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In Judaism, Nusach (Hebrew: נוסח nusaħ, modern pronunciation nusakh or núsakh), plural nuschaot (נוסחאות) or Modern Hebrew nusachim (נוסחים), refers to the exact text of a prayer service; sometimes the English word "rite" is used to refer to the same thing. Texts used by different communities include Nosach Teiman, Nusach Ashkenaz, Nusach Sefard, Nusach Edot Hamizrach, and Nusach Ari. In English, the word nusach means formulate, wording.
Textual nusach is distinct from musical nusach, which refers to the musical style or tradition of a community, particularly the chant used for recitative prayers such as the Amidah.
Nusach primarily means "text" or "version", the correct wording of a religious text or liturgy. Thus, the nusach tefillah is the text of the prayers, either generally or in a particular community.
In common use, nusach has come to signify the entire liturgical tradition of the community, including the musical rendition. It is one example of minhag, which includes traditions on Jewish customs of all types.
Main article: Nusach Ashkenaz
Nusach Ashkenaz is the style of service conducted by Ashkenazi Jews, originating from central and eastern Europe. It is the shortest lengthwise (except for the "Baladi" Yemenite Nusach).
It may be subdivided into the German, or western, branch ("Minhag Ashkenaz"), used in western and central Europe, and the Polish/Lithuanian branch ("Minhag Polin"), used in eastern Europe, the United States and among Ashkenazim, particularly those who identify as "Lithuanian", in Israel.
The form used in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth (except Canada, which follows the American style), known as "Minhag Anglia"  is technically a subform of "Minhag Polin" but has many similarities to the German rite. See Singer's Siddur.
Main article: Nusach Sefard
Nusach Sefard is the style of service used by some Jews of central and eastern European origins, especially Hasidim, who adopted some Sephardic customs emulating the practice of the Ari's circle of kabbalists, most of whom lived in the Land of Israel. Textually speaking it is based on the Sephardic rite, but in melody and feel it is overwhelmingly Ashkenazi.
Main article: Nusach Ari
Nusach Ari means, in a general sense, any prayer rite following the usages of Rabbi Isaac Luria, the AriZal, in the 16th century.
Many Chabad Hasidim refer to their variant of Nusach Sefard as Nusach Ari.
Main article: Sephardic law and customs
There is not one generally recognized uniform nusach for Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews. Instead, Sephardim and Mizrahim follow several slightly different but closely related nuschaot.
The nearest approach to a standard text is found in the siddurim printed in Livorno from the 1840s until the early 20th century. These (and later versions printed in Vienna) were widely used throughout the Sephardic and Mizrahi world. Another popular variant was the text known as Nusach ha-Hida, named after Chaim Yosef David Azulai. Both these versions were particularly influential in Greece, Iran, Turkey and North Africa. However, most communities also had unwritten customs which they would observe, rather than following the printed siddurim exactly: it is easy, from the printed materials, to get the impression that usage in the Ottoman Empire around 1900 was more uniform than it really was.
Other variants include:
Under the influence of the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, many Israeli Sephardim have adopted a nusach based largely on the Nusach Edot Hamizrach but omitting some of the Kabbalistic additions.
Main article: Baladi-rite Prayer
A "Temani" nosach was the standard among the Jews of Yemen. This is divided into the Baladi (purely Yemenite) and Shami (adopted from Sephardic siddurim) versions. Both rites are recited using the unique Yemenite pronunciation of Hebrew, which Yemenite Jews, and some scholars, regard as the most authentic, and most closely related to the Hebrew of Ancient Israel.
The Baladi rite is very close to that codified by Maimonides in his Mishneh Torah. One form of it is used by the Dor Daim, who attempt to safeguard the older Baladi tradition of Yemenite Jewish observance. This version used by dardaim was originally used by all Yemenite Jews near the time of Maimonides.
In the period of the Geonim, Jews in Israel followed the Nussach Eretz Yisrael which is based upon the Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud), while the Jewish diaspora followed the customs of Babylonian Jewry.
The modern Nusach Eretz Yisrael is a recent attempt by Rabbi David Bar-Hayim at reconstructing the ancient Nussach Eretz Yisrael, based on the Jerusalem Talmud and documents discovered in the Cairo Geniza and other sources. The reconstruction is published in the form of a siddur ("prayer book"), and used by Rabbi Bar-Hayim's Jerusalem followers in public prayers held in Machon Shilo's synagogue.
In addition, there are other nuschaot.
It is said among some mystics that an as-yet undisclosed nusach will be revealed after the coming of the Mashiach, the Jewish Messiah. Others say that the differences in nusach are derived from differences between the twelve tribes of Israel, and that in Messianic times each tribe will have its proper nusach. The concept of one nusach for each of the 12 tribes was formulated by R' Isaac Luria; at the time there were exactly 12 Jewish communities in Luria's city of Safed, and each community's nusach was meant to stand in place of that of one of the tribes.
Most halakhic authorities assume that one should follow the nusach of his family, or at the very least follow one nusach consistently. Rabbi David Bar-Hayim disputes this and permits a Jew to change his nusach at any time, even on a daily basis.