Beard Not a Good Enough Reason to Fire Hasidic Cop

Litzman leaves court at 500 Pearl Street with his daughters (from eft to right; Chaya Muska, 10, Chana, 7, Itasara, 9) and wife Miriam.

story and image from NY Daily News

Fishel Litzman, a cop who was first dismissed from service from the Police Academy in June of 2012 because he did not comply with instructions to trim his beard to the regulation one millimeter in length has since been reinstated. The judge hearing his case ruled that the dismissal was a violation of his religious beliefs and smacked of religious discrimination.

The thirty-nine year old Hasidic cop was dismissed from the Police Academy because he refused to follow orders that instructed him to trim his beard. His contention was that the orders infringed on his religious beliefs which clearly stated that he should not trim his beard. He has since been reinstated and has been assigned to do duty in the Bronx.

In June of 2012, Litzman was fired. At the time he was just one month short of graduating from the Police Academy. His refusal to trim his beard contravened department standards which limited the length of beards to a maximum of one millimeter.

Litzman, who is married and has five children, started working as a paramedic. His job allowed him to earn enough money to support his family. After being fired from the Police Academy he took the Academy to court to get his job back.

Five months later in November of 2012, Judge Harold Baer ruled in his favor saying that Litzman was subjected to religious discrimination. The judge ordered the Policy Academy to reinstate Litzman and asked the city to pay 137000 USD in lawyer fees. According to Litzman’s lawyer, the reinstated cop spent his first day on patrol in the 46th precinct.

Litzman’s lawyer said that the city has filed an appeal against the ruling and added that he was hopeful that the city would drop the appeal. He also went on to say how glad he was that Litzman had been reinstated and was confident that his client would go on to become an exemplary police officer. In the meantime, the City Law Department is currently reviewing all their options.

 

News Alert: Newborn Baby Contracts Herpes after Undergoing Metzitzah B’peh (MBP)

FILE PHOTO ILUSTRATION - A baby sucks on a piece of bandage dipped in wine after his circumcision. Reuters

story and image from VIN News

Recently, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene of New York City alerted the medical community of the city that they had detected a case of neonatal herpes in a newborn child. In January 2014, a newborn baby, who had just undergone a Jewish circumcision ritual called metzitzah b’peh, contracted this disease.

The newborn was born after a full-term pregnancy and then on the eight day of his life he underwent the Metzitzah b’peh ritual. After that, when doctors conducted a medical check on the health of the newborn, they were shocked to find that a rash had broken out on the body of the child.

Doctors then tried (without any success) to treat the condition but were dumbfounded to find that the child was down with HSV-1 or Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1. Doctors collected specimens which they sent to the New York State Wadsworth center Laboratories.  After the tests confirmed that the child had contracted HSV-1, the medical staff at the hospital requested the parents of the child to hospitalize the infant.

This is not the first such case but in fact is the fourteenth instance of metzitzah b’peh related HSV-1 disease. Records show that from 2000 onwards there have been thirteen other such instances and of these two cases resulted in death. There have also been two instances of brain damage.

New York is not a stranger to metzitzah b’peh related diseases and the topic has been hotly debated by New Yorkers and more particularly by the Jewish community of New York. At a news conference on January 16, Mayor Bill de Blasio displayed a real commitment by honoring a campaign promise to work closely with the Jewish community of the city. He, along with community members and religious leaders, want to thrash out a solution that will provide an

Rabbi Yaakov WIlansky, a Long Island Rabbi serves the spiritual and medical needs of his community

Rabbi serves spiritual, medical needs

story and image from the Island Now

Rabbi Yaakov Wilansky, who works with the Chabad of Roslyn is not only working with and mentoring the local orthodox community’s congregants. He also spends his free time dealing with all the many incoming calls which he receives on his cellphone. He is also busy serving his neighbors by working as an emergency medical technician with the Roslyn Rescue Hook and Ladder Fire Company.

Rabbi Wilansky is never too busy to serve his community. His mission is to show his community that it pays to do something extra for the community and for themselves. At the age of 26, Wilansky is keen on becoming a role model and a living example who is able to inspire other people.

Wilansky who hails from Montreal has grown up learning the finer points of first aid and CPR. He was trained at the summer camps he attended and then moved on to work as a counselor. Wilansky hails from a family where the son, grandson and brothers were all rabbis. He found it easy to become a rabbi and has done everything in his power to serve his religion as well as community.

He says that his family was always the first to offer room and help to those who were needy. He says that a rabbi should help people spiritually as well as physically. Rabbi Wilansky completed his primary schooling in Montreal and then moved to New York. After completing his schooling he moved to Israel and then came to Los Angeles to become a rabbinical intern. He became a rabbi in the year 2009 and the following year he began his EMT training course.

Today, he is working with teenagers who have volunteered with the Chabad’s Friendship Circle program to mentor children who have special needs. Currently, he is working on charity work and he is also ready to provide medical help.

In accordance with a sacred obligation, former ‘John Doe’ gets a proper Jewish burial

Jeffrey Gollinger's few remaining possessions. The only possible clue to his identity, other than his name, was a Chanukah guide that he had kept.

image and story from Chabad.org

A journey to perform a funeral took Rabbi Yosef Wolvovsky an hour either way on Jan 10. There were nine people present at the funeral and eight of them had never previously met the dead person. They were there to do a duty which they performed diligently. A week earlier Rabbi Yosef Wolvovsky, co-director of the Chabad Jewish Center of Glastonbury, Conn., received urgent calls and text messages from his colleague Rabbi Levi Schectman. Schectman is a rabbi serving as Chabad on Campus at Wesleyan University which lies just fifteen miles away from Glastonbury. A person had passed away and the matter was urgent, said Rabbi Schectman.

Wolvovsky rang up Schectman to find out more. He was told that a person by the name of Jeffrey Gollinger aged 72 has died in a hospital. Gollinger was suffering from both physical as well as mental handicaps and he also did not have any relatives. The staff at the Twin Maples Health Care Facitity where Gollinger was being treated knew that he was Jewish. Since they did not have any burial instructions, and because they did not know about the whereabouts or name of a rabbi, they were in the process of turning his body over to the state.

However, when the staff checked Gollinger’s possessions they found a Chanukah guide on which they came across a number which they called. This is how they got in touch with Rabbi Yosef Lustig who is the principal of the high school division. The principal however could not recollect knowing Gollinger. He did however make use of the Chabad center locator and found that Rabbi Schectman was the closest rabbi. Upon contacting Schectman the latter got in touch with Rabbi Yosef Wolvovsky, who true to Judaism’s chesed shel emet (true kindness), followed his sacred obligation to provide the deceased with a proper Jewish burial. Gollinger was a met mitzvah.

Shalom Zachor

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