The Huffington Post website reports today (August 24, 2010) that the U.S. Army is demanding that Hassidic Rabbi Menachem Stern shave his beard if he wants to continue to serve as chaplain; however, the rabbi refuses to shave his beard because of his religious commitments to the commandments of the Torah.
Rabbi Stern, who was a chaplain at Crown Heights, N.Y. and has been in the Army since September 2009, said he was happy in his position -- he called it "a perfect fit" -- but says that the Army is being unreasonable in demanding that he shave his beard.
He showed photos of other rabbis serving in the Army who had beards, but the Army said these rabbis had been "grandfathered in" before a 1986 law.
Meanwhile, Rabbi Stern can no longer preach for the Army unless he shaves his beard. Several politicians -- including U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut -- have written pleas to the Army to allow Rabbi Stern to retain his beard while he serves as chaplain.