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First Orthodox Jew to be Elected in New Hampshire

Posted on | December 19, 2006 | By Administrator | 3 Comments

A Simple Jew emailed us the following article: Jason Bedrick is the first Orthodox Jew (a Lubavitcher) to be elected in New Hampshire.

Windham – A young man who does not shake hands with women was recently elected to the state Legislature, and the support of several members of the Salem Women’s Club was instrumental in his victory at the polls.

“My faith out of respect for women does not allow contact between unrelated men and women,” said Rep. Jason Bedrick, 23, R-Windham. He said he explains this on a daily basis to female colleagues who reach out their hands to him.

Usually, that’s the end of the conversation, he says, but sometimes, when he senses the woman isn’t convinced, he adds: “If every man in the world were to keep his hands to himself, would it be a better world for women or a worse world for women?”

Bedrick is the first Orthodox Jew to be elected in New Hampshire, a state that is home to fewer than 10 Orthodox Jewish families and where Jewish people account for 1 percent of the population.

Comments

3 Responses to “First Orthodox Jew to be Elected in New Hampshire”

  1. Baruch Horowitz
    December 20th, 2006 @ 10:10 pm

    “My faith out of respect for women does not allow contact between unrelated men and women…If every man in the world were to keep his hands to himself, would it be a better world for women or a worse world for women?”

    Why is this being phrased in terms of respecting women? Regarding physical contact between genders in general, the halacha is completely egalitarian. The issue of physical contact between genders is as much as about respecting men as it is about respecting women!

    See articles linked below, which all mention this fact. They were written in response to the infamous “teshuvah” of the Ethicist, who erred grievously in misunderstanding this point.

    http://www.aish.com/societyWork/society/Shaking_Hands_with_the_Opposite_Gender.asp

    http://www.jewishmediaresources.com/article/543/

    http://www.aish.com/societyWork/work/The_Jewish_Ethicist_Discriminating_Against_Discrimination.asp

  2. Baruch Horowitz
    December 20th, 2006 @ 11:16 pm

    Actually, it’s clear from both quotations that Jason Bedrick is explaining this to women who might feel insulted, so I can understand why he mentions it from a feminine perspective. Nevertheless, my point is valid, and perhaps Bedrick does emphasize this as well.

  3. Rabbi Shmuel Simenowitz
    December 25th, 2006 @ 5:57 pm

    I was once introduced to a reform rabbi (whose daughter had become chabad) I entended my hand to introduce myself. He withdrew his hhand with a slight nod” Incredulously I asked him half jokingly “what are you shomer negia or something?” he replied “yes” – as it turned out his practice was not to shake hands with any man who wouldn’t shake hands with a woman.

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