Is beard length a police department requirement or religious persecution?

An Orthodox Jew who was weeks away from becoming a New York City police officer says he has been kicked out of the police academy for refusing to trim his beard.

Former recruit Fishel Litzman of Monsey said he was fired on Friday after multiple confrontations with the department over the length of his beard.

“As an Orthodox Chasidic Jew it is absolutely forbidden in my religious beliefs to cut or trim my beard in any way.

“I am being disciplined only because I maintain my religious beliefs and observances.”

According to the NYPD, Litzman had been notified about the beard on two other occasions. Although he rocked the police tests with scores of 99, 100 and 96, he also got written up for minor mistakes like being in the locker room too early and forgetting his gym gear.

Isaac Abraham, an activist in Brooklyn’s Hasidic communities, said it was a shame that allowances couldn’t be made for Litzman’s beard. The NYPD’s chief spokesman insisted they made every attempt to accommodate Litzman.

Litzman’s lawyer, Nathan Lewin, is convinced it is religious discrimination:

“They knew from when he took the exam and applied that he would not trim his beard. He said from the outset it was a matter of religious observance. He never made a secret of it.”

About btchakir

Retired Theatre Producer, Graphic Designer, Usability Tester and General Troubleshooter with a keen interest in Politics and The Stage. Currently heard on WSHC, 89.7 FM (on line at www.897wshc.org) and occasionally dabbling in Community Theatre.

Posted on June 9, 2012, in Announcement, ethics, Job Seeking, Labor, Legal, News, Opinion, quote, Religion, Word from Bill and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Is beard length a police department requirement or religious persecution?.

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