Chasidic cadet says NYPD fired him over beard length


(JTA) — A Chasidic police cadet said he was fired from the New York Police Department because he would not trim his beard.

Fishel Litzman, who was a month away from graduating from the Police Academy, said it would violate his religious beliefs to trim his beard to the 1 millimeter length allowed by the NYPD, the New York Daily News reported.

Litzman, 38, of Monsey, N.Y., told the Daily News that his dismissal papers did not give a reason for his dismissal on June 7.

The newspaper reported that Litzman received test scores of 99, 100 and 96, but was cited constantly for failing to maintain his personal appearance. 

Litzman has retained attorney Nathan Lewin, who has won permission for observant Jews in the Army and Air Force to maintain their beards while serving.

“I will not waver in my firm belief that I can be a successful member of the NYPD and an Orthodox Chasidic Jew at the same time,” Litzman wrote in a March memo to the department, the Daily News reported. “I believe that my love of G-d and my love of the NYPD can coexist.”

The NYPD hired its first Chasidic police officer in 2006 and now has at least two dozen Orthodox Jewish officers, according to the newspaper. 

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