“The limitations of gender”

Say What?!Former Speaker Becky Lockhart has been remembered in a variety of ways but the backhanded compliment in Tuesday’s Senate prayer was one of the most, um, unique.  I am hopeful he did not mean it the way it sounded.

Rabbi Zippel remembered her by calling her “A woman who served her office with grace and dignity, never letting the limitations of gender deter her from being a faithful public servant.”

He also refused to shake hands with a female Senator, to the dismay of the Senator. Update: Since this event, I and many others have been educated on the practices of Orthodox Jews and have come to learn that this is part of their religious observance – no married persons can touch a member of the opposite sex. I appreciate the education.

Here’s the link. Start about the 3:30 mark.


  1. We do have SOOO far to go in understanding others and not assuming the worst about them. I assumed that Rabbi Zippel was referring to the limitations which society places on women as well as the limitations that Speaker Lockhart might felt in regard to her family responsibilities.

    Rabbi Zippel and his wife Sharonne co-direct Chabad Lubavitch of Utah. Chabad Lubavitch is a Chasidic, or Orthodox Jewish movement. One of the practices of Chasidism is the prohibition of men and women touching anyone of the opposite sex outside of their family. It’s one thing to be unaware of this; it’s another to leave this post up without an apology.

    • Letrice, thanks for educating me. I do apologize that I did not know of this Chasidic practice. I am glad that I do now. I hope that I can continue to learn.

      I don’t agree that Speaker Lockhart felt she had “limitations” placed on her by her family and while I certainly DO agree that society at the very least limits their expectations of what women can and should do, that’s not what was said. I am hopeful that the female Senators (and Representatives) can have opportunities for more positive interactions with Rabbi Zippel than the one that left behind some stung feelings and sad hearts.

  2. Mayim Goldstein says:

    I guess you’re the prayer sheriff for Orthodox Jews in Utah now, huh?