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Shaking hands with men at an interview
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oneofakind




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jan 08 2019, 5:38 pm
What do you do about shaking hands with a man at the initial interview? Do you let him know ahead of time? How do you handle it?
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amother




Ecru


Post  Tue, Jan 08 2019, 5:43 pm
Delete

Last edited by amother on Tue, Feb 12 2019, 1:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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amother




Lemon


Post  Tue, Jan 08 2019, 5:47 pm
Rabbi Henkin has an essay on this in his book Understanding Tzniut, and I follow his guidelines. It was incredibly difficult for me to refrain from shaking men’s hands and I’m relieved that I can follow the rabbi’s psak.
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amother




Bronze


Post  Tue, Jan 08 2019, 6:24 pm
I was recently in a difficult position. My boss is frum and shakes hands. I can't say I don't shake for religious reasons if he does.

My job requires me to meet presidents/vp of huge companies.

I had one meeting so far and told them I have a nasty cold, I really did. I had tissues and papers in my hand. Everyone was nice about it.

My DH told me to just shake hands. He shakes hands with people (almost never happens) so that they don't think he is weird.
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Boca00




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jan 08 2019, 7:21 pm
There is an excellent Headlines podcast that talks about this in depth (with other halachic workplace topics).
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amother




Black


Post  Tue, Jan 08 2019, 8:05 pm
Bronze, if your boss is a frum man and he expects a frum women to shake his hand, than your boss is an idiot and I would not work for such a man.
You need to set boundaries for yourself and make it clear to him that you dont shake hands with men.
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doctorima




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jan 08 2019, 8:34 pm
amother wrote:
Bronze, if your boss is a frum man and he expects a frum women to shake his hand, than your boss is an idiot and I would not work for such a man.
You need to set boundaries for yourself and make it clear to him that you dont shake hands with men.


I'm not Bronze, but I think she meant that her boss shakes hands with other women for business purposes, so it would look inappropriate for her (at the same meeting) to act frummer than her boss by then refusing to shake hands with the men due to her religious beliefs. Her boss is not looking to share her hand.
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amother




Black


Post  Tue, Jan 08 2019, 9:19 pm
There's nothing wrong with being frummer than your boss and sticking to your guns. Such women are generally more respected. Just because your boss does something wrong, doesn't mean you have to.
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amother




Bronze


Post  Tue, Jan 08 2019, 9:49 pm
amother wrote:
Bronze, if your boss is a frum man and he expects a frum women to shake his hand, than your boss is an idiot and I would not work for such a man.
You need to set boundaries for yourself and make it clear to him that you dont shake hands with men.


My boss has told co-workers that I don't shake hands, before they even approached me. He never asked me about my beliefs on shaking hands and I never told him. He is very respectful.

The problem is that if I want to grow in my company, I need to meet top executives, some who never met a religious female in a business setting. Our meeting needs to be positive. Not shaking someone's hand causes the person discomfort. If that happens I don't think my boss will want me to attend such meetings.

I recently took a day off and a meeting was scheduled. I wasn't informed and I hope it wasn't intentional. In my line of work a women had to work way harder than a man to get promoted.
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amother




Bronze


Post  Tue, Jan 08 2019, 9:51 pm
doctorima wrote:
I'm not Bronze, but I think she meant that her boss shakes hands with other women for business purposes, so it would look inappropriate for her (at the same meeting) to act frummer than her boss by then refusing to shake hands with the men due to her religious beliefs. Her boss is not looking to share her hand.


Thank you for explaining it so clearly.
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Ruchel




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 3:33 am
There are heterim. If you use them, get ready for never stopping.
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amother




Green


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 4:18 am
My late grandmother, a very polite lady, had told me that in polite society a man does not offer his hand to a lady but rather, waits for the lady to put up her hands. Very few people seem to be aware of that etiquette issue. The problem starts when someone puts up their hand to shake yours and you have a dilemma with a second or two to consider before awkwardness sets in.

I used to avoid shaking hands at all costs. Usually people understood and even apologized once I explained.

But then I had two super-awkward moments - one with a very important dignitary, when I absolutely had no choice but to take the offered hand (there was no chance of launching into an explanation in front of this foreign ambassador in this situation) and one with a Jewish, non-frum man I had business with who was so embarrassed when I didn't shake his hand, even though I explained as I always did, that the whole meeting was really awkward. Then I discussed it with DH who told me that there are circumstances when you are meant to use the heter, and that there are reasons behind it. The poor man was so embarrassed... who is to say that embarrassing someone by not shaking his offered hand is more 'religious' than actually giving it a quick, impersonal shake based on a heter?

So now I assess the situation. Those who are aware will avoid offering their hands. Those who are not and I get the feeling they would not understand, I do return the handshake. I don't like it but it seems like the right thing to do.
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imasoftov




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 7:14 am
amother wrote:
My late grandmother, a very polite lady, had told me that in polite society a man does not offer his hand to a lady but rather, waits for the lady to put up her hands.

This wasn't etiquette , this was patriachial repression. The patriachy did not give a flying about us, it was concerned with the property rights of our fathers and husbands and if we had neither we were free to either starve or work as harlots.
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Ruchel




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 7:43 am
imasoftov wrote:
This wasn't etiquette , this was patriachial repression. The patriachy did not give a flying about us, it was concerned with the property rights of our fathers and husbands and if we had neither we were free to either starve or work as harlots.


It's definitely not repression. It's a custom. You do shake hands and do repression, or not,
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amother




Hotpink


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 8:21 am
amother wrote:
My boss has told co-workers that I don't shake hands, before they even approached me. He never asked me about my beliefs on shaking hands and I never told him. He is very respectful.

The problem is that if I want to grow in my company, I need to meet top executives, some who never met a religious female in a business setting. Our meeting needs to be positive. Not shaking someone's hand causes the person discomfort. If that happens I don't think my boss will want me to attend such meetings.

I recently took a day off and a meeting was scheduled. I wasn't informed and I hope it wasn't intentional. In my line of work a women had to work way harder than a man to get promoted.


I work with non jews and have them offer their hand for a handshake. At first, I did wat u did which was to come up with an excuse like u said about having a cold(yes u had a cold but were trying to avoid handshaking). Then, I just told ppl I dont shake for religious reasons. Nobody was ever offended and especially nowadays wen religious discrimination is a big deal, ppl are more respectful of different religions (at least on the "outside").

First of all, I rarely have Jews in my job but once in a while, I meet someone Jewish. Yes, that Jewish colleague may shake hands, but I dont. There are different sects of Jews and different levels of observances...just like ur dh may not wear a strimel and bekisha so too we all practice differently. There's nothing wrong if anyone questions u about why u dont shake hands but ur boss does. You can say we are from different sects and practice differently just like if a modern orthodox woman wears pants, would u then feel you need to wear pants too??? There are different practices/ sects of Jews..

I'm not criticizing but I just think I u want to be strict with this, just "jump right in". Be confident and say "I dont shake hands for religious reasons, but it is so nice to meet u". And, I dont believe anyone would get offended. And, if anyone would, that is unusual and means that maybe that person doesn't have respect for ppl who put their religion /beliefs first, so what would happen if u couldn't go to a company evening event because its succos and that person will get offended. I think just stand up for what u believe and stop thinking of these excuses and stop avoiding the issue.

Do u really believe hashem will not give u a promotion because u followed HIs rule. Yes, some ppl have a heter so if u do, follow it, but I think u need to be confident to stand up for what u believe in. If not, what will u do to break the religion to avoid ppl being "offended"?

I'm not criticizing u. I was in ur shoes. I know its hard, but if u just "jump in" and start saying u dont shake hands....etc(see above wat u can say), u will see how much easier it will be rather than stressing about wat u will do to avoid the situation which comes up daily.

Hatzlacha.
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icebreaker




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 8:24 am
I just shake hands. I’ve been around others who don’t shake hands, not all of them Jewish, and it was never a problem from what I’ve seen.
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amother




Black


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 8:44 am
I think in today's day and age, people will respect and understand when you say that you dont shake hands for religious reasons, and they wont be offended.
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Chayalle




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 9:35 am
amother wrote:
My boss has told co-workers that I don't shake hands, before they even approached me. He never asked me about my beliefs on shaking hands and I never told him. He is very respectful.

The problem is that if I want to grow in my company, I need to meet top executives, some who never met a religious female in a business setting. Our meeting needs to be positive. Not shaking someone's hand causes the person discomfort. If that happens I don't think my boss will want me to attend such meetings.

I recently took a day off and a meeting was scheduled. I wasn't informed and I hope it wasn't intentional. In my line of work a women had to work way harder than a man to get promoted.


I have a friend/acquaintance that worked for the US Navy and did not shake hands. She was once meeting with an Admiral to get an award, and she let him know ahead of time. Her belief was respected.

If not shaking hands was truly your standard, it would not hinder you from advancing in your work. I find that when I am confident and friendly, people are comfortable around me, and they don't need to shake my hand to feel that way.

That being said, your last line is a shame and discrimination. Sadly, I've seen plenty of this in the frum workforce - one of the reasons I'm quite comfortable working for a non-Jewish company.
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amother




Salmon


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 9:47 am
amother wrote:
I think in today's day and age, people will respect and understand when you say that you dont shake hands for religious reasons, and they wont be offended.


It is dependent on the setting. If a person is frequently around Jews and has some awareness of their customs and behavior, then they are usually not offended. But if they have a complete lack of awareness about it, it can be very offensive.

I usually use this a measuring stick. To me, offending or embarrassing someone is worse than accepting a handshake in a pure businesslike manner. So I evaluate each situation as it presents itself.
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amother




Black


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 9:51 am
Salmon why is it worse that someone gets offended by what you say without you meaning to offend them, than breaking halacha?? Its not your problem that one would get offended after being explained nicely why you dont shake hands.
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