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A related question was recently on The Workplace, and one of the answers there offered a phrasing I like. While dodging the physical interaction (more about that in a moment), you can say "I'm sorry, my religion allows me to shake hands only with my wife" (or husband, for women in this position). Or you could say "touch" instead of "shake hands with" if ...


This one's pretty straightforward -- relations are prohibited (at least at the rabbinic level) with all non-Jews. Therefore, we apply the concept of "don't come close to a forbidden relation", which prohibits affectionate touching according to all, and non-affectionate touching according to some.

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