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Saturday, February 16, 2013 

Moshe Feiglin does something right

He was polite and shook hands with a woman:
MK Moshe Feiglin is used to answering questions about his political views. This week he faced a different sort of question as a female supporter asked him why he shakes women’s hands in Knesset.

Jewish tradition prohibits affectionate touch between men and women who are not married to each other or related by blood. In many orthodox Jewish communities men and women avoid hugs and handshakes, preferring to greet each other verbally or with a nod.
Excuse me? This is one of the less reliable items on Israel National News, that doesn't make a proper distinction between ancient and modern beliefs, or where the whole dumb idea of separation between sexes came from - the Haredis in eastern Europe. So just saying "orthodox" is ambiguous, and doesn't tell the whole story.

But this does tell of how some - if not all - Jews from a "national religious" background, which is much more integral in Jewish society than Haredi but still can have questionable beliefs, are unfortunately running the gauntlet of taking up similar beliefs when it really doesn't help.
MK Feiglin explained on Facebook that he used to avoid shaking hands with women, “until I was told that it is not forbidden at all, because it is touching for the sake of politeness, not an affectionate touch.”

He argued that preserving good relations between the various sectors of Israeli society is more important than observing religious customs that are not, he said, strictly necessary. “I feel that the walls that have risen up between various parts of the nation, the inability to listen and to connect, threatens us more than the danger of giving up a stringency,” he wrote.

Feiglin added that he had discussed the matter with a rabbi to be sure his stance was in line with Jewish law (halakha). He ended by thanking the woman who had asked “for your important question.”
well at least he understands the importance of respectable relations between men and women. But all this segregative mindset really isn't helping one bit, and if people like him believe it, that's really not a good thing.

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