Yid Fired From NYPD For Refusing To Shave Beard Wins Right To Fight To Get His Job Back

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fishel-litzmanA Yid who was fired from the NYPD for refusing to shave his beard could win the right to rejoin the force. Fishel Litzman, 39, was just a month away from graduating from the police academy when he was fired last June.

The police department has a rule that beards may not exceed more than 1 millimeter in length. Litzman, who keeps a beard for religious purposes, objected to shaving and is fighting the NYPD in court to get his job back.

On Friday, Federal Judge Harold Baer said that his termination made him a victim of religious discrimination. The ruling may allow Litzman to pursue the career of his dreams.

‘I want people to know that you can follow your dreams and never have to compromise your religion. That’s what makes this country so great,’ Litzman told the Daily News.

According to CNN, Litzman was in the top 1 per cent of his classes at the police academy and was well liked by fellow classmates.

He also told the police academy of his religious needs before he was even a student.

‘Since I had applied for an exemption before I was accepted and had already been photographed, I believed that the NYPD was aware of my religious needs and accepted me knowing I needed to keep my beard intact,’ Litzman wrote.

The NYPD claims that officers must shave their beards so that they can properly wear a gas mask in the case of a terrorist attack.

Litzman’s lawyer, Nathan Lewin, is arguing that the police department made and ‘after the fact rationalization’ for why he had to shave his beard. He blames their decision on blatant discrimination.

Even though the judge acknowledged that it would be problematic if all cops could not properly wear a gas mask, he also said that the NYPD couldn’t claim the ‘1 millimeter’ standard as an official rule.

The NYPD also doesn’t enforce the beard rule for undercover cops, who still may have to wear a gas mask in the case of an attack.

CNN reports that when Litzman was a student at the academy he was told, ‘Cut your beard, after the academy you’ll never have to.’ People at the academy also told him, ‘it’s an unenforced rule.’

‘One of the points that has been drilled home during my short time at the academy is the need to represent the NYPD with integrity,’ Litzman wrote to police following his termination in 2012 .

‘Although not knowing whether I will be punished for maintaining my religious beliefs has been very taxing on me and my family, I will not waver in my firm belief that I can be a successful member of the NYPD and an Orthodox (Hasidic) Jew at the same time,’ he continued.

Attorney Nathan Lewin is no stranger to hairy situations and has won many cases for chassidim who’ve fought to keep their beards in the Army and in the Air Force.

‘We hope this is the beginning of the end of the NYPDs refusal to grant full religious accommodations to applicants who may not, for religious reasons, trim their beards,’ said Lewin to the Daily News.

Lewin also said that they will ask for Litzman to be reinstated.

‘The primary objective was always to get back into the academy and do what I always dreamed of,’ said Litzman.

Litzman has been working as a paramedic since being fired but hopes to be in uniform again.

Read more: THE DAILY MAIL.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. I understand this yid, but as a frum Jew, I still believe he has no case. It is not mandatory to have a beard according to Jewish religion and most importantly it’s a clear cut rule. Sorry.

  2. JB – who r u to pasken Halacha according to Jewish Law – r u a Posek or just another Yid? Go learn again your “clear cut” rules and ask a Posek

  3. Re #2:
    You apparently do not know much.

    Of course, “mandatory” is a strong word. When push come to shove, it is not in the category of Shfichus Domim, Gliuy Arayos, or Avodah Zarah. But for many, it takes precedence over wearing a kippah if one had to chose one or the other.

  4. JB,

    I am sure you are a big fan of ???? ???????. The judge apparently felt the ???? ??????? was not like you assumed it should be.

  5. Its not mandatory to eat cholov yisroel? Stop sliding down this path of “freedom.” You don’t have to eat every cholov stam ice cream. Yiddishkeit is for increasing the “yiras shomayim.” Halacha mandates a beard, stop comprising in life….

  6. #2:
    Had the NYPD told him straight out that he could not attend the academy or become a cop with the beard, you might be right. But they knew ahead of time that he wasn’t going to shave it, and let it go – and then switched their tune.

    Besides which, there are enough mekoros for a Yid – especially a chassidishe Yid – to lean on that make a beard mandatory enough.

    Wearing a yarmulke is also a minhag, if we’re going to be nitpicky about it.

  7. When a Frum Yid wants to be a police officer, there is already something wrong. Let’s stop publicizing this nonsense. It is a clear blessing from up high, that he doesn’t get such a job.

  8. America has freedom of religion – if his religion (Hasidic Judaism – which is a type of Orthodox Judaism, but follows some different poskim than other Orthodox Jews in certain cases, such as beards) requires him to have a beard, his right is to have one, even if your religion (Orthodox Judaism) does not. It is the same thing with cholov Yisroel etc. Each expression of religion is protected. The fact is, there are poskim who say it is totally assur al pi halachah to trim one’s beard. Even if that is not the generally accepted psak, the Constitution says that it is not up to the government to decide which brand of one’s religion is true. That is up to us to decide which to follow.

  9. FYI in Israel there are bearded Yidden who are provided-fitted with special gas masks.
    If necessary I am pretty sure that the Chief Rabbi of the Israeli Army can arrange for one to be sent to the NYPD or perhaps a Gas Mask Gemach can be ‘set up’ for this purpose through Zaka.

    It would solve the problem and at he same time be a Kiddush Hashem.

  10. A frum Yid doesnt belong in the NYPD

    It is not helpful for the Yidden to be in this position Enough said

    Learn from history…!!!!


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