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The US Coast Guard is changing its regulations to permit auxiliary members to wear religious head coverings, a spokesman for the guard said.
The new rules allow unobtrusive coverings as long as they bear no bright colors, writing, pictures or symbols, Chief Petty Officer Daniel Tremper said Tuesday.
Lawmakers called for the change after state Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn drew attention to the rule in March. The new policy had yet to be formally adopted, but Jack Rosenberg, a Hasidic Jew from Rockland County, was now permitted to wear his skullcap, Tremper said.
The 35-year-old passed his training for the Coast Guard Auxiliary last year, but was told he could not serve without taking off the head covering. The guard's previous rules said religious clothing could not be visible.
The armed forces under the US Defense Department have permitted religious garb since 1987.
"I never considered it a problem," said Rosenberg. "Only a bump in the road."
Auxiliary members are trained to help with non-law enforcement programs such as public education, vessel safety checks and safety patrols.