Can you help me with the jesus wasn't big on handwashing claim? I haven't heard theat before. Not doubting you, just trying to see how I could have missed that.
As TEC pointed out, the account of Jesus denouncing handwashing as worthless is a by-product of his rant against the Pharisees and their so-called "man-made" and burdensome oral traditions, which eventually came to be written down in the Talmud, long after Jesus' death (circa 200CE).
As the article says, the Sadducees were big critics of the 'oral laws', and in this regard Jesus sided with them against the Pharisees. However, the Sadducees didn't believe in concept of resurrection (which obviously was a show-stopper for Xianity!), so Jesus didn't really 'fit' into either of the sects of his time. Besides, Jesus wasn't a joiner/follower, but a leader (which is an expected personality trait for a would-be Jewish messiah claimaint).
Read the article, and you'll see that there's actually some compelling evidence to indicate such an oral tradition existing in Hebrew society, and many parts of the written Torah (i.e. Genesis-Deuteronomy) contains gaps and/or references to that found in the oral law (as later recorded in the Talmud). The critics (Sadducees) rightly pointed out the problem with a possibility of introduction of laws over time, since it wasn't written down.
But for all of the issues to pick with the Pharisees over their "useless" and "burdensome" oral traditions and to denounce as "worthless", Jesus had to pick the ONE example that science later confirmed as having some actual public-health validity to it: the benefit of handwashing before eating a meal.
Since handwashing before eating IS KNOWN to be beneficial and healthy practice from the 'germ theory of disease' standpoint, Jesus sure doesn't look like he knew any better (Jesus of course cured based on the old, "disease stems from sin" theory, where his cure was based on the concept of his being authorized by Jehovah to cure via foregiveness of their sins).
Xians inevitably will protest Jesus' denouncement, claiming that handwashing at the time wasn't effective anyway, or that the water wasn't clean, blah, blah, blah. I'm writing an article on my blog that will address all those weak-sauce apolegetic claims.