Rabbi's Beard Doesn't Make Cut

August 20, 2010

Author: Devlin Barrett

Source: The Wall Street Journal


Rabbi Menachem Stern's stringy brown beard is hardly an unusual sight in his Brooklyn neighborhood. But in trying to become a chaplain in the U.S. Army, Mr. Stern has gotten tangled in a military bureaucracy that has made exceptions for other beards, but not his.

The 28-year-old rabbi was notified last year that he had been accepted as a chaplain in the Army Reserve.

Almost immediately, Army officials contacted him to say the acceptance was a clerical mistake, and that unless he was willing to shave his beard, he couldn't join.