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Hasidic Jew fired from NYPD over beard length

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  • Hasidic Jew fired from NYPD over beard length

    http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world...m-1455075.html

    Hasidic Jew fired from NYPD over beard length

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

    Former recruit Fishel Litzman of Monsey was fired Friday after multiple confrontations with the department over the length of his whiskers, he told the Daily News.

    Litzman is Hasidic and believes that cutting his beard is forbidden by God.

    NYPD rules usually require officers to be clean-shaven. The department makes exceptions for beards kept for religious purposes, but even then only allows 1 millimeter worth of growth.

    "I don't understand what the problem would be," said Litzman.

    NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the department's rules are reasonable and Litzman was aware of them when he signed up.

    Litzman was first cited in January for his unkempt beard. He was a month away from receiving his shield when he was fired.

    "I always wanted to be a police officer," said Litzman, a 38-year-old father of five who speaks Hebrew and Yiddish and was once a paramedic.

    His attorney, Nathan Lewin, said the police department knew when Litzman applied that he would not trim his beard.

    And now, said Lewin, it's a case of religious discrimination.

    Lewin did not immediately respond to telephone and emails messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

    The department hired its first Hasidic officer in 2006 and the force now has at least two dozen Orthodox Jewish officers.

    Like observant Muslim and Sikh officers, Hasidic officers are allowed to keep their beards for religious reasons but must keep them neat and trimmed.

    Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer issued a statement Saturday saying he was "deeply troubled" by the firing.

    "While the NYPD can exercise control over the personal appearance of its force in order to ensure that all officers are capable of performing their duties, they are also required to make a reasonable accommodation for religious beliefs," Stringer said.

    He urged the police commissioner to reconsider the case.

  • #2
    There are grooming standards that exist in the NYPD and other police organizations for a reason. If this recruit is unable to comply with the standards that exist then he should be terminated. What are we going to allow next Burkhas for Muslim NYPD female officers? Of course if this recruit was unwilling to comply with grooming standards, he should not been allowed to proceed this far in the process.
    " The Beatings will continue until Morale Improves "

    Comment


    • #3
      The article states that there are at least two dozen Orthodox Jewish officers with the NYPD, do any of these other officers have any problems conforming to the department grooming standard? If the other officers have no problem maintaining the standard then this young man is wrong, if however, the other officers are permitted longer beards then he has a case.
      never forget: www.odmp.org

      "In peace time our best still don battledress and lay their lives on the line"

      Comment


      • #4
        Nearly all Jewish scholars and sources state that prohibition is only against taking a blade to your skin, scissors to trim is almost universally accepted and there is some debate about electric razors, but they are generally as seen as ok.

        Taking even an extreme view of hasidic traditions and the Jewish bible, he could have easily trimmed his bread to be conform with both NYPD policy and Hasidic law.

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't think Elohim would be upset with him for keeping a beard of less than Mosaic magnitude.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have no problem with his termination.

            As already stated, there are uniform and grooming standards for a reason. Police Departments are para-military organizations where members are expected to look/act/dress in a similar fashion. He knew this when he signed up.

            Furthermore, I'd also like to point out that the NYPD has gone out of its way to accommodate Officers of various religious beliefs. I'm originally from the mid-west, and I can tell you that a lot of departments out there would have told applicants to "pound sand" if they weren't willing to comply with grooming/dress standards when hired.
            Last edited by Street_Cop50; 06-09-2012, 07:57 PM.
            Look sharp, act sharp, be sharp.

            Comment


            • #7
              Have to try again fubar.
              Prov 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dingo990 View Post
                Nearly all Jewish scholars and sources state that prohibition is only against taking a blade to your skin, scissors to trim is almost universally accepted and there is some debate about electric razors, but they are generally as seen as ok.

                Taking even an extreme view of hasidic traditions and the Jewish bible, he could have easily trimmed his bread to be conform with both NYPD policy and Hasidic law.
                Very interesting, I was unaware of this. This seals his fate, especially if the other Orthodox Jew officers are in compliance with the policy.
                " The Beatings will continue until Morale Improves "

                Comment


                • #9
                  He could get a job as a Hassidic bartender, specializing in Cuervo and Cabo Wabo. He can stand on the bar and sing "Have a, have a tequila, have a tequila, have some tequila"...
                  Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                  I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I used to think these guys had something wrong with their PH balance. Then a friend told me " it's 'Hasidic' Jew, not 'Acidic' Jew".


                    "Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it". George Constanza.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ex Army MP View Post
                      I used to think these guys had something wrong with their PH balance. Then a friend told me " it's 'Hasidic' Jew, not 'Acidic' Jew".

                      Trust me that there are plenty of 'acidic' Jews around nowadays. Ever try to watch & listen to Debbie Wasserman Schulz (DNC Chairwoman) give a speech on C-SPAN or during a TV interview? She is about as 'acidic' as one can be!

                      Senator Charles "Upchuck" Schumer (D-NY) is a close runner-up, however.


                      The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

                      The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.

                      ------------------------------------------------

                      "Ignorance on fire is hotter than knowledge on ice."

                      Comment


                      • #12

                        All joking aside, I believe that this recruit is going to lose the case -- especially if the other Orthodox Jewish officers have trimmed their beards to department standards as a condition of continued employment.

                        Now, if those other Jewish cops are sporting a "ZZ Top" type of beard or can enter an Osama bin Laden look-alike contest and retain employment, it might be a different story. It might also be different if the other officers are in plain-clothes positions and don't have to wear a uniform.

                        No doubt, this will be an interesting case if it ends up going to court.

                        The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

                        The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.

                        ------------------------------------------------

                        "Ignorance on fire is hotter than knowledge on ice."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by furetto7 View Post
                          The article states that there are at least two dozen Orthodox Jewish officers with the NYPD, do any of these other officers have any problems conforming to the department grooming standard? If the other officers have no problem maintaining the standard then this young man is wrong, if however, the other officers are permitted longer beards then he has a case.
                          Hasidim Jews are a branch of Orthodox. Someone who is Orthodox but is not Hasidim would not have a problem fully shaving. Even for this guy, they would allow him to keep a well maintained beard at 1 millimeter but he denied that. I have no problem with his termination.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hey, this news piece was on fark today, but I didn't expect it to be up here.

                            Jewish law does allow trimming a beard, but not shaving it.

                            Problems cited for not hiring him was because its danger as a weapon, and the inability for NYPD gas masks to be able to seal. Also, there is the whole uniform thing.

                            Well, he could tie it up to his chin, and they do make gas masks for bearded guys for the Israeli, and Saudi Arabian military's, so it comes down to what level of conformity he and the department are ok with.

                            In case you're wondering, a beard can be cornrowed.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hasidic Jews are forbidden to work or even ride in a vehicle on the Sabbath. If this man is employed as an Officer how does NYPD handle his special needs based on his religious beliefs? Is he automatically given off time based on his religious beliefs or is he told to make trades and do what he can to accommodate his situation?

                              Comment

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