Lubavitcher EP Candidate Won’t Shake Women’s Hands

A nasty row has broken out within the UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) over an EP (European Parliament) candidate’s refusal to shake women’s hands due to his religious beliefs.

Shneur Zalman Odze, a prospective MEP for the North West of England, has told party members his Orthodox Judaism forbids him from physical contact with women other than his wife.

Some party activists say they are offended by his stance, which threatens to alienate half the electorate.

But senior officials have rebuked these activists as “rude” and “wrong” for refusing to respect Odze’s beliefs.

Fred McGlade, a UKIP regional organizer, has already resigned from his post in protest at the decision to include Odze, 31, on the party’s list of top MEP candidates.

He warned UKIP chairman Steve Crowther that he would stand down if Odze was chosen by the party, because of his attitude towards women.

At least one UKIP branch has banned Odze because of what a member described as his “difficult and aggressive behavior.”

Crowther told the Times it was “rude” of McGlade and others to complain about Odze.

He said: “We have a policy of tolerance for and acceptance of people’s own religious observance. We do not consider it grounds for complaint. It harms no one.”

Ozde, who is fourth on the Ukip’s MEP list in the North West, was unavailable to comment.


  • 1. wrong wrote:

    hes allowed to shake womens hands when it comes to situations like this no need to make a big deal and lose his seat

  • 4. Me wrote:

    Only mugs would believe such a badly written article, suffice to say, the only true thing there is that he’s fourth on the list for North West UK.

  • 7. agree with # 1 wrote:

    There is no halacha against shaking the hands of women in a business context in order to not embarrass them or hurt their feelings.

    Ask any Rov

    • 8. Milhouse wrote:

      Says who? Indeed ask any rov, and he will tell you that there certainly is such a halacha.

    • 9. K wrote:

      Nishmas Chayim (Rav Chaim Barlin) 135; Teshuvos v’Hanhagos 4:300, quoting an oral ruling from Rav M. Feinstein; Emes l’Yaakov, E.H. 21, note 4; Rav C.P. Scheinberg, quoted in Halichos Yisrael, pg. 282.

  • 10. TO NUMBER 1 & 6 MAINLY wrote:

    it’s because of people with your lenient attitude that so many of our youth have drifted completely away. Of all people in the world, the Rebbe would NEVER offend anyone, yet when an elderly non frum woman came to him for dollars and put out her hand to shake the Rebbe’s, the Rebbe (didn’t look in your shulchan oruch) merely smiled and said “my mother always taught me not to touch what doesn’t belong to me”. The last thing you give up should be your yiddishkiet. Glad you’re not running for anything big!!!!


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