An Orthodox plastic surgeon is receiving flak after offering free nose jobs to young, marriage-minded women. The firestorm comes after Dr. Michael Salzhauer of Miami met similar criticism for a music video he commissioned, depicting a young man’s inability to get girls because of his “Jewcan Sam” nose.
Salzhauer, known in South Florida as Dr. Schnoz, worked on the video with music group The Groggers, which describes itself as an Orthodox Jewish pop-punk band. The group wrote and filmed a single about the plight of a lovelorn high schooler, whose object of affection will only date him if he gets his nose “circumcised.” Salzhauer appears in the video as a phantom doctor trying to lure the young man into his surgery room.
L.E. Doug Staiman, lead singer for the band, actually received a free nose job for his troubles, and portrayed the main character in the video as well. The music video was posted to YouTube in February and has already received more than 100,000 views.
The effort was panned by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, who called it “inappropriate and offensive” in a March statement. The Anti-Defamation League also spoke out about the video, with Florida director Andrew Rosenkrantz calling it “hurtful.”
"For hundreds of years Jews have been depicted negatively with distorted features, including large hooked noses," Rosenkranz said. "It's a physical trait that is associated with the image of the Jew as someone who doesn't belong, someone who is alien."
Now, Dr. Salzhauer has upped the ante, with a promise to offer free nose jobs to Orthodox women looking to find a husband. Salzhaur said the pro bono surgeries will go to young women working with a matchmaker, telling the Huffington Post that it’s a sort of “scholarship for plastic surgery.”
The move has garnered an ethics investigation by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. But Salzhauer argues he is fulfilling a need for shidduchim, an ultra Orthodox tradition of arranging marriages via parent and matchmaker selection. He cited a March article from the Jewish Press, in which Yitta Halberstam Mandelbaum wrote an impassioned plea for mothers to ensure their daughters are as attractive as possible, even suggesting surgery, in order to secure the best match.
"I have personally seen people in the Orthodox community who have trouble getting a match,” he said. “And then after rhinoplasty or chin implant or whatever it takes, I see them out and they've blossomed. They're engaged or married."