Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Queen, the Rabbi, and the Handshake

London - Rabbi Aryeh Sofrin was anxious just like the scores of other people scheduled to meet the Queen of England, but for a different reason: what would he do if she reached out for a handshake?

The Chabad shaliach to Ilford, Essex, located northeast of London, was about to be dubbed Member of the British Empire for 18 years of work as head of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center that serves Jews, Christians and Muslims and even has an imam on the staff.

He had been briefed on proper protocol, but did not know what to do about the handshake that ends every audience with the Queen. And on this particular day, she had chosen not to wear her gloves

But she must have been briefed about him, concludes Rabbi Sofrin, because at the end of their short meeting the 83-year-old Queen Elizabeth II remembered to avoid the customary handshake.

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