Wednesday, February 13, 2008

'The beard is off-limits'

Young Orthodox Jews, especially those who keep a long beard, always seem older than their age, sometimes wiser too. The Concord Monitor last week ran a profile of one of these younger-than-he-seems men, 24-year-old Jason Bedrick (not pictured), who in 2006 became the first Orthodox Jew elected to the New Hampshire State House.
When Jason Bedrick was considering a run for state representative, an incumbent legislator encouraged him to shave his beard. Bedrick refused.

"I said the beard is off-limits, and that's not the half of it," Bedrick said.

Bedrick, an Orthodox Jew, said he wouldn't enter churches. He wouldn't campaign at the transfer station on Saturdays. And he wouldn't shake hands with women. His friend said he didn't know how Bedrick could win.

"To not shake hands with half your constituents, that qualifies me as a disabled politician," Bedrick said.

When I first started growing a beard -- for play not piety -- a friend warned me that you can never trust a man with facial hair. I don't know how Bedrick overcame the odds, but I'd vote for a man who doesn't own a razor.

Coincidentally, I stumbled across a Website last night for BeardFest 2007, one of the most manly undertakings I've seen in a long time. The participants included a few of my high school friends.

(Photo: World Beard and Moustache Championships; Hat tip: GetReligion)

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