superficial levels like prayer rite, and the majority of people ended up using Nusah Sfard. Eastern European Jewish immigrants to the Land of Israel continued with what they were used to. Their descendents make up the majority of Ashkenazi Jews in Israel.

  • I think they won on more than just a superficial level. Their opinions of Emuna and Hashem's being for instance are ingrained in almost everyone.
    – user6591
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 16:41

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