Shaking Hands with Women

Would you support a candidate who doesn’t shake hands with the opposite sex?

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Comments (114)

(97) Deborah, February 23, 2017 9:03 AM

This is his right.

I think there is a real issue with imposing modern beliefs and sensitivities upon Judaism, which is an ancient monotheistic religion. The laws of shomer negiah and shomer anayim are intended to maintain purity and respect between the genders. They are a response to the sexual licentiousness of past peoples that degraded both men and women. Therefore, in Orthodox Judaism it is obligatory for men to keep a respectful distance from unmarried women. This maintains order and discourages immoral thoughts. No one has to agree with this, but this candidate is not doing anything harmful to women. We don't have to like each other's differences, but we must respect those which are not harmful.

(96) ari, February 21, 2016 8:07 PM

Magic advice I once got from a secular lady

Its either causing embarresment to some poor lady, or compromising a central aspect of jewish law - a very tough call. But many times there's a third option,
The following is the advice that a very sensitive intellegent secular (probably traditinal is more accurate) lady gave me over 20 years ago. She's since passed away, but her advice is still here, and has saved me numerous times :
"When you're approaching the lady, or she approaches you, but both your hands behind your back, and as you great her politely nod. This body language will almost always signal to the other side not to put out their hand - and ths prevent all the embarresment. " - so that's it. and it really works!

(95) Gene, March 18, 2014 2:57 AM

Shake hands /w opposite sex ?

Do we choose to keep respect traditional ? I do not see myself as being equal . I want to recognize women as someone I do not have capacity to be .Someone I admire & am attracted to and do not want to comon-ize . So I want to recognize females for the unique creatures they are maybe with a bow.

Anonymous, March 31, 2014 3:34 AM

Shake hands/w. opposite sex

How lovely! Meeting you would allow me to feel like a queen. How sad that so many men don't treat women this way.

(94) DC, March 13, 2014 9:46 AM

It goes both ways.

I'm not sure if it was covered in the multitude of comments, but hopefully a man can explains that it's about respecting ones significant other and not disrespecting the opposite gender.
Hopefully he can expand on the subject by equating that his wife/sister/mother cannot shake a man's hand either and they are not considered misandrists for doing so.
Being a Baal Teshuvah women's wear designer, this is my biggest test.

(93) Anonymous, March 8, 2014 2:55 AM

Of course I think he should not be penalized for his religious customs. As a secular Jew I belong to an Orthodox synagogue because I like the Rabbi, Rebbitzen and members. I have respect for their customs and rules and I appreciate their adherence to them. I learn much about our religion every time I am with them.

(92) Alan, March 7, 2014 12:36 AM

Give me a break

I am Shomer Shabbat, Kasher, and Shomer Chagim. However, this level of 'shomer' is obnoxious. I would NEVER vote for such a candidate, because I feel his sensibility is repugnant and provincial---and his religious views compromise his ability to be a thoughtful leader. I truly hope he loses.

(91) Anonymous, March 5, 2014 8:56 PM

he is right to have his religion dictate his life

not only is this an amazing symbol of his strengths, for sure it would have been much easier to give in & shake hands with the opposite sex, (so that he would not get so much negative attention, however since he believes that what he is doing is right (following his beliefs) on the contrary we should applaud him!!!

(90) Pauline, March 5, 2014 6:10 PM

Of course an observant man does not need to shake a woman's hand. However, it can appear rude, since most don't know it is out of respect to his wife, other women, etc. So, he can, if a woman offers her hand, immediately, kindly, inform her that he is pleased to meet her, but due to religious practice/belief/observance, it would not be right to touch a woman in any way, other than his own wife/family. And ask her to please understand. That way she can understand. To just not shake hands and walk off can seem rude to one that doesn't understand, especially when she sees the same person shake all the men's hands. This is what I thought, before I understood the why/custom is meant to respect one's wife, not disrespect all other women.

(89) Shoshana -Jerusalem, March 4, 2014 2:51 PM

of course he's right

Since when does a person have to go against his religious beliefs? Where is freedom of religion?

No women Is insulted by this because they all know that it's a religious law and nothing against them.

If they don't know this, it is the fault of some religious men who are uncomfortable with the whole thing and continue to shake hands with women because it is the easy way out for them, rather than explain that it is a religious law.

It's true, we are not supposed to embarrass another person but if it is explained properly no one will be embarrassed.

The problem is when some men rather compromise our religion than explain, and that makes others think that it not really a law, and this also makes it harder for the next one, because people think that if so and so shook hands with me, he can also.

(88) MABSH"Y, March 3, 2014 7:50 PM

Sexist? anecdote

To all who who say they will not vote for him over this issue, that's certainly your right. But in light of all the women here who say they would not shake hands with men, can you truly say that this is an issue of sexism? If the candidate were a woman, Shira Odze, who refused to shake hands with men on the campaign trail, and explained her reasons for doing it, would you refuse to vote for her, or complain that she was treating men as second class citizens? If not, consider who is the sexist here, the candidate or yourself?

I personally shake hands with women who offer it to avoid their embarrassment. I offer the following story: when my brother (whose yahrzeit was yesterday) was declared legally dead in the hospital, a (non-Jewish) woman who was with the organ donation association (an issue also fraught with halachic landmines) came to talk with us about donating his organs, and offered her hand, which I shook. After a long discussion with us, she went "off-book", and said that as I seemed so easygoing, even at such a stressful time, could she ask me a question? Since she deals with a lot of Orthodox families in that part of the city, could I give her any pointers on how to make them feel more at ease. I thought for a second, and told her that many Orthodox men would feel uncomfortable shaking her hand, and that she should not offer it to them, but could shake their hand if they offered it. She thanked me profusely for that advice.

(87) Anonymous, March 3, 2014 6:52 PM

Time to Learn what we Ignore

Coming from a two different non-observant religious home environment and, from a Country where shaking hands, hugging and kissing on the cheeks for greeting and saying good bye was the norm, I particularly do not see anything wrong with shaking hands. However, based on religious or personal beliefs or of any personal reasons, the desire of the person not to shake hands should and must be respected without judgment or questioning. Ignoring the basics or our own culture and religion, at times, lead us to make mistakes. I would normally take that mistake as an opportunity to learn more. It happened to me once a few years ago, where I met for the first time a person for whom I have a very high level of respect. Innocently, I put one hand on the male's shoulder and extended the other to shake hands with him, in a way of assurance that I admire his work. He was nice and very respectful, but I could sense his semblance of discomfort or embarrassment. It was then that I learned through a friend of mine who observed my less than proper greeting, who said to me, "you do not shake hand with a male, unless it is your husband, or your father, or your brother." I then questioned why my father and my grand-parents never ever told me this while raising me? I cannot blame them either because I know they always wanted the best for my siblings and I. Nevertheless, when I think about that incident now, I truly feel embarrassed and feel shamed of myself several years later after it happened. I now follow the halachic ramifications of the Torah as Hashem commands us to do. Thank you Rabbi Salomon for always giving us the opportunity to re-assess our own character traits.

(86) MG, March 2, 2014 2:49 PM


I wonder if the same fuss would be made if the candidate was a triple minority running under a liberal platform. I've never experienced negative reactions from others when I declined to shake hands. I simply explain I refrain from shaking hands with men because of religious principles, nothing personal, and quickly turn the topic back to business. What I found interesting is that I work in the fashion industry where all/any kind of behavior is acceptable, I have gotten nothing but acceptance and respect from designers, salesmen, account executives, etc.

(85) Anonymous, March 2, 2014 4:47 AM

Shaking hands with woman

As a woman I find shaking hands with men an awful concept. I dont want to touch some strange man who I may or may not even engage with so a nod of the head will suffice. Now woman want to shake hands with each other !!!!! It's a mans tradition, leave it to them.

(84) Anonymous, March 1, 2014 9:24 PM

if our Jewish belief no need to shake hands with opposit sex

Only ones that want to cause problems will say yes. We are only eleven million in the entire world let us keep something when up against billions TRADITION.......ME NOT ORTHODOX Respect we do not murder we are for life so get off it people

(83) Jose Manuel dos Santos, March 1, 2014 2:33 AM

Shaking hands

When we shake hands it also mean: " We agree with each other "
In this case it would mean: " You represent not only your party' s vision, or program, but also me. " I think you should at least thank that person in a polite way for voting for you, and your party. Nowadays a politicians likes to use controversy to get free commercial time. He is different than the other, everyone or most of the voters, and community will be discussing him, his person or candidacy. Sorry, but this has noting to do with believes or faith. After all he is on a campaign trail, and do want people to vote for him. :-) :-) :-)

(82) David Rose, February 28, 2014 10:17 PM

Free to do as he chooses

As are those offended by his personal beliefs rather than his platform to not vote for him or his party to not run him. Wouldn't it be better if we listened to his positions, instead of passing juspdgment on his quality fixations for anything based upon his beliefs?

(81) Tim, February 28, 2014 9:16 PM


With Hashem's guidance there will be His light amidst the controversy. There is more than one dimension to keep in mind. I am not Jewish but I sure respect the candidates integrity. Tim

(80) Anonymous, February 28, 2014 8:53 PM

No, its very rude not to shake hands. He's in a secular party and the majority of people voting for them will not like this, they'll think that he's rude, arrogant and sexist and I also think so. If you go for a job in a place like that then you have to uphold the customs. Otherwise it's just not the place for him.

(79) Yehudah, February 28, 2014 8:05 PM

Worse to embarrass folks

I'm not a rabbi, but to my understanding it's far worse to embarrass someone than to touch the opposite gender. If you leave someone hanging, that's embarrassing for them. You're only touching them once. If they make a habit of rubbing your shoulder or whatever, then you have a candid talk with them about your beliefs. But these are one-shot meetings, not on-going work relationships. Now, if someone grab you and tries to kiss your cheeks, well, yeah, then you've got to find a way to put a stop to it. But even then, you should minimize their embarrassment. Few people are skilled enough to reject a handshake without embarrassing the other individual.

(78) Anonymous, February 28, 2014 7:58 PM

Shomer Negiah

~Smiles~ shortly after I began the path to find my Yiddishkeit, I was volunteering at a nursing home and when an obviously observant man came to the table to speak with me, I stood and extended my hand as a gesture of friendship. I was stunned and confused by his rejection, but the experience provided an opportunity to learn and grow. Now when meeting an observant man, I simply ask, “Are you Shomer Negiah?” and then I respect spatial boundaries as necessary.
As for supporting a candidate who is Shomer Negiah, I would not only support his candidacy, I would respect, and even appreciate his decision to remain true to his beliefs in spite of criticism and adversity. And just as I learned to accept a sincere smile or a business card that simply read, “Handshake”, eventually his female constituents will realize that a sincere gesture is just as meaningful as a handshake.
Shabbat Shalom !

Yoni, March 4, 2014 1:16 PM

Shaking hands is not a component of "Shomer Negiah"

Shaking hands in front of two other individuals without thoughts of "Chibah/desire/love" is permitted by many leading Rabbis.

(77) Isaac, February 28, 2014 4:38 PM

How can you condone Shneur Odze's announcement?

You make a comparison between Odze and Sacks, but in fact there is a stark contrast. Odze's beliefs should not be the issue here.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks DID NOT announce that he was not going to shake hands with the Queen, and therefore did not offend the Queen nor anyone for that matter. Whereas Shneur Zalman Odze with his announcement made the issue part of his campaign. In doing so, he is using the Torah, i.e. his religious beliefs to try to gain political points. As in "Vote for me for my righteous beliefs."

The truly pious humble themselves in their performance of a mizvah. If condemned for it, they are perceived as the underdog. A more vantage position to be in when attracted by your opponents. For it will make them seem antisemitic.

It is better to be condemned by the entire world for the performance of a mizvah for its own sake, then to be accused by the Torah for using the mizvahs for ulterior motives.

Furthermore the Torah was not given for us to offend people, which was the result of Odze's actions.

(76) Joseph Apicella, February 28, 2014 4:13 PM

Hand shaking/Wearing a full veil

I believe some tolerance has to be made for religious beliefs. the candidate of course must accept the consequences of his actions. and they must be viewed in the totality of platform. Is he pro woman's issues or at least neutral on birth control and abortion. Are women in his campaign and does he talk to women's groups. All this should be considered I wouldn't vote for him unless these other issues were addressed. I mention the veil because that is case where I could not overcome a lifetime of viewing a face covering as a sign of danger. Who would go to a women doctor who could only examine you with your body covered.

(75) Anonymous, February 28, 2014 4:01 PM


I am not an observant Jew. However, when I went to shake the hand of an orthodox Jewish man, not knowing his beliefs and customs at that time, he ignored my gesture making me feel insulted. The man should have told me why he ignored my welcome. It wasn't until my brother told me why that I understood.

(74) Ephraim, February 28, 2014 3:00 PM


I think "shaking hands" with just anybody should be done with. It is a PAGAN greeting and a very UNHEALTHY one especially in these times where almost everything and anything one touches is contaminated. Bacteria cannot be seen, felt or smelled and what sort of germs the other person carries on his/her hands, only Heaven knows. Our Creator is the Intelligence beyond words, He did not include "handshaking" in the etiquette. I have yet to read a Scripture on handshaking.
Its funny that even queen Elizabeth never shakes hands with anyone and if she does, it is always with gloves on and I'm sure those gloves must be some special kind where the bacteria/germs don't penetrate through and onto her skin. LOL!! - So by all means, I am against the so-called Hand-Shaking" :)

(73) Lloyd Strausz, February 28, 2014 2:51 PM

I applaud the rabbi's sticking to his guns.

Were I to be asked, I would have no objection to holding her foot; if it made her more at ease I would allow her to hold mine.

(72) Jill, February 28, 2014 12:21 PM

Ladies don't shake hands

Why should it be a problem? I was brought up to believe that a lady does not shake hands anyway -- only men shake hands. Nowadays everyone seems to shake hands, or not, as in this case. Why should it be an issue? If that's his belief, then respect it.

(71) Chaya, February 28, 2014 11:06 AM

Then he shouldn't be in politics

I've known religious men who have shaken hands with women because they didn't want to make the women feel uncomfortable.

(70) Joel, February 28, 2014 7:57 AM

I Agree with you Rebbe !

I totally agree with you and the candidate. One should not be forced to shake hands period. Bye the way, I love your videos ! Keep up the important and good work Rabbi !

(69) Eliyahu Shiffman, February 28, 2014 7:36 AM

He has every right to refrain from shaking women's hands. His party, however, has every right to choose a less problematic candidate, and would be well advised to do so. The campaign trail is not the appropriate time to expound on esoteric aspects of Judaism to non-Jews, in order to explain why he cannot permit himself an innocent social gesture. And Rabbi Salomon, with all due respect, it would be nice if your stands on such issues weren't so predictable and inevitable. Jewish law offers at lot more latitude than you imply.

Adam Rapaport, February 28, 2014 12:49 PM

Eliyahu Shiffman's response is absolutely concise and displays both wisdom and sensitivity. I wish that my own response to many of the comments as well as the original question were as close to the mark and apt as Shiffman's observations have been

(68) David Pinto, February 28, 2014 6:55 AM

The situation in the Province of Quebec

Rabbi Salomon would have a hard time in the Province of Quebec:
Whether francophone or other, people of the opposite sex often kiss once on each cheek. Cheek kissing between women is also very common, although men will often refrain. Cheek kissing between men, however, is becoming more and more common, especially among young people.
Speaking Jewishly, it is more common among Sephardim.

(67) Beth, February 28, 2014 5:13 AM

One can also bow in respect. One have a business card in hand

to offer to the person who is extending her arm/hand to shake. It can buy a little time and can dissipate some of the awkwardness.

One can take a preemptive action by explaining this to UKIP members and put a positive spin on it.

With that said, the person is running for a position in a secular party that is trying to capture secular votes. Perhaps, if it really will be so offensive to some that UKIP's platform of keeping Muslim immigrants and the massive problems they bring along, perhaps he can glove his hand or arrive at a compromise.

In the not-too-distant-future, this WILL become a life and death situation, as it is in many countries around the world where Islam meets up with other religions that it deems inferior, indeed which its god commands its followers to destroy and enjoy the booty.

Islamofascism is a serious problem, and it will become more serious, deadly serious. I've been studying it for five years, and we will all have to deal with it far more than we are now, as our leaders are either not strong enough to stand up to it or are actually complicit in its spread.

(66) Anonymous, February 28, 2014 4:02 AM

Donald Trump doesn't shake hands, either

Everyone knows that Donald Trump doesn't shake hands with anyone. Not because he's a religious Jew, but because he's a germaphobe. No one seems to be offended.

(65) Anonymous, February 28, 2014 3:21 AM

Shaking hands with women

Rabbi Salomon explained this practice and belief very well. If ideas are understood to be an individual's way of thinking as opposed to being arrogant or condescending, respect would be the reaction, hopefully, unless of course a way of thinking is actually meant to hurt anothers. I think if a candidate observes or senses a misunderstanding, quietly explaining this practice is appropriate. Prior to campaigning, he should continue to spread the word, just in case someone missed the news. After all, it is possible for him to lose the election by just one vote.

(64) Philip, February 28, 2014 3:08 AM

handshakes are odd to begin with.

I would not begrudge anyone for not extending their hand except in serious matters of trust or respect. I have shaken way too many hands that left my skin crawling for hours. I respect his choice.

(63) Neal, February 28, 2014 2:23 AM

Campaigning is not the point

If this candidate -- or any other Jewish man -- believes he's forbidden to shake hands with a woman (or forbidden to touch any woman outside of his close relatives) that's his right. It's also his right to run for office, whether or not women find his custom rude or disrespectful or downright dumb.

It's also people's right not to vote for him -- and to suspect that his beliefs might shape his views about women's rights or equal rights.

But the real point is why the candidate and other Orthodox Jews believe they mustn't touch women outside the family. I see nothing about this in the Torah, so it must come from some rabbinic horror of an infection of lust leading to adultery or other improper behavior (whatever that could be between an unmarried, consenting adult men and women).

If it's a rabbinic prohibition, than it could be reversed. I'm an adult man, still on my first wife after 36 years, and I find it insulting that people would think I'm in so little control of my behavior that the mere shaking of a woman's hand could lead me to improper behavior. I think this humra makes Jews look stupid and is stupid. How many fences around fences does the Torah need?

(62) Efrian, February 28, 2014 1:52 AM

shake no ones hand male or female (or other)
Then everyone is equally relieved or offended
This equal but different stuff has usually been used to justify unequal stuff over the years/centuries and is a little unwelcome.

(61) Elizabeth Al-Rakan, February 28, 2014 12:29 AM

Unsure what the think ...

Of course he's a free agent to do what he chooses. I agree with Daniel above who states the importance of explaining why. I am also fascinated by the political incorrectness, yet the forray into politics. Perhaps the choice itself is a political statement. Unfortunately, it carries with it a sense preferential treatment, because shaking hands with strangers is no walk in the park regardless of gender; but to give deference to men and withhold from women reveals bias. What harm can come of shaking hands with women in public in full view of everyone? What is it that is feared? It seems a bit rigid. Like Daniel said above, we need to know why.

(60) KG, February 28, 2014 12:26 AM

The queen and belief systems.

I believe the queen does not shake hands with anyone. In fact there are security tutorials before meeting her, such as not asking her questions or making unsolicited comments. Just an FYI. Regarding beliefs and standards, refraining from shaking hands with the opposite gender is all about arousing touch. Is he actually saying he would get excited shaking a woman's hand? If so, he should choose another vocation.

(59) Phil, February 28, 2014 12:18 AM

Both sides

On the one hand, there's a particular kollel in America were, if you want to be a rabbi in that kollel, you must be willing to shake hands with a woman (probably after she extends it).
On the other hand, "At one point during the Rabbis' march, as the rabbis were standing in a lineup, waiting to meet with Eleanor Roosevelt, it occurred to the first rabbi in line that the First Lady would undoubtedly extend her hand in greeting, and that he needed to decide his course of action. As she held out her hand to shake his, the rabbi said, “I am sorry, Mrs. Roosevelt, but my religion forbids me from shaking hands with a woman to whom I am not married”. To which the First Lady responded, “I only wish my husband had that religion!”

(58) SarahRachel, February 27, 2014 10:17 PM

I Would Vote For Him

"Would you support a candidate who doesn’t shake hands with the opposite sex?" Yes! Because I know this is more than likely a FAITHFUL husband and family man, a keeper of his word. Depending on if I liked what his political platform was, of course, but yes I would.

(57) alfredo, February 27, 2014 10:05 PM

I support him

First of all, I'm not in England, so I have nothing to gain or loose in this matter. Second, I have been to Japan, where there are several and distinct ways to salute others depending on protocols, so this issue is not unique in any sense, either religiously or society based. Third, Jewish laws are very clear and are placed upon Jewish people who want to follow them in order to please HaShem, Blessed be He. By the way, I'm not Jewish. I think that the candidate has an opportunity to explain why it is not permitted to him to shake hands with other women who are not his wife. If he explains that it is a matter of respect not only for his wife, but also for these other women's actual husbands and boyfriends, and future ones also, he would be showing others that respect can be shown in many ways, and even teach people new ways of thinking and behaving correctly. I think that women could really see that his motives are not about him being arrogant, but about being respectful to them and their husbands. And respect is really needed in this world.

Anonymous, March 31, 2014 4:20 AM

Shaking hands/I support him

Alfredo, The Jewish people need all the support they can get in this world. From the bottom of my sincere, Jewish heart, THANK YOU!

(56) Adam Rapaport, February 27, 2014 9:55 PM

Not shaking hands with women is incompatible with politics

Notwithstanding the likely sincerity of his stance on this issue, to choose to differentiate ones manner of greeting half the population on earth is not compatible with his role as a politician.
A doctor might choose similarly to not touch half his patients, but how far would he rise in his field of endeavour.
The act itself of not greeting a specific gender in the customary way may be understood by those who can think ,understand and show some tolerance, but what of perhaps the majority of others, who may see it as backward and barbaric, reflecting poorly on Jews. Such a negative public relations stance is something we should not actively seek and the opposite is true, that the beauty and wisdom within Judaism needs to be promoted.
Sincerity of a belief system is admirable, but not all encompassing as the Taliban sincerely believe that education of women is not necessary and stoning of women for adultery is appropriate. We are permitted to abhor practices irrespective of the ernest belief system of their proponents.
So, choose another field where you might make a contribution, politics is not for you.

(55) Joseph Bons, February 27, 2014 9:28 PM

even thought I respect the Rabbi's beliefs. I believe it is another fence around Torah that have been around way too long.

(54) r katz, February 27, 2014 9:19 PM

i agree 100 percent. he certainly can acknowledge the female in another manner which could be mutually acceptable, b shalom

(53) lydia, February 27, 2014 9:12 PM

no hand shake, no vote.

(52) Austin Kuder, February 27, 2014 8:52 PM

physical contact

I thought you were going to something sensible like a firm but not painful handshake. I think you and he are taking the words of the Bible too liberally.

(51) Edith Dvorah, February 27, 2014 8:49 PM

pick and choose your observances?

Our symphony orchestra performs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Through the years we have had several Jewish conductors (as well as many musicians). A number of years ago, I was invited to display one of my paintings in the "Green Room" of the orchestra's home for a weekend and to meet the conductor during the intermission. (I practice Conservative Judaism). When I extended my hand, the conductor pulled away his hand as if I had the Plague. The hands of an artist are just as essential as those of a musician, so I knew that was not the issue. After all these years this is the first discussion of the matter I have seen. Thank you.

(50) David S. Levine, February 27, 2014 8:36 PM

Women Should Be Honored

Women should be honored that he is sticking with his religious beliefs in this regard. They are sincere and shows that he respects women because he treats them as he would expect others to treat his wife. So long as he acts respectfully to women in other respects this particular manifestation of Judaism should not turn off voters who agree with his political positions.

(49) Nick Propst, February 27, 2014 8:35 PM


I am a Southern Baptist from S.C. I love the website and have learned much. I believe he should stick to his convictions and withhold shaking hands with women. Why would I vote for someone who would forsake his beliefs for a vote?

(48) Malka Forshner, February 27, 2014 8:27 PM

do they prefer philandering pollticans?

What a silly question? This world is so very mixed up, olam hasheker, the darkness right before the light of Geulah!!!

(47) Anonymous, February 27, 2014 8:16 PM

I would not support this candidate.

The issue is much more involved than just whether or no the candidate will shake hands with a woman. There are many other restrictions due to orthodox beliefs. England is not a Jewish country and I would be very concerned about what additional beliefs and customs will effect this candidate's votes and opinions.

(46) jake, February 27, 2014 8:10 PM

much confusion amongst commenters

this is not just an issue of men shaking women's hands - it goes both ways... women, according to jewish law, cannot touch a man other than her husband. It also has nothing to do with a woman having her period.... it is the prohibition of having contact with the opposite sex that entails any form of affection. That said, if the shaking of hands will cause embarrassment, or to that person the touching involves zero 'chiba' / affection, many leading rabbis permit the shaking of hands in that case. In any case, this has NOTHING to do with making women second class citizens.

(45) Charlotte Feldman, February 27, 2014 8:00 PM

Just explain, that's all

In our "touchy-feelie" society when so many people hug and air kiss and so on, it is a simple matter for an observant man to say kindly to a woman he meets, "I know you will understand that my faith does not permit me to shake hands or touch women who are not my mother or wife. I am very happy to meet you, however," Then smile, Problem solved.

(44) Robert Clarke, February 27, 2014 7:39 PM

Support for his belief

If that is what he believes and if it is to honour God that takes number one position. Good for him. Dr. R Clarke

(43) Daniel, February 27, 2014 7:22 PM

Explain why

He needs to explain clearly to his constituency why he doesn't shake a woman's hand is simple terms.

Melissa, February 28, 2014 5:09 AM

Explanations are needed, yes

BUT - how many non-orthodox constituents will believe that his reticense in this regard is simply 'for religious reasons'; bigotry is real; & people will make assumptions about a woman whether she is wearing a scarf or not and so on, and so they will make assumptions about a man who does not shake hands with a woman; many secular women will not accept this in 2014, jewish or not, especially those who have labored long and hard in the workplace for difficultly-won positions of authority in government and society at large.

(42) Mary Ann, February 27, 2014 7:16 PM

We all have rights

I respect the candidate's right to refrain from shaking hands with women. I respect the right of women to use that as grounds to vote for someone else.

Anonymous, February 28, 2014 12:04 AM


For many years I did not shake hands with women. I explained that I reserve all touch for my wife and it is the way I choose to practice my faith. Most women understand. The majority are embarrased that they tried to shake hands with you. And there will always be a very small minority who are insulted. I have great respect for those who don't. I also understand those who do. Especially in business it is difficult to begin even a professional relationship on this awkward footing. It is a barrier, as it is supposed to be, but it is a barrier nonetheless. As for the comment on "rights," we have the right to misbehave (it's called free will), but it doesn't make it the right thing to do.

(41) E l i Hodari, February 27, 2014 6:35 PM

Is this the case?!??

I know that a man should refrain from touching a woman. However, I heard from a rabbi that if someone non-jewish/non religious offers a hand shake first, and they could be offended by someone refraining from greeting them in this manner, then one should indeed continue this handshake! This is because of derech eretz! Although, if someone is understandable by doing this, then they should refrain from continuing the handshake. Note: Of course one should try to show by their body language that they aren't keen on returning the handshake.

(40) Yedidyah, February 27, 2014 6:23 PM

Good for him

Since he preannounced that he will not be shaking hands with a women he is not married to, it shouldn't pose any issues of rejection or rudeness. Except to those looking for a reason to dislike him. I am quite sure it is not just on the campaign trail that he does not shake the hands of a woman he is not married to. BTW, I see far too many Jewish men shake a woman's hand they are not married to and then proceed with a hug and kiss on the cheek. If more men avoided physical contact of any sort with a woman he is not married to, it might result in less inappropriate behavior. In this individuals case, people should be voting for the message he articulates, the positions of political significance that he holds, not whether or not he will shake your hand. IMHO, those who take umbrage with this position have bigger issues that won't be solved with a handshake.

(39) Irving, February 27, 2014 6:20 PM

If it ok not to shake a hand as you are not well and do not wish to infect another, then it should be ok for someone not to shake a hand in respect of G-d.

(38) Anonymous, February 27, 2014 6:04 PM

Tough call

I am an attorney and I have a hard time not shaking hands with men. It causes too much attention and takes focus away from the matter at hand. I find that a quick handshake at the first client meeting puts everyone at ease and does not bring up issues that are irrelevant to our professional relationship. If I start stating my religious beliefs and make an issue out of shaking hands it takes away from my relationship with the client and is bad for business. I never shake hands with men in a social or commercial setting (like if I am meeting with a vendor) and do not mind bringing up the religious beliefs issue then. A politician, however, has to be consistent and must stay true to his religious beliefs in order to remain credible.

(37) David, February 27, 2014 5:34 PM

I have a problem with this.

A gentleman should not generally extend his hand to a lady. That said, when a woman extends her hand, you should accept it, for the simple reason that refusing an extended hand is an embarrassment to the person who extended it. Orthodoxy's fetish with not touching women is a rabbinic enactment; not causing embarrassment to another person is a Torah law.

Avi, February 27, 2014 7:07 PM

Rabbinic Law Is Torah

There is no such thing as "only" rabbinic law, rabbinic law is very severe and there are views that these dinim are from the torah and either way they have torah aspects and one should not give up on what he beleives because of society norms, that is chilul shem shamayim

Oriyah, February 27, 2014 7:13 PM

You can refuse to shake without embarassment. And sex is not the same as gender.

People did it to me in the past, and I have done it myself. If you are very warm with the person you're meeting, and say GENUINELY and warmly "I actually don't shake hands with members of the opposite sex, but it is SO nice to meet you" people don't mind.

Also sex and gender are not one of the same. Sex is biological, and gender is the social construct. Headline writers, take note.

(36) Sondra Brown RN,MSN, February 27, 2014 5:28 PM

To Shake or not

Every culture has its own behaviors, our is no different. I believe thsi has something to do with family purity

(35) Daniel Lazarus, February 27, 2014 5:20 PM

fears of implication

Sometimes it is not just the fact that one will not shake the other genders hand that disturbs people but what it represents. In the current culture of accepting everyone, the act of refusing to even shake a woman's hand or a man's for religious beliefs sends a clear message to others that there is a God and we are held accountable to his commandments. This is is thorn and a fear to those who follow the desires of their hearts without feeling accountable for their immoral actions. Furthermore, one can easily see how such religious beliefs will cause fear to those who do not want to be constrained in their lifestyle, and that this religious person may pass a motion to that effect or some other "radical Jewish idea" and impinge on their "rights".

(34) Sholom, February 27, 2014 5:18 PM

It's the voter's choice

Elections are about freedom to choose a candidate you're comfortable with. It's not a legal matter or business policy. (Herman Cain lost political credibility with voters when accused of immoral behavior.) In today's political climate, not shaking a woman's hand is viewed by the general public as "religious extremism", a red flag, indicative of his personal agenda and how he will govern. The candidate will set himself back with this personal policy. That's his choice and the voters will make theirs known as well. His party should consider ousting him if they feel this would jeopardize their chance of victory...and election are about winning, not about making a religious point.

(33) Chris, February 27, 2014 5:16 PM

One doesn't shake hands with the Queen

I would be very surprised if Jonathan Sacks refused to shake hands with the Queen on religious grounds - it's a question of British protocol. Although a lot of people *do* shake hands with the Queen these days, it's not really the "done thing" - men bow, and women curtsey. It's all about the British class system, not about Judaism.

(32) Rachel, February 27, 2014 5:12 PM

Why doesn't he just refuse to shake hands with everyone?

I respect the candidate's religious practice. However, in the US and UK, shaking hands is a sign of respect and trust (originally, in ancient times, men shook hands to demonstrate that they were not holding a weapon!)

Since many women would be offended about being singled out for this treatment, perhaps the intelligent thing for this candidate to do would be to refrain from shaking hands with anyone.

Incidentally, one does not shake hands with a member of the royal family unless s/he offers a hand first (and many of the royals habitually walk with hands behind their backs.)

And as another commenter noted, as a small girl, I was taught that "a lady always offers her hand first to a gentleman" because it was considered improper for a man to initiate an offer to touch a woman. In religious circles, I never offer my hand. In professional circles, I always do. And it would appear particularly offensive if I did not offer to shake hands with a man of perceived lower status, whether due to his job, his ethnicity, or his youth. (I am NOT suggesting that anyone IS of a lower status because of these things; I am saying that in our society, it could be interpreted that someone who does not shake hands in that situation is a snob or a bigot who believes that it's ok to show a lack of respect for someone different.)

(31) Yohanon, February 27, 2014 5:07 PM

Would I vote for this person?

The Q was "Would you vote for a person who refused to shake hands with a woman." To that, my answer is "No."
Avoiding such contact primarily is an Ashkenazi "thing" for men who, IMO, lack self control. If the man fears he cannot control himself while shaking a woman's hand, how can I trust him to control himself in government ? I don't object to his personal decision; but were I English, he would not get my vote.

(30) Morton Friedman, February 27, 2014 5:02 PM

The refusal can be done kindly

Instead of saying, "I don't shake hands" or words to that effect, a gentle way of refusing the handshake is to say: "Please excuse me. My religious beliefs require that I not touch an unrelated female." By saying it in that way, the person who was attempting to shake hands need not be offended or embarrassed.

(29) Jonathan, February 27, 2014 4:45 PM

Shaking hands

He should be supported by his party. But there are people will be offended by his position but these will probably be the universally aggrieved anyway. As a purely political matter it will be tough on a politician who refuses to shake hands with 50% of the population not matter the reason. I predict a tough race for him.

(28) Bonny, February 27, 2014 4:37 PM


To change his policy at this point would be disastrous, even if he thought he should. You dont choose political expediency over religious beliefs. If it is wrong in his conscience to shake hands with women, he should not, and I would respect him for his decision. In fact, it would impress me that he did not change his habit due to political pressure.

(27) Irving Baker, February 27, 2014 4:34 PM

accepted practice for the conclusion of a business deal is the handshake. As women are in business and do business with men, this is an unacceptable practice. In addition if a handshake stimulates a male, he has other problems.

Anonymous, February 28, 2014 4:06 AM

I beg to differ, Mr. Baker

Touch is a very powerful and potent component of being human, and even a handshake or a slight brush can often have as much sensual effect as something more blatant. You, Mr. Baker, are perhaps just insensitive.

(26) David Pinto, February 27, 2014 4:30 PM

Going to parties

Ari says: I don't ... attend company parties ...
What is your rationale for not attending company parties?

(25) Susan, February 27, 2014 4:28 PM

I would definitely support a candidate who didn't think it was right to shake hands with women. It will probably cause a bit of a furore - but that shouldn't matter at all. One's own belief and integrity is all important.

(24) Anonymous, February 27, 2014 4:16 PM

shaking hands with women

I agree with you. It is more important that each person live with their conscience, for when we are peace with ourselves, then we are at ease and peace with others.

(23) Geno, February 27, 2014 4:15 PM

Bob Dole Presidential Hand Shake Avoidance

Dole's hand was paralyzed and avoided shaking hands, and he ran for president, and it was OK. This should be a role model.
Bob Dole's hand
Submitted by ryanteaguebeckwith on 2008-08-13 16:46
Tags: Under the Dome
Bob Dole
Elizabeth Dole
Senate '08
Bob Dole is on the campaign trail, but he's trying to skip the handshakes.
The former Senate Majority Leader has made a number of appearances in North Carolina on behalf of his wife, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, in recent weeks.
Because of a war injury that left his right hand paralyzed, Dole usually carries a pen to discourage people from grabbing his hand and shakes with his left.
But lately he's been having medical problems with his left hand too.
At a recent event at the state Republican headquarters, Dole had an Ace bandage wrapped around his left hand to discourage people from grabbing it, although a few did anyway.
"If I didn't have that on, it'd be black and blue tonight," he said.

Read more here:

(22) Aaron Waxler, February 27, 2014 4:13 PM

I respect my wife.

I've been in a similar situation several times recently and I refused to shake the woman's hand. I explained that this is not out of disrespect for women. Quite the contrary. It's because I have a high regard for women I feel it would be disrespectful to my wife.

(21) Julia Arango, February 27, 2014 4:02 PM

shake hands

As long as a politician is polite to me, and he is trying to keep my taxes down and supporting my rights and freedoms, I don't care if he won't shake my hand, for whatever reason.

(20) Betty Moses, February 27, 2014 3:59 PM

He has a right to his belief, ofcourse, although I don't agree with it. However, he should not expect the support of women either. If he is prepared for that, then he certainly is losing out.

(19) Frances, February 27, 2014 3:56 PM

Be careful, think twice, remember Golden Rule.

If Discrimination is accepted, then it MUST be accepted Everywhere and in any Case. Remember then how painful it is to be the Object of Discrimination, and to be the Victim of it. And remember that applied Discrimination HAS ALWAYS had a so called Reason to be, almost all the Time it was an ideological Reason. Reason? <-- comes from ''to reason'', which [it must be pointed out] requires ''to think twice'' [before supporting Discrimination. If supported, remember that it MUST be supported in every other Case and agaist any other Object, or Group, or so]. Peace.

(18) J Horwich, February 27, 2014 3:54 PM

Don't put yourself in that position

(!) Her Majesty The Queen is well aware of religious protocol and avoids handshaking religious men.
(2) In the case of the UKIP candidate Mr Odze he is putting himself in a position where it is normal to shake hands. No one is forcing him to pursue a political career. The fact that UKIP is a right wing party with a not particularly favourable stance to foreigners raises a few eyebrows in the UK.

(17) Sharon Brooks, February 27, 2014 3:45 PM

Handshake refusal

It is so common any more that people in general do not shake hands a way to reduce infection, cross contamination from coughs and sneezes, etc. that I cannot believe it would be insulting anymore for people. I work for a healthcare company of very traditionally observant individuals, men and women, and they smile and politely say that their religious beliefs prevent them from such contact, and then put the others at ease with that. It has never been a big deal!

(16) Anonymous, February 27, 2014 3:43 PM

It remains his choice and those of his supporters

One can interpret the basis behind the prohibition of contact of any sort between a man and any woman other the wife of an orthodox Jew in many ways. Is it an example of holding women to the highest level of respect? Is it an example of looking at women as not equal to men in orthodox society? It is open for debate. Be that as it may, if this candidate chooses to adhere to his religious belief and will not treat women in the public sector as equals, fair enough. That is his choice to follow his religious convictions. But for those who wonder what those religious convictions mean to his attitudes toward policy with regard to women' issues in governmental rulings, he may prove to be a very weak candidate indeed. So he can choose to do what he wants, but the "party organizers" might be better off with a less controversial candidate!

(15) Anonymous, February 27, 2014 3:38 PM

no I would not vote for anyone not willing to shake hands with opposite sex.. it is archaic and makes me wonder re: their judgment.

Leibel, February 27, 2014 6:05 PM

Puting on Tefilin is archaic, Not switching on the light on shabbos is archaic, not eating a hamburger at Mcdonalds is archaic. You would actually refuse to vote for a candidate who is a commited Jew?

(14) OrnaDrawas, February 27, 2014 3:35 PM

I support his personal wishes/beliefs, but if he is running for PUBLIC office, he should be willing to act as in a way that has been established to be: professional, respectful and acceptable to the public today. Although he does not feel he is disrespecting women - he is giving the "appearance" of being disrespectful and this is not acceptable. We say that public figures should not even GIVE THE APPEARANCE of impropriety. That is the price for being a public figure. He should accept it.

(13) Yitzchak, February 27, 2014 3:34 PM


I have no problem with a religious Jew sticking to Halacha in the face of political considerations. But I do have a problem with a Jew, religious or not, representing an anti-immigration party. Even if he is not xenophobic, it is more than likely that the majority of those who elect him are, and would have opposed the mass immigration of Jews to the UK during and after the programs and the Shoah. To stand for such a party is shameful hypocrisy.

Anonymous, February 28, 2014 5:02 AM

Yes, but....

Islam is a political ideology (besides a religion that took bits and pieces from Judaism and Christianity and warped it into something not far from Naziism) that wants to take over the entire world, force everyone to submit (what Islam actually means) to Sharia, paying Jizya, making Dhimmis out of those who won't convert or killing them. The end plan is to kill every last Jew. The immigrants in question are really Muslim ones, who create Sharia-no-go-zones, want to kill gays, and turn Britain into an Islamic country. They come with the intent of living off of the dole, the health care, housing costs paid for, education free, men have multiple wives, each living in different homes, paid for by tax payers, while the government pretends not to know. There are "behead those who insult allah" posters, or "Sharia will rule", and more. Jews and Christians are allies in this war.

Christians see with the overwhelming numbers of immigrants that tsunami into the country as a direct threat to the English way of life, democracy, human rights, women's rights. The government has sold out its own citizens, so even religious Jews, if they are against Sharia creep, they are allies, albeit uncomfortable ones.

I would hope UKIP's agenda and the situation that brought UKIP into existence is compelling enough to minimize substantial differences and ward off the threat.

Islamic totalitarian supremacy vs. politician not shaking hands for religious reasons. Ultimately, the voters will have to choose their values and that that choice.

(12) Sarah, February 27, 2014 3:06 PM

shaking hands

My non-observant mother taught me that a gentleman avoids embarrassing a lady by waiting for her to extend her hand; he never extends his to her. This was the American custom in the '20s, '30s and '40s.

SusanE, February 27, 2014 4:50 PM

I Agree

A gentleman never extends his hand to a lady first. It's up to the lady to offer her hand if she wants to shake a hand. ------I don't always extend my hand, depending on the situation. If it's to complete a business deal I usually will extend my hand, but out sociallly or with strangers I don't see it as necessary. --------- In England I know that no one extends their hand to the Queen first. It's in extremely bad form.

(11) Neto, February 27, 2014 3:23 AM

It is respectful to women

I think that it shows respect and honor toward the other person, whether it is a woman who declines the handshake, or a man.

(10) DorothyFrancesGoldstein, February 27, 2014 12:32 AM

Don't Shake Hands With a Rabbi

As a representative of an insurance company I was visiting a Jewish Community Center. The receptionist took my name and asked me to have a seat. When the Rabbi appeared, I got up and offered my hand. "Are You Jewish?" he asked. "Yes but not very religious" I responded. "That part is evident" he said. "You NEVER shake hands with a Rabbi" It was'nt until years later and thanks to the wonderful works of Rabbi Joseph Telushkin that I learned the reason for this. As I understand it, it's a matter of the Rabbi avoiding temptation by not having physical contact with non immediate family of the opposite sex. Certainly a part of his faith to be respected and not forsaken for the political convenience of others.

(9) Anonymous, February 25, 2014 12:24 AM

Not shaking hands

I am not sure why some people think that not shaking hands with women is the same as being arrogant.
Religious women too are not supposed to shake hands with men , it goes both ways. Some non-Jews don't shake hands either. Analyzing the the kind of policies this politician plans to implement would be a more rational approach. I wonder if people are uncomfortable with those who're not afraid of expressing their faith so openly , and thereby not blending in with the crowd.

(8) Anonymous, February 24, 2014 4:46 PM

opposite direction

In my experience, as an orthodox woman in the professional field (healthcare/hospital) , it is almost never the embarrassment of the "extender" but rather the embarrassment of the "recipient" taken into account. Yes, it is hard to refuse a hand, but I have found that if I tell them "I am truly pleased to meet you; I;m sorry, but for religious reasons I don't shake hands with men; don't feel bad, there is no way you could have known" and then proceed with the matter at hand, there is minimal ill feeling. Most men have no problem accepting this. (maybe in the business world, where a "handshake" is more significant, it is different?) Usually the women get insulted "he won't even shake my hand!!!' ?somewhat hypocritical?

(7) Nancy, February 24, 2014 12:45 AM

I can appreciate and have great respect for a religious man who does not shake hands with women outside of marriage/blood relations. After all, we as women also have the prerogative not to shake a man's hand. With that said, I would hope that this politician has respect for women in the areas of equal pay for equal work, and in creating an environment free from violence and harassment. I would also hope that this politician is tzniut in his speech, and that he does not address women as "girls" "chicks" "broads" or any other derogatory term.

(6) Sidney, February 23, 2014 10:27 PM

Candidate is Correct

If that is his beliefs he is perfectly correct.

As far as the embarrassment issue (not shaking after the other's hand is extended):

I almost always come to meetings (e.g., an interview with a prospective buyer of a co-op apartment in the building whose board I am on) with my right hand full of stuff (such as the voluminous buyer's application) so I am rarely offered a hand.

If push comes to shove I will shake as my Rabbanim hold that shaking is a social convention and is permitted in order not to embarrass a person.

I must point out that many others hold, such as Rav Moshe (Feinstein), that it is an endearment convention (like hugging) and thus is absolutely prohibited (embarrassment not withstanding).

(5) Azriel, February 23, 2014 10:00 PM

It's disrepectful to women

It's insulting and supports the oppressive structure that places women as unequal. I could never vote for someone who cannot shake a women's hand.

Anonymous, February 28, 2014 10:21 AM

Women are not equal

if they were, they would be men. Men are not equal to women either, or they would be women. Children are not equal to adults. Bosses are not equal to employees. What fantasy. People are only equal as human beings, not as sexes, age, race, etc. We are all compliments. Tomatos are not equal to olives in the great salad of society. But the salad would not taste outstanding if it was made up of only tomatos.

(4) SusanE, February 23, 2014 9:26 PM

Nothing to do with belief. It's not about him

This is about holding public office and representing men and women. If he won't touch a woman's hand or help her should she fall, I wouldn't want him making decisions based so strongly on this thoughts of right and wrong. Each time another man shook the hand of a woman on the campaign trail, this candidate would think how wrong it was of that other man and woman. If this is his belief, then he feels his way is right and they are wrong. He could choose a profession that is better suited to what he is comfortable with. His right leaning party in UK and the republican right here in US is not women friendly anyway. I'm surprised he doesn't have their full support.

Anonymous, February 24, 2014 11:17 AM

both comments #4 and particularly # 5 are examples of the ignorance he'll need to overcome i

# 4 feels it's based on oppression of woman [when in fact it's the high regard for women and sacred holiness of the male female marital bond which also forbid a woman to shake a male hand ]
#5 makes the statement that he would not help her fall which is totally false.The sages tell mockingly of an ignoramous who would not chose to save a drowning woman because it would require touching her
You can be certain if their is a good reason to overide a rabbibinc decree an educated religious Jew will know what to do. Nobody is any the worse after being told my religion states All physical contact is reserved for my wife and immediate family of the opposite sex unless there is a specific emergency where touching will help in which case I'm obligated to do what is needed.

Anonymous, February 27, 2014 5:04 PM

That's not the question. You called us ignorant?

See what I mean. Those thoughts and practices that you and he hold as belief, consider anyone that doesn't agree with you, as ignorant. I don't know the man nor his record to base a vote on, so I'm given a choice based on a handshake? The question is, would I vote for him. And the answer is No I wouldn't,

Mati, February 28, 2014 10:14 AM

Nobody called anyone "ignorant"

Why are the "me" people (women in this above case) oversensitive? If they read the story of the ignoramus, it was addressing MEN who refuse to touch a woman, not the WOMAN who involved. I have discovered tin my own personal business dealings that women cannot do the same job as men because of EMOTIONS. I am not saying they don't HOLD such job positions. I am saying they react differentlly than men and therefore "solve" problems in a way that doesn't really solve problems because they react to their emotions...They tend to push the issues aside rather than solve them. And this is what anonymous did in her "you called us ignorant." reaction above. Noone called anyone ignorant.....except in the story of the they called the MAN ignorant, not a woman. So rather than react to the respondant, she pushed the subject asside and created a new thing not even involved in the discussion: "calling us ignorant if we don't agree".

SusanE, March 11, 2014 1:13 AM

Someone Didn't Read Anonymous' Title.

The TITLE of anonymous comment to me says " Both comment #4 and particularly #5 are examples of the ignorance he'll need to over come." No issue pushed aside and no doubt my thoughts were called ignorant. I am commenter #4. There are some anonymous people above with their dander up. ;)

(3) Aharon, February 23, 2014 9:08 PM

not so simple

I admire the integrity of this candidate. However, there are different approaches to this. According to many poskim, affectionate contact is prohibitted, this is why hand shaking is a very grey area. Rav Moshe Feinstein said if one is in a business setting and a member of the opposite sex puts out their hand, it is permissible to shake hands. Perhaps embarrassing someone is worse than being lenient in this matter. I encourage everyone to speak with their own Rabbi as to how to handle such a situation

(2) Ari, February 23, 2014 11:16 AM

standing by your beliefs shows integrity

In my humble opinion, a man who stands by what he believes, no matter what pressure he is under to 'conform', is the type of man you know you can trust. Such a man will keep his word regardless of criticism from others. That, to me, is what true leadership is all about. How many politicians show that level of integrity? Not that many, sadly, especially in the UK. We need people like Mr Odze in positions of power. My colleagues are aware that as the only employee with a kippah, I don't shake hands with women, attend company parties or come in to work on Shabbos or Yom Tov. But they know that I will try and do whatever I'm expected to do and make up lost time if necessary. And they RESPECT me for that.

(1) Aviel, February 23, 2014 10:25 AM

much misinformation re a woman being "unclean" etc?

in this case like so many others ignorance leads to false beliefs. In some cultures refusing to give or accept a kiss on the cheek is rude in others refusing to shake hands is the height of rejection hence the term" I wouldn't even shake his hand" Within certain orthodox Jewish circles it's considered immodest for a man to look a woman in the eye when speaking while in much of the world not looking one in the eye when speaking to them is considered rude or worse a sign of dishonesty. According to Jewish law even a man's wife is not to be touched during her monthly cycle which is about ritual purity and has nothing to do with cleanliness. If one is in the public arena such as a politician an explanation seems to be called for and then it seems to me one's practice should be respected. I imagine some folks will choose not to [or to]vote for a candidate based on what seems to me irrelevant info, but that is their right.


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