“I got this beard.”

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This article talks about Steven Chasin, a D.C. firefighter whose take on his Jewish identity is unusual — but, from the tenor of the article, solid enough to risk his job on. “The beard is my way of celebrating and practicing,” he told the Jerusalem Post. “The beard is making up for some of the stuff I don’t do.”

D.C. firefighter Steven Chasin

Tattoos, a Jewish taboo, cover his burly body, while his shaved head goes bare. He doesn’t go to synagogue every Shabbat or keep all the laws of kashrut. He doesn’t even hold what he calls a “Jewish type of job,” like being a doctor or a lawyer.

The article goes on to discuss how the Washington Fire Department is afraid to take responsibility for beards getting in the way of oxygen masks being sealed, and how, along with Chasin, six Muslims and Nazarene Christians are filing suit. But the real value of the article, I think, is how strongly Chasin feels about his beard, and how for him, this beard is the sum representation of his Jewish identity.

I just wish I could find his JDate profile to link to.

Posted on September 23, 2008

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