Though nervous about his own nose job, which he said he debated at length with his parents and band mates, he went through with it — partly to make himself feel better about a nose he didn’t love, and partly because he didn’t want to change the painstakingly written script for “Jewcan Sam.”
“It’s going to sound kind of crazy,” he said. “But it was easier to get a nose job.”
Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudath Israel, an umbrella organization of Orthodox Jewish groups, has not seen “Jewcan Sam” and doesn’t comment on YouTube videos. But plastic surgery, unless intended to address a severe malformation, does not generally conform to Jewish values, he said.
“The Jewish ideal is to be ‘sameach bichelko,’” he said, using the Hebrew term for “happy with what we have.” ‘’None of us should allow others to make us unhappy about what God has given us, whether it be in terms of income, family, talents — or facial features.”
Salzhauer knows his philosophy on plastic surgery — he performs more than 200 nose jobs a year for a mostly non-Jewish clientele — isn’t the traditional rabbinic one. “But are you Jewish because of your nose?” he asked.
“When you start identifying yourself because of the way you look,” the doctor said, “you’ve lost part of the essence of what a religious creed should be.”
From personal experience, Salzhauer said he’s seen how plastic surgery can change a life, and that’s why he embarked on his next project, which, like “Jewcan Sam,” has ignited a lively debate.
Salzhauer is now offering plastic surgery “scholarships” to single Orthodox Jews looking for a spouse. They’ll need the support of their traditional matchmakers, and parental approval if they’re under 18.
While Salzhauer’s pro bono patients come from a variety of backgrounds, the scholarships are targeting the community he knows best, and women in particular, he said.
“There is a glut of girls,” he said, “and the boys are being very picky.”
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