MembersThe IDF Battle Over Beards That Groomed a Band of Buddies

With or without a beard, we were eventually welded together as a team, and came to lean on one another as brothers

By Elad Schneider | | Topics: IDF, Jewish State
Only religious Jews are permitted to keep their beard while serving in the IDF.
Only religious Jews are permitted to keep their beard while serving in the IDF. Photo: Flash90

Religious Jews who wear a kippah and observe the Jewish traditions are generally allowed to wear a beard during their military service in the IDF. But for non-religious Israeli soldiers, beards are not allowed.

Usually this would not be a big deal, but beards are now trendy in Israel’s young society, and when only those donning a kippah are allowed to grow one, and the soldiers are told “no kippah, no beard,” it caused some hairs to stand on end.

To clarify, us non-religious soldiers must appear freshly shaven before our commanders every morning for inspection. Pious Jews don’t need to shave, and when you serve in a fighting unit like I do, most of the time it’s with cold water and no mirror! There are some exceptions, but without some kind of official medical release, we shave.

My two oldest brothers wore beards in the army for two terms on the unique grounds that this is a tradition in the Schneider family. Our grandfather Ludwig, and my father Aviel, both...

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