US Army lets rabbi keep beard

Following legal battle, Rabbi Menachem Stern of Brooklyn to become army chaplain without having to shave off his facial hair 
Itamar Eichner

Rabbi Menachem Stern of Brooklyn has won his legal battle against the US Army and will be able to join the military as a chaplain without having to shave off his beard.



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Rabbi Stern, a graduate of Chabad-Lubavitch yeshivot, received preliminary approval for a reserve commission in the US Army in 2008, but his swearing-in was delayed due to his refusal to resolve the issue of his facial hair.



About a year ago he filed a federal lawsuit with the federal court in Washington, accusing the army of violating his Constitutional rights to religious freedom and equal protection under the law, claiming that the army did exempt Muslim and Sikh from shaving their beards.


He recently reached a settlement with the army and expects to be sworn in on Friday and begin attending chaplain school in January.