Frum Yid Kicked Out Of NY Police Academy Over Beard Length


matzav_networkA frum 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.

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,” Litzman said.

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 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, Lewin said, it’s a case of religious discrimination.

“We’re going to be deliberating and considering what the steps are that we’re going to take,” Lewin told The Associated Press on Motzoei Shabbos.

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

Like observant Muslim and Sikh officers, Chasidic 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 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.

{The Washington Post/ Newscenter}


  1. They should not have strung him along until now. ONE month before finishing???

    But, I do feel they have the right to their decorum of officers – and to reject him in the INITIAL (intrview) stage.

    Good voch

  2. How did the police department “know” that he wouldn’t trim his beard? Did he tell them upfront? If he didn’t, he has no reason to believe that they wouldn’t expect him to keep the regulation. If he was going to challenge the regulation, he should have contacted a lawyer long ago. Note that they cited him before – this isn’t a new development. The Department can cite valid safety reasons for keeping a beard trimmed. Since they gave him warnings before, they have a legal basis for not hiring him. Why did he assume that he could ignore the regulations and still get hired?

  3. This is over the line. No one is forcing this “frumah” guy to become a police officer. If you “want” to become one, then play by the rules.

  4. There have been other stories that chassidim joined the NY police force. It’s whats great about America, but if you join the Army, there are rules you have to follow. If you can’t live up to them, then don’t bother. Don’t ruin it for the others that are there. Making a statement will only cause chillul Hashem and make the otherwise- good friendship worse for the others.

  5. I know Fishy as a kind, passionate and talented person. He has been a medic all of his adult life and has volunteered for Hatzlolah of Monsey and Brooklyn. He has on countless occasions saved lives, including many Yidden.
    He’s a true yid and chosid. He has the right to choose the line of work he desires. He played by the rules, was top of his class and 3 weeks before he got his badge was kicked off. The question is…if the NYPD wanted to “play by the rules”, how was he in the academy all this time?