Firing of Bearded Hasidic Man From NYPD Academy Ruled Religious Discrimination

Fishel Litzman Was Fired in 2012 for Refusing To Trim Beard

By JTA

Published November 17, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A federal judge ruled that a Hasidic police recruit who said he was fired from the New York Police Department because he would not trim his beard was the victim of religious discrimination.

Fishel Litzman could be reinstated in the coming days, according to the New York Daily News. Federal Judge Harold Baer issued his decision on Friday.

Litzman, 39, who filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit in June 2012 against the New York Police Department, the City of New York, and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to be reinstated to his job, and for damages, was a month away from graduating from the Police Academy when he was dismissed on June 7, 2012.

He reportedly received test scores of 99, 100 and 96 on Police Academy exams, but was cited constantly for failing to maintain his personal appearance. Litzman said it would violate his religious beliefs to trim his beard to the 1 millimeter length allowed by the NYPD.

The judge ordered Litzman’s attorney to file a proposed order in 10 days, Attorney Nathan Lewin said he would file to have Litzman reinstated.

The Law Department of the NYPD told the Daily News: “We respectfully disagree with the court and are considering our options.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.