Jewish Chaplain Gets Waiver for Beard
Rabbi Menachem Stern previously sued the US Army for accepting him as a chaplain candidate — and then unaccepting him when they realized he intended to keep his beard.
The Aleph Institute, a Chabad-Lubavitch organization that assists Jewish military personnel, Jewish inmates and their families, and Sens. Charles E. Schumer, Kristen Gillibrand and Joseph Lieberman sought to persuade top brass that the rabbi should be able to keep his beard.
As have many others, they cited Chaplain Goldstein as one reason Stern should also be permitted to serve:
They cited the case of Col. Jacob Goldstein, a bearded Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi and Army Reserve chaplain who has served with distinction in the reserves and National Guard on numerous international combat missions over the past 33 years.
Though the settlement has been reported at many sites, none as yet have the terms of the settlement. If it is a simple exemption similar to that which allows Chaplain Goldstein to wear his beard (or the various Sikhs who have recently enlisted), little may have changed.
If the military made greater concessions, however, it may open the door for larger numbers of religious adherents with non-uniform dress standards to enter the US military.