Judge rules NY hassidic cop can keep beard

“I want people to know that you can follow your dreams and never have to compromise your religion,” man says after win.

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November 18, 2013 22:41
New York Police Department vehicle370

NYPD vehicle370. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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NEW YORK – It was discriminatory to fire an Orthodox New York City police officer over the length of his beard, a federal judge ruled.

Fishel Litzman, a hassid from Monsey, 56 km. northwest of New York City, was dismissed last June, a month before he was set to graduate from the police academy, for refusing to shave his beard down to 1 millimeter in length.

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According to The Jewish Week, Litzman called his dismissal a violation of his religious rights. He filed a suit earlier this year.

According to the NYPD, longer beards inhibit the use of a gas mask in an emergency, but Litzman’s lawyer said this was an “after-the-fact rationalization,” according to the Daily News.

Judge Harold Baer presided over the case and gave the police 10 days to come up with a proposal for moving forward.

“I want people to know that you can follow your dreams and never have to compromise your religion,” Litzman told the Daily News after his win on Friday, saying that this is what makes America great.

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