Hasidic NYPD Recruit Fired Over Beard
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A Hasidic recruit at the Police Academy had his dream of becoming a city cop dashed Friday — by the fuzz.
Fishel Litzman, who was just a month away from receiving his shield, got the boot after he refused to trim his scraggly beard, insisting it would violate his religious beliefs.
“I always wanted to be a police officer,” a disappointed Litzman said, as he played with two of his five kids outside his home in Monsey, N.Y. “This was unfortunate.”
Then, a bit sadly, he added, “I’m a newly minted civilian.”
Litzman, a 38-year-old Hasid, said the NYPD did not state a reason on his dismissal papers.
“They didn’t give me anything,” he said. “I don’t understand what the problem would be.”
Litzman’s lawyer said the problem is religious discrimination.
“They knew from when he took the exam and applied that he would not trim his beard,” said Nathan Lewin, a legal heavyweight who has fought and won beard battles on behalf of observant Jews with the Army and Air Force.
“He said from the outset it was a matter of religious observance. He never made a secret of it.”
The NYPD’s chief spokesman insisted they made every attempt to accommodate Litzman.
‘The NYPD makes reasonable accommodations in this regard, permitting beards for religious purposes to be kept to 1 (millimeter) in length,’ said Paul Browne. ‘This was explained to the recruit in the Police Academy.’