Hasidic police cadet with beard should have followed the rules
A top Manhattan politician slammed the NYPD’s decision to boot a Hasidic recruit from the Police Academy because he would not trim his beard.Honestly, I think he should have followed the requirements, not just because they might need to clearly identify an employee, but also because there could be safety hazards involved, and Stringer is overreacting too.
Fishel Litzman, who was just a month away from joining the force, refused to cut his scraggly fuzz because it would violate his religions beliefs — and was then drummed out of the NYPD.
Saying he was “deeply troubled” by the decision, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer declared Saturday that the NYPD had unfairly canned a deserving candidate.
“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,” said Stringer, “they are also required to make a reasonable accommodation for religious beliefs.” [...]
Litzman, a 38-year-old Lubavitch Hasid, claims he was never given an official reason for his dismissal.
He was cited the first time for his beard on Jan. 27 and was written up again a week later.
Litzman, a father of five, sent a memo in March to the NYPD explaining that he was forbidden to cut or trim his beard in any way.
He scored well on tests and was considered a promising recruit — but his beard was deemed a safety hazard, according to a police source.
The masks recruits wear during counterterrorism training don’t fit over the beard, the source insisted.
The firing was in the works for months and Kelly signed off on the dismissal Thursday, sources said.
The NYPD has two dozen Orthodox Jewish officers on the force. The men, who are permitted to observe the Sabbath and wear yarmulkes under their police caps, are required to keep their beards trimmed.
Furthermore, what if this does lead to Muslims demanding more privileges on a job like this? That's one more reason why it's better not to make demands like that.
And while they may be allowed time off on Shabbat, I hope they're willing to put that aside if there's an emergency where human lives are at stake. Otherwise, they're hardly following the beliefs of Judaism that human safety matters.