Photo Credit: Screen shot
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Yitta, a woman is not just beautiful because of her body. Want me to prove it? Who are the women who have achieved longevity in the popular culture? It’s women like Barbara Streisand and Meryl Streep who were never considered to be bombshell beauties. But their electrifying personalities and undeniable talent meant that people retained a longer interest in them than the average Playboy bunny without a brain.

Yitta complains that she attended an evening designed to introduce  hundreds of young women and prospective brides to the mothers of boys who might date them. The girls arrived without makeup. Yitta was shocked. Shocked! How dare they arrive without their faces painted? Don’t they know they have to make an impression?


Well, aside from the dubious practice of having girls sell themselves to prospective mothers-in-law – which has got to be one of the strangest things I have ever read, even in the already super-weird world of Shidduchim in which so many of our children already suffer (after all, is any girl out there really interested in a Momma’s boy who delegates to his mother the responsibility for choosing him a bride?) – there is the simple consideration that perhaps the young women felt relieved that they were actually going to meet creatures with greater depth than some shallow guy. In attending a shidduch event where they would meet Moms, rather than immature men, perhaps they felt relieved that they could actually be themselves. Maybe, just this once, they would be looked on as a man’s equal, someone who is judged by how much she has developed her intelligence and emotions, rather than bust size, cheek bones, and leg length.

Alas, it was not to be. Even the women, even the mothers, have had their ideals corrupted. And if these are the values with which orthodox Jewish mothers are today raising their sons, then it’s no surprise why their sons are so shallow, immature, and lost.

God help us all.


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Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, "America's Rabbi," whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international bestselling author of 30 books including his most recent “The Israel Warrior.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.


  1. Rabbi Boteach criticizes the author for advocating plastic surgery to improve a woman’s appearance. He then talks about anorexia. Rabbi Boteach mixes apples and oranges. One is a mental issue the other is physical. Removing blemishes, straightening a nose, fixing a chin to make a girl or boy look more attractive in order to get a Shidduch is no sin.

  2. Ok, I promised I wouldn’t do this, but are you truly, sincerely saying that Shmuel Boteach is off base with this article? He never says that girls shouldn’t do what they want to do surgically. He is saying it should not be forced upon them; it should not be a prerequisite to marriage. If a women wants to go in to debt to chase beauty and a man wants to marry his job to make millions that is thier choice. No one male or female should have to kill themselves to get married. In less extreme terms, if minor modifications make you feel better about yourself or if having a successful career is important to you, go for it! Good news, they don’t have to bec. all of these generalizations are untrue in real life. I know tons of people are happily married who are neither perfect barbies or Donald Trump. However, blaming the shidduch crisis on a lack of female beauty in the frum community is INSANE, DANGEROUS and simply NOT FRUM!

  3. I keep saying that Yitta was taken out of context. She is not advocating a check-list of surgical procedures that “need” to be done on every frum high school graduate. She is talking about more serious appearance situations. Such a disclaimer would have been helpful. It would be great if boys could be educated to reject the notion that women had to be perfect beauties. Possibly Yitta did us all a favor because she alerted us that something needs to change. Those who are getting angry could at least give her the credit for bringing the subject to everyone’s attention, even if her suggestions are not the solution to the problem.

  4. Wow! It's about time someone said this, and eloquently as well…only to his two item list of Barbara and Meryl, I would have to add Golda Meir, Chana Szenes, Henrietta Sald, and by no means least Sarah Schenirer, none of who relied on plastic surgery. To all you men out there, all I have to say is "Man up…" if you know what I mean, which you probably don't.

  5. Wow! It's about time someone said this, and eloquently as well…only to his two item list of Barbara and Meryl, I would have to add Golda Meir, Chana Szenes, Henrietta Sald, and by no means least Sarah Schenirer, none of whom relied on plastic surgery. To all you men out there, all I have to say is "Man up…" if you know what I mean, which you probably don't! It is all about standards. Are you looking at Hefner Standards, or Torah Standard? A Woman of Valor looks well to the ways of her household, and her husband praises and values her for these things. And by the way…you're not so great to look at yourself ;-).

  6. Shmuel Boteach has ideas that are way off base. He has outlandish generalities about marriage and sex. He called the Pope"Your Holiness". If a girl doesn't feel good about herself and wants to have some surgery done and the parents can afford it, why not? I had a friend who had a big nose and was self-conscious. When she was 16, she had a nose job and was VERY happy!

  7. Lynn, PLEASE quit defending Yitta for writing the harmful article that she wrote. As I recall from your comments last week you seem to enjoy your ‘job’ as a mother of sons who gets to choose her future daughters-in-law (since you explained that it is your right to do so) & you get to decide what type of girls your son should get to go out with based on various qualities with looks being among the top priorities. And YES you are right that something NEEDS to change & that is the attitudes of mothers who believe that they have the right to determine who their sons get to date primarily based on their looks.

  8. I constantly wonder if my morals are completely in sync with Rabbi Boteach's or if he's such a powerful writer/speaker that I can't help but agree with him? (This time I'm quite confident it's the former.)

  9. An additional point to add would be the Halachic aspect of cosmetic surgery, being as the article did appear in an Orthodox newspaper.
    When a patient is under general anesthesia, they are in an inherently dangerous position. One is considered a "Choleh Sh'Yesh Lo Sakana" – we would be able to violate Shabbos for a person in that state.
    It is prohibited for a person to create an instance where they are in the state of danger. In fact, the only "Heter' that we have to drive a car on the highway – an act fraught with danger – is called "Orcha D'Arra" – "The way of the land" – In other words, the norm.
    In fact, Chazal discuss the fact that without this Heter, it would technically be forbidden for women to become pregnant, since there is a danger to that! However, since the world can't continue without procreation, and it is "the way of the land" it is allowed. However, once an action is removed from the norm, it becomes a complicated issue.
    Normal people get surgery for health reasons. Normal people do get surgery to fix major blemishes, for example a breast cancer survivor after a mastectomy, or a woman whose nose is completely twisted. Normal people don't get nose jobs if their noses are less than perfect.
    Rabbi Rudinsky, a well know Posek in Monsey has mentioned numerous times that each and every case of cosmetic surgery needs to be carefully discussed with your Halachic authority. If you won't violate Shabbos, if you keep Kosher, this is just as important.
    He did say that to correct a blemish, it is easier for a woman to get a Heter to have the corrective surgery than a man. That is because the norms in our society dictate it. So, if one has an issue with their appearances, go to a Rabbi for a ruling, not Ms. Halberstam.
    You might just get that Halachic dispensation you would need to be allowed to fix a crooked nose.
    However, the wholesale endorsement of the surgeries, as well as the attitude behind them – is completely unorthodox, and antithetical to both Halacha and to what our values should be.

  10. I never said that I enjoyed my role of choosing girls based on looks. I did say that my children shidduch date which means that I am involved in the process. I did say that physical appearance isn’t something that my sons can totally ignore. I did say that it is normal for men to be attracted to attractive women and that I see nothing wrong with using make-up to become attractive. Truth be told, most mothers get exasperated when their sons are too picky in the looks department and that is the way that I feel as well. I think that many mothers are afraid that girls who don’t care about how they look in the shidduch parsha will let themselves go after marriage. Men have to be supportive of their wives no matter what but I think it is hard for a man to be married to a woman who just does not try at all.
    Basically the whole shidduch system would have to go if mothers are the problem and I don’t see it disappearing any time soon.

  11. The question that I have regarding surgery is that rabbonim now allow people to donate kidneys and the donor gets no physical benefit whatsoever. The donor undergoes surgical risk as well as the fact that he slightly reduce his kidney output, which probably won’t affect his health. There are also women who can only give birth if they undergo c-sections, yet many women in the frum community give birth to large families via c-section. Birth by c-section has become somewhat of a norm.
    If all of this is allowed by halacha, then why would a woman who feels psychological stress about her appearance not be allowed to undergo surgery, if she had a heter from a competent rav? Breast reconstruction in cancer survivors, which you mentioned, also has risks and some types of reconstruction have numerous risks and may require numerous surgical procedures, yet rabbonim allow it for obvious reasons.

  12. i read this article and the original..there is definitely a happy medium between the one is so spiritual as to overlook beauty, however "she had a nose job….gastric bypass …botox injections….her teeth were capped…..and she wears violet-blue contact lenses" is a bit too far. poor guy who married her…

  13. Boteach such an art of misdirections, and such PC narishkeit from most of commenters.
    1. our davenning is terrible, our derech eretz worse, and our smug halacha is that each generation is less than the previous. so what hypocrisy to expect better from the ‘boys’
    2. not every girl should need plastic surgery, but it should be a last resort. 3. despite boteach’s deliberate misdirection, TOA doesnt suggest surgery without the girl’s consent – and desire. Of course he doesn’t see that he is debilitating the ‘rights’ and ‘honor’ of these girls in depriving them of the free will our Creator gave them – with the consent of their parents.
    Some otherwise quality young men may not be able to get past a severe or significant unusualness. Is this some kind of G-dly “test’ the girl must endure? Says who??
    There was a recent article about the longest facial plastic surgery ever (36 hours?) The man had his face shot off some 15 years ago. B”H the ability to help him is here.
    Good shabbos and Chag Kasher V’Sameach, Dear Readers

  14. Lynn, if I had the time now, I would look for your comments defending Yitta from last week & cut & paste here to remind you of what you said about the boys’ mother’s role in choosing her “successor” etc, etc, but quite frankly I don’t feel the need to do that b/c it would be too time consuming to do right now with Pesach around the corner.

  15. Thank you for a good and strong response to Yitta Halberstam's shallow and irresponsible article. Rabbi Boteach's article is in line with Jewish values, as opposed to Halberstam's misguided attempts to reference Esther and the Purim story to "prove" her thesis. Halberstam should issue a retraction of her dangerous suggestions (surgery, botox, etc.) before anyone is harmed by them.

  16. I was talking about the mother-in-law, daughter-in-law relationship which develops regarding our current shidduch system. The mother is in the driver’s seat, like it or not and whether she should be or shouldn’t be there. I also said that if people were free to meet at Shabbos tables, it would level the playing field. I also said that if my son met someone without my help, I would fully welcome her so please don’t take my comments out of context.

  17. also, I am defending Yitta. I believe that people skipped over the parts of her article where she decries that tyranny of beauty and they are focusing on her endorsement of plastic surgery which she herself had. She had used some examples of how beauty is regarded in Judaism and some of the sources were not as accurate as some could have been but the gist of it was that it is not a sin to improve one’s looks in regard to finding a shidduch (or keeping a spouse’s attraction). But yes, I am defending her because she did not intend for her statements to be misconstrued this way.

  18. "In attending a shidduch event where they would meet Moms, rather than immature men, perhaps they felt relieved that they could actually be themselves. Maybe, just this once, they would be looked on as a man’s equal, someone who is judged by how much she has developed her intelligence and emotions, rather than bust size, cheek bones, and leg length."
    Amen to that too. Since I read the article I was screaming about that. This meeting was – or should have been – ALL about character, and NOTHING to do with looks, since only one person – the boy himself – will ever know what arouses him.

  19. The article made me so sad. And mad!!!!!! I got married at 37. Safe to say, I paid my dues. I married a man who thank God, was able to see me as a whole person. And I him. I can't stand the message this misguided woman is promoting. And a Halbershtam yet! Everyone I know (well the girls at least) puts their best foot forward on a date, without the need for cosmetic surgery. I just wish the whole damn thing was more fair and just. I'm mad!!!!!

  20. I am a mother of 8 individuals, 5 young ladies who are intelligent, kind and competent, who desire to form a relationship with a mutually aware, responsible, loving partner with whom to build a torah filled home. I also mother 3 worthy, smart, confident young men who will seek reliable, like-minded, able mates with whom to build a torah filled home. BEAUTY is in the eye of the beholder..all of my children will , G-D, willing, marry beautiful people, whose spirits will carry them and lift them, together to a higher understanding of their purpose and fulfillment in life. Every person was created "B'Tzelem Elokim", to suggest that anyone is less than perfect is positievly sacreligious. Where has our nation gone? Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rivkah, Yaakov and Rochel, Leah, Rabbi Akiva, every single Gadol Hador…….What is our nation thinking?

  21. YES. When I read Halberstam's article I had to wonder if it was that there was a shortage of men in the Shidduch world. Last time I checked the ratio was close to 1:1, so why should the girls have to transform themselves just to have a chance of getting a man!

  22. While I agree with Boteach here (generally not a fan), this was low hanging fruit – no one agreed with the original article, so he's not being very radical here.

  23. While I agree with Boteach here (generally not a fan), this was low hanging fruit – no one agreed with the original article, so he's not being very radical here.

  24. Chavi Swidler Eisenberg sure. I mean, Yitta is wrong in (almost) every sense, and Shmuely is right in every sense, but I dont understand why people keep posting this stuff on facebook. It's starting to bore me. Yes, we get the point. Move on.

  25. Chavi Swidler Eisenberg sure. I mean, Yitta is wrong in (almost) every sense, and Shmuely is right in every sense, but still…attnetion seeking (I think everything Shmuley wrote is obvious, but Im glad he could, uhm, make his stance.

  26. Rivkah Fischman Weiss , this was one thing I was wondering. Say you had listened to her advice, and had surgeries that turned you into a Cindy Crawford lookalike. What does she think would have happened? How would your life be better? Would you have met your husband any earlier in life? I doubt it, since whatever circumstances that brought you two together weren't in place yet. Would you have married someone else? Perhaps, she might say, one of the guys you went out with who decided to stop seeing you may have given you more thought if your body is different. Is that a good thing?
    How would you have benefited?

  27. I wouldn't dare go toe-to-toe with Shmuley Boteach in polemics. He is usually a practical level headed guy with good real world solutions to complicated problems. The author of "Kosher Sex" is suddenly offended by the popular culture inching its way into Yiddishkeit. Puhhleease.
    He is way off base here on many levels. Looks count in picking a prospective mate. Always have and always will. Wasn't Moshe's wife Tzipporah one of the most beautiful women on earth. Rachel was chosen over Leah because of her beauty. Yosef was called the most handsome man alive. Why would the Torah mention it if it didn't matter?

    It's not the only thing that matters, but it is part of the equation. If its something that can be safely enhanced…why not? Would you withhold orthodontic care (braces) from your six beautiful daughters if they needed it….as they cried themselves to sleep with crooked teeth?

    All Yitta said was, "put some makeup on…brush your hair…and yes, straighten a crooked nose if you need to." She was speaking from the heart and from her own personal experience. Where is yours?

    Your outrage is misplaced, misguided and hypocritical.

    Call me…maybe.

  28. Chaim Saperstein; conversely, what if the guy who needed a Cindy type had a magnanimous few months and decided to marry me despite my lack of supermodel status. Once we were married, I would have learned pretty quickly what his true values were and paid for it the rest of my life. You are right in that things worked out with my husband because the timing in our lives was right. This article makes women believe that they will not have their chance without drastic beautification measures. I am proof positive that it's not true and it is devastating and harmful advice.

  29. Also, I think Boteach is being disingenuous here – Halberstam's suggestions were reprehensible, and a very sad commentary on the "shidduch" system, but to be fair, she mentioned nose jobs. She didn't even imply chest implants. Yet Boteach, who seems to love connecting everything with sex, drags that subject in.

  30. Let's see if I understand this correctly.

    Yitta decides who her son will be able to meet and date. She is the one who decides that certain women are not suitable for her son because they don't wear enough makeup or need surgery such as a nose job.

    After she has rejected these women – and won't let her son meet them and decide for himself – she blames men for being shallow.

    And Boteach responds to Yitta by stating that men in Yitta's peculiar society are superficial. How does Boteach know this if women these men might find attractive never get to meet them because of the mother-dragon guarding the gate and preventing anyone from taking away their baby?

    Men in this strange community do need to be more mature: They need to be able to tell their mothers to get out of the way so they can meet women that they may be interested in.

  31. Shmuley:

    FYI: One of the beautiful things about our Torah is that it is realistic and doesn't sugar coat the human condition into some PC view of life. King Solomon had 1,000 beautiful wives. King David was physically attracted to Bat Sheva. These are tzaddikim whom G-d chose personally. Are you telling us that things that they valued are irrelevant…and that you are personally beyond such superficialities.

  32. I’ll repeat this again… I think one of the big problems is that the mommies are going on dates with these girls in order to decide which ones should go out with their precious little boys. Perhaps the young men and the young women should go out with eachother and leave mommy out of it. It’s time to grow up kids… If you’re old enough to get married, then you’re old enough to date all by your little self. It’s also time to stop researching everything about eachother & interviewing 3rd parties – go on a simple date and make a decision.

  33. in my humble opinion boteach is an idiot if he thinks learning torah will make a person stop caring about physical beauty. scripture is FILLED with references to the physical appearances of our matriarchs/heroins. that having been said, before we jump to plastic surgery maybe we should talk about getting into decent shape. most boys will find a girl attractive if she looks reasonably well put together and in good shape. granted, there are some people who do require surgery! if a person has a feature that stands out as "ugly", sure, get it fixed, why not? but i see a far easier way to get these people dates: LAY OFF THE (second bowl of ) CHOLENT!

  34. Rivkah Fischman Weiss 100% correct.
    I am all for doing your best – within reason, whatever is normal. The article makes it seem that women must do "heroic measures" in order to get their spouse. It makes "getting as many dates as possible" be synonymous with "finding the right person".
    The supermodel may get more dates, however it is very hard to believe that they will find their spouse quicker.
    So, perhaps if your goal was to go on a date every night of the week, maybe the answer is to become a supermodel. If the goal is to find your spouse, then be who you are. You will be happier that way. (as you found out)

  35. Sarah was hidden from Pharoah because he was a pig and would take her against her will. How is that an example of how we should raise our own kids?

  36. Michael, how many wives do you reckon Solomon would have had if his mother had first interviewed them and only allowed those who she considered good enough for her son (who, as she informed everyone, was a king) to actually even meet him?

  37. Mr. Salzhauer, i think you missed the point, and your examples of people in chumash that were singled out for their beauty are faulty.
    yes their physical beauty was bar none but you can also say the same thing for their inner beauty(middos) which are mentioned in the gemara and meforshim( which if you would like i can find for you, i dont have the maarei mkomos at hand)
    and with yosef- being the most beautiful man in the world wasnt really such a good thing- IE see eishes potifar medrash, it was a very hard test that in order for him to pass he needed to see an apparition of yitzchak's face.
    I feel that the main point of the article was not to say that women shouldnt try to make themselves look good, that is just illogical, but i feel his main point was that they should not mainly be judged on the outer beauty( yes it is a factor- ayain chovos halivavos) but inner beauty, hence the the title and accusation of us men growing up and not being so shallow
    and about speaking from the heart- do you know anyone who has or is suffering from anorexia/ bulimia? it is a horrible disease that the shidduch scene is not helping.
    while you may have issues with Boteach's political aspirations or his other ventures, when it comes to relationships between men and women and marriage especially in the orthodox community, he is very attuned to the sensitive issues and how to somewhat deal with them.

  38. There's absolutely nothing wrong with putting on some makeup and brushing your hair. But surgery is just unnecessary – not least because if everyone has surgery, they'll all look the same and where does that leave the guy? Liking every woman equally – because they all look the same, since he's incapable of judging based on personality, values or anything else of substance? I completely agree that women should make an effort with their physical appearance, because, as you said, beauty is and always will be important. But it is not necessary to go to the lengths of surgery in order to achieve some superficial, airbrushed-version of beauty.

  39. That article made me sick! And anyone who is marrying someone only for their size is in for a divorce shortly down the road. IF she really thinks people should be having gastric bypass so they can get married, then Im sorry, but there is something seriously wrong here. ASide from the fact that many people who have it wind up jsut as heavy if not more so a few years down the line becasue they have serious eating disorders, the whole idea of it is really sickening. I wonder if Mrs halberstam was simply drunk when she wrote this dispicable article.

  40. Michael Salzhauer Nobody is saying looks aren't important. Nobody is saying that there is anything wrong with makeup. There is something very wrong with a woman who is SHOCKED by the fact that overweight girls exist, and (gasp!) have the audacity to want to get married!! And, even worse, they made the mistake that meeting a MOTHER is all about character and about who they are.
    The fact that she thinks that she knows what "look" would get her son all hot over is creepy, at best.
    The meeting should have been all about character, not about looks. Let the kids figure that out for themselves.

  41. Rivka, sadly Yitta confirmed in her response to last week’s Jewish press letters regarding the original article that it was NOT satire at all (not that I thought it was for even a minute) but in case there was any doubt about it there should not be. She wrote the article with what she felt were good intentions but thankfully many in the community disagree with her message (which she kind of predicted would happen anyhow in the original article).
    In any case, Mazal tov on your marriage & so glad for you that you found your bashert & you didn’t need to waste money on unnecessary surgeries to achieve that goal! I should add though that if someone REALLY needs a nose job b/c they cannot bear to look at themselves in the mirror, than kol hakavod let them go for it (if they can afford it or if the kind doctor on this thread is willing to do it for them pro bono) but the problem is when people who are basically happy with their noses feel pressured by others to have surgery in order to find a shidduch THAT is not right!!

  42. It is a travesty that certain quarters within Modern Orthodox society have become so materialistic and superficial that they would be receptive to the idea of plastic surgery as the remedy for young Jewish women struggling to find their basherte / zivug. Yitta Halberstam's suggestion plays right into the utterly shallow notion that looks are everything. As a young man who himself has been struggling to get married for many years, I now see that materialism seems to be the root of the Modern Orthodox Jewish singles crisis not just in New York, but across the world. I've heard many stories of women who themselves seem to be shallow and materialistic; if they come across a guy who doesn't LOOK like a potential match for them, i.e., doesn't look cool, etc.they won't even stop to talk to get to know him better. Although I've read that women have a knack for sizing up men just by looking at them, I think much of their reactions towards men can be traced to the SAME SICKNESS IN VALUES that UNDERLIES Yitta Halberstam's disgusting suggestion – that looks are EVERYTHING, and that the SOLE REMEDY is to change them. This regrettable attitude only serves to objectify women as worthy only of sex, and socializes BOTH men and women into using appearance as their primary criterion for marriage. Women get the worst of this type of thinking, as Rabbi Boteach noted, since they are the most susceptible to anorexia, which is a devastating psychological disorder that often kills those afflicted with it.

    I'm not suggesting that men and women ignore appearance in their search for a mate. IT IS definitely important. But that cannot be the be all and end all of marriage. Marriage must be based on shared values, shared goals, psychological compatibility, and good middot. A potential spouse with all of these attributes and B level looks is FAR MORE APPEALING than a potential spouse with A+ looks. IF looks are all that matters, one might as well put a poster up in one's room to look at instead.

    Ms. Halberstam, I realize that you had good intentions in writing your article. But, as they say, the road to h__ll is paved with good intentions. Plastic surgery should be used ONLY in extreme situations for people of either gender – not on a regular basis. Men and women have been meeting and getting married in the Jewish world for thousands of years. It's absurd to suggest that after all this time, plastic surgery, which was never used until recently, is now somehow necessary. WHAT'S NECESSARY IS A CHANGE IN OUR VALUES THAT VIGOROUSLY PROMOTES THE ADMONITION: "DO NOT JUDGE A BOOK BY IT'S COVER," INSTEAD OF PAYING LIP SERVICE TO IT.

  43. Dear Yitta, (writer of the article suggesting plastic surgery)…Here is some SURPRISING NEWS for you! Those children that are born to the "swans" who have undergone surgery will have the large noses and ear that stick out and everything else that their Mommy had BEFORE surgery. Those poor unsuspecting husbands! Should they sue for.
    deception? Of course I am being sarcastic…I am a full blooded Jewish comic with all my original body parts and a husband who thinks I'm gorgeous EVEN with the little droop at the end of my nose!

  44. Dear Mr. Salzhauer

    Agreed. Makeup is important.

    Plastic surgery is not. Where is the appreciation of natural beauty? I have many friends, many of which do not have 'perfect' noses. And their noses are beautiful! It adds character, personality and uniqueness to their faces.

    You offered to give free plastic surgery to girls who need it and can't afford it. I admire you're generosity and concern, but I have to say that I looked at the before and after pictures on your website and I think that most people looked nicer with their natural noses from before the surgery – not because the surgery was not good (I'm sure you're a very skilled surgeon), but because their faces lost a lot of the character after the surgery – all of their noses looked more or less the same, which I found really sad. If they found that their new noses looked nicer, that's good for them and they're entitled to do what they want, but what bothers me is that todays society influences people to think that 'perfect' noses are nicer – why can't people be happy with their natural look? Now don't get me wrong, in extreme cases where the person feels like it's ruining their life, they may need it. But in most of the 'before' pictures on your website, they looked perfectly good with their natural noses!

    People are entitled to do what they want, but encouraging people to get plastic surgery is wrong on many levels. Does this mean it's better to be man-made than G-d-made?



  45. I read with utter dismay Yitta Halberstam's "Purim and the Tyranny of.
    Beauty". I would like to think she wrote the letter in haste not.
    thinking of the pain she would cause by its content. There are
    hundreds of singles girls that work during the day, go to college at.
    night and still find time to do chessed. They are presentable, kind.
    and many things in between. However, if they are not a raving beauty.
    and a size 2 their chances of getting a date are slim. The boys saying.
    no to them can be jobless, sleep late, dress like a slob but they.
    still have the upper hand. To get the "great guy" (usually not either.
    deserving of the girl)the girl needs, the looks, money and yichus to.
    possibly score a date. Does this author understand the amount of girls.
    that have died of anorexia, bulima, suicide, on the operating table.
    etc because they were unhappy with their image. Do these same girls.
    need to starve themselves during pregnancy to stay beautiful for their.
    husbands? Do they have to worry their whole lives if they can have a.
    second piece of challah at the shabbos table? Many boys today wont go.
    out without a picture, and a 2 hour analyzation of the girls facebook.
    picture! Anyone that is married will tell you that a persons.
    character is ultimately what effects the marriage. The beautiful wife.
    that yells at her husband as he walks through the door, is no longer.
    beautiful in his eyes no matter how physically beautiful she is. The
    woman that is loving and caring and sets up a warm, inviting home.
    becomes increasingly attractive.I know countless girls that go to.
    sleep crying at night. Girls that would make unbelievable wives and.
    mothers. Sadly, they are not good enough for the boys that are taught.
    to put physical beauty above all else. My children are still young but.
    I often bring them to nursing homes, special needs homes and parks.
    where they encounter people of every denomination. I pray that they.
    grow up knowing that ultimately its anothers inside that counts most.
    Several years ago I decided to get into "shidduchim" to help the.
    countless single girls in my community. I started off so confidently.
    and excitedly. My bubble was quickly deflated by those (unfortunately.
    too many) people that have Mrs Halberstams same view points. I'm am
    saddened to say that I am minimally involved in shidduchim today.
    However, there are two rules that I have for when I do work on.
    shidduchim 1. I will not work with a boy that wants a "barbie doll" I.
    will not degrade my dignity or the dignity of the incredible girls.
    that I know. 2. I will never exchange pictures. Every person is much.
    more then what can be revealed in a picture. If everything sounds.
    right and you get a basic picture from talking to reference. A date is.
    the best way to meet the whole person. I hope others will follow my.
    lead in these two areas, as to not further pain the girls that may not.
    be "picture perfect"..

  46. Dr. Salzhauer, if I remember correctly, Rashi comments that Avraham did not fully realize Sarah's beauty until they arrived in Egypt due to the modesty of both of them. What we can learn from this is that Avraham was drawn to her for her inner beauty so much that her physical beauty was not the main focus of the relationship. Not to say that attraction isnt important but it through modesty that helps us focus more attentively on the personal qualities that we admire in a mate. This, I believe, is what is the make up of a real marriage.

    And another thing is that you can also argue that Vashti was also pretty. So was Batsheva, who David is rebuked by Nosson Hanavi having an improper relationship with her (L'Havdil, not that Batsheva can be compared to Achashveirosh's evil first wife but hopefully you get my drift). And though Tzipporah was considered beautiful, Moshe was still required to separate from her because he had to be in constant communication with Hashem.

    The point is that beauty seems to be mentioned in the Tanach as a fact, not whether or not it is something to be strived for. It is a quality than can be a blessing but it can also be a distraction from what is real.

  47. i had a much bigger issue with the mommies collecting girls "resume" then encourging girls to be more presentable. she used herself as an example, so i'm not sure what all the outrage is about when she encouraged girls to 'sex' :))))) it up a wee bit. the truth is, i really don't think that's the issue. girls aren't single because they aren't pretty enough, their single bec. the system is messed up.

  48. Chaim Saperstein— Yitta was very well intentioned and trying honestly to help out the girls. Why do you imply that it has to be one or the other…character OR beauty…as if they were incompatible traits. They are both important when picking a spouse. She never said the girls had poor character or wouldn't make good wives. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder….but studies show that people tend to rank the attractiveness of stangers pretty consistently when shown pictures of men and women. I don't think its creepy that Yitta would know what an attractive girl looks like…it is simple common sense; something that tends to get thrown out the window when the subject of plastic surgery is raised.

  49. The entire Jewish community should thank you for speaking out about a problem that has become ubiquitous across all sectors of the Jewish community. It would be wonderful if you or someone who works for you went to speak at Jewish youth groups or colleges. You have no idea how much you could help our youth. You have addressed a serious problem and we are all very proud of you.

  50. Debi…and if the kids have crooked teeth that aren't perfect like mommy and daddy's (since mommy and daddy had braces when they were 12) would that also be deception? You know what…maybe skip penicillin and immunizations too since my grandfather didn't need them when he was a boy. Medicine is about progress. I understand that peope are attached to "their hometown, their baseball team, their college" etc. but just because its YOUR nose doesn't automatically make it "the bestest ever."

  51. Maybe, but it seemed clear to me from Halberstam's "plea" that all types of surgical procedures were implied. And sadly, I saw and conversed with many who defended the original article.

  52. Nelda Bibb—-So do crooked teeth…but you wouldn't hold braces back from your children. You also have to immunize your children against disease each generation…you wouldn't say "what's the point" their kids will also need to get shots to stay healthy.

  53. Anne Guetta You are of course entitled to your opinion. However in the interest of fairness, could you please be specific and tell me which of the 82 patients (they are numbered on the gallery portion of the website you thinked looked better before rather than after? Also, no two of the noses look alike. I take particular pride in not leaving a "cookie-cutter" appearance to my noses and try to match the nose the face while retaining the essential character of the person.

    Finally, it always better to have G-d made beauty. I can never match the perfection of someone born with a naturally spectacular nose. However, modern medicine is about helping each other live healthier, happier and better lives. That's what I try to do each day. I had a rhinoplasty myself…so I know it can work wonders for self-confidence and overall well-being.

    If you know of anyone that is single and may benefit from a boost in self-esteem please let them know about my offer.

    be well,

    Michael Salzhauer

  54. Michael Salzhauer While she may have had good intentions,it's important to get to the root cause of the issue. If the men of this generation would stop looking at woman(and the world in general) as objects to fulfill their endless lust,as objects to control and manipulate,if they would stop looking at the world from a self-centered egotistical point of view,then there would be no need for women to go to extra lengths to receive the mans energy. They can't receive giving which is only for the sake of the giver,which doesn't allow room for its own expression,which doesn't allow room for the expression of the details,characteristics,viewpoints,and imperfections,which make the mans giving energy,perfect and singular,which gives the man his unique and singular identity,which makes him who he is in the first place. The woman should not have to conform to the mens self-gratification because they are higher than men,they take the mans singular giving controlling energies,reflect it off the environment,details,and imperfections which make it perfect to begin with,and give it beauty,life,meaning,and purpose.They show the man that he is absolute,that perfection also applies to imperfections. In other words,women are perfect just the way they are,they just need to be shown it.

  55. I think that this is a good opportunity to share my article.

    The perfect woman is someone who's stays true to who she is.

    She takes the perfect, infinite, giving, controlling energies of man, and reflects it through her environment, through the evolution of the imperfect parts, which make the mans energies infinite and perfect and in the first place.
    She limits his giving, in order to allow room for the imperfect parts of perfection, to allow room for them to express their diversity and uniqueness, without being forced and controlled by the mans singularity.
    This environment shows the man that his singularity is not just limited to being one and above them, but that it also applies to the parts which make him singular in the first place(2,3,4,5, etc) If he messes with the woman and children, if he doesn't respect the different rules of the body of his universe, it will reflect back at him, with pain and suffering.
    She shows him that the different, rules, characteristics, and details, don't take anything away from his unique singular identity, but only add to it, they make him complete, whole, and absolute.
    She takes his perfect, infinite, singular, controlling, giving energy, reflects it through her environment of the diversity and uniqueness of each and every detail, and gives it meaning, life, beauty, purpose, and absolute unconditional love.

    Unfortunately, men have been using their infinite creative energies on women for their own sake. They want to express their unlimited infinite energy, but bypass the limits which express it.They want to express their infinity through tapping into the absolute source of their infinity, through bypassing the system.
    They see there infinity as absolute, when in reality, its only a part of the absolute picture.There are also the finite, imperfect, details, viewpoints, and charachteristics which make him absolute to begin with.
    They see themselves(infinity)from a self-centered point of view(absolute).
    They see the other points of view of them as separate, as something to be controlled and manipulated.In truth, of course, the different rules, characteristics, details don't take anything away from his singularity.In truth, everyone else shares the same point of view as him, just from a different perspective. All those other perspectives of him, are what make him one and unique, they help him to get to know himself, they make him an absolute part of the bigger picture.

    So what happens when men try to express there unlimited infinite potential, into a limited, diverse, environment, through bypassing his infinity, through the channel of his absolute self gratifying energy?

    The answer is that this pure, raw, unfiltered, emotional, absolute expressive energy makes no room for its own expression, its only for itself, It makes no room for separate details, characteristics, viewpoints, etc, its not compatible with anything that doesn't allow it in. It will destroy the body of his universe, which will eventually pass out in a drunken stupor.
    This absolute, unlimited, self gratifying energy needs to be reduced to his infinite creative potential, (singularity, man and woman together, the universe together with all its parts) and then reduced even further to allow room for its expression(separate the singularity from its concept(man)and details(woman)to allow room for the details to be expressed without a forced relationship to the singularity, to allow room for the concept(man) to be expressed through the evolution of its details.) The self gratifying energy is now taken out of the picture, and in its place, is a limitation of that energy, a limitation of its expression.

    The mans infinite creative potential can now be expressed through a conceptual goal and purpose.He's no longer creating for himself, but for others.The conceptual goal and purpose allow room for the expression of its details.One can either give for the sake of receiving, or give for the sake of giving.

    If a man doesn't give his infinite giving a goal and purpose, it will reflect on the environment of his other half, of the body of his universe.
    This self gratifying energy will be reflected on the women.They will never be able to grasp this energy, they will always be left with wanting more, they will go to any lengths possible to receive it.They may parade their bodies, or go from one guy to the next until they receive energy which is not for the mans self-gratification, but for the goal and purpose of the receiver.
    This self gratifying energy will reflect off of the other points of view of himself.The energy reflected back at him will be rejection, pain, and suffering.Eventually, the men will have to wake up, because in reality, they are destroying themselves.

    Women are perfect just the way they are, they are above the man, they just need to be shown it.They don't need to conform to the mans self gratification, they could reject it and rise above it, because their connection to the man is not limited to what he does for them, they're still connected to the part of the man which is even higher than the man himself.
    Even the mans perfect infinite creative energy is limited to creating, is limited to infinity.
    The woman is what expresses the finite parts of the mans infinite energy.
    This energy of the man comes from the absolute, its not limited by what it creates or what it destroys.

    In fairness to the men however, they've grown up in a materialistic generation, which preaches self-gratification, which doesn't have any values, which purpose is only for itself.
    They need to learn that giving is not for the sake of receiving something in return, but to connect with the receiver.
    Another problem is that they are head, king, and giver, they are supposed to be in control of there body and kingdom.The body and kingdom are supposed to recieve their giving.
    This generation is loaded with problems, which makes it difficult for them to recieve, and its causing the men to be extremely over-concerned.
    They also need to learn that while its true that they are supposed to give, they can't truly give without making room for the receiver (the other parts of him who share his view, but from a different perspective, the other details, chrachteristics, viewpoints, etc, which make him the head, king, which make him singular, unique, and perfect, which make him who he is in the first place) to process it through there own unique view, without making room for mistakes and imperfections. Otherwise, there connection would be limited to a perfect controlling realtionship, and they would never know there connection through there imperfections as well, they would never know that they are absolute.

  56. While I agree with the general sentiment of the article, I disagree with the point about the "ugly duckling attitude" being the CAUSE of eating disorders. The cause of eating disorders is deep psychological dysfunction that has causes which are multifactorial. I don't doubt that one of the factors is the lack of self esteem caused by being brought up to think that all of one's worth is based on one's physical appearance. But to reduce such a complex problem to one cause is an oversimplification.

    In addition, I generally believe that people should try to be attractive not only for their potential spouses, but also for their actual spouses without going to extremes. This applies equally to both sexes. As a man, I certainly put effort into remaining attractive to my wife. This includes watching my weight as well as things like dressing nicely at least some of the time and staying reasonably well groomed.

  57. What would happen if this crooked-nosed, frizzy-haired, less-than svelte girl has all this cosmetic rearrangement, finds a learner, gets married, and has children. Crooked-nosed, frizzy-haired, less-than svelte children? My thought, as the father of five daughters, the five most beautiful daughters in the world, this would be a case of deceptive advertising. A marriage built on such a shaky foundation is not off to a good start.

  58. Also,many men are not appreciated,causing them to feel sad and lonely. Unfortunately,some men handle this with controlling force. They need to realize that the men who are truly respected and appreciated,are the ones who give for the sake of giving,not the ones who give for their own sake,the ones who give without expecting anything in return. Men who demand respect just because they say so,for the sake of their self-gratification,will never be appreciated and respected,because they only want it for themselves.

  59. Also,many men are not appreciated,causing them to feel sad and lonely. Unfortunately,some men handle this with controlling force. They need to realize that the men who are truly respected and appreciated,are the ones who give for the sake of giving,the ones who give without expecting anything in return,and not the people who give for their own sake. Men who demand respect just because they say so,for the sake of their self-gratification,will never be appreciated and respected,because they only want it for themselves.

  60. Lynn, I was gonna keep my mouth shut, but you finally did it. You finally insulted all the single men and the women by saying there are only a few worthy men and no worthy women for these worthy men to choose from. To clarify, if there were more quality men there wouldn’t be such a difference in number between the amount of quality men and the amount of quality women? Maybe if the sons were raised to be better people there would be a more level playing field. You have no clue what it is like to be a single girl in 2012, so don’t judge. Your biggest concern should be your daughter in law letting herself go physically. I honestly hope that she brings a little bit more to the table then a 5,000 dollar sheital bill. Attraction is important but I know plenty of guys who fell for girls who were not what our ignorant society would call beautiful and they are very happy. I also know some guys who married super models who now after 10 years of marriage don’t look to hot anymore. Life is a gamble, take risks, look inside. Give people a chance, you may never know what treasures you will find. And I will say it one more time. Look around, I have been in these communities, the women are beautiful, they spend way too much time and money on their looks. IF you think that is the problem, then I feel bad for your sons and daughter in laws. I am not worried about me because B”H my shidduch is in Hashem’s hands not yours and not Mrs. Halberstams.I just cry for the women who don’t know their own value and whose hearts and spirits are being broken by careless words. If men won’t be openminded do what shaddchanim do to the girls and bully them a little. IF they are men they will man up and may thank you for it later. If they are boys then they deserve what they get. I was once told by a teacher of mine that marrying for looks is like buying a stock that you know is going to decrease in value. Marry for values, heart, loyalty, personality and attraction and you are ahead of the game.

  61. Michael a.k.a Doctor Salzhauer.. You are a well known plastic surgeon in my old neck of the woods so I would not expect you to like my comment. You haven't made a dime off my family because my four siblings and I were raised to feel good about our ethnic looks. I have 4 beautiful children including a daughter who is a Jewish hip hop artist in South Florida. Plastic surgery comes with risks as does any type of surgery. To put a young woman through a surgery to catch a husband is insulting to women. Again, I do not expect you to understand where I am coming from when so much of your business comes from agreeing with insecure women that a nose job or bigger breasts will bring them the happiness they desire.

  62. ok lets lighten this up….I am very happily married, and I know your offer is for the single women….but I have BAGS under my eyes! Its genetic, my father, z"TL, had them, and I have them…..ok i'm just trying to lighten this up – but i'm serious.

  63. David Staum –he is speaking for a lot of people..I am outraged that someone would want to push young vulnerable women into getting surgery, in order to get a husband? He speaks for me in this case..also because I am too lazy to write an article. Face it, he is right!!

  64. Ah Shmuley, it cuts both ways. When I was in grad school at the Brooklyn College campus I noticed an interesting phenomenon. Until 5:00 the Kosher Corner had a normal college crowd, but at that time the social changeover occurred. The Yeshiva boys came in dressed like shlumps with their shirt tails out, etc., and acting like princes and the girls came in dressed to the nines. I was fascinated, in a morbid way. You see, the boys felt no need to present their best face and the girls had no self-respect. Perhaps I'm being too harsh, but I think that it's only a matter of degree. I've seen this repeated many times in the American milieu, but not so much in Israel but I'll leave that explanation to someone who's an expert in the field of Comparative Jewish Society. In the end, neither sex has self-respect, but the genesis probably has to do with mothers who don't teach their boys to clean up after the meal, and teach their daughters that the boys don't have to. It continues with Rabbeim who don't teach boys about both sexes being sacred parts of a whole, and the mystery of life. And it achieves its zenith with mothers who worship their sons to the degree that perhaps, but only perhaps, there might be found a woman superior to their son. Feh. Not the world I live in nor would I ever want to.

  65. Thank you so much for your strong eloquent response! Perhaps Yitta can refine her values of what an Eishet Chayil is and is suppose to be about! Jewish values have always taught its what's on the inside that counts and for each person there is a mate, perhaps when you are dolled up and superficial, you might choose the wrong one! Thank you

  66. Michael Salzhauer Do you really consider your plastic surgery practice to be comparable to the development of penicillin and immunizations? I never heard of anyone dying of a big nose. Or a school requiring a nose job prior to admission. And oh, yes, your grandfather did NEED antibiotics and shots in order to stay healthy, he just didn't have access. People may WANT to alter their looks, but nobody NEEDS a nose job unless their face has been literally mauled. I get that you want to make people look better and feel happier. There's good evidence that you succeed at doing so. But are you saving lives? Come on.

  67. those sad depressed housewives in beverly hills and other places try plastic surgery and look horrible- everyone must agree that it should only be used in extreme cases and not just to enhance – it will get us far away from reality.
    mainly though the shidduch system is so broken- you need to meet your bashert through other means- although I'm not sure what that might be- meanwhile keep yourself happy and productive- don't cry yourself to sleep – get super busy and be as happy as you can- then being single won't be so hard- the girls feeling so unimpowered is terrible.
    yitta was trying to empower them- but that is not the only piece of this puzzle and part of it is not part of 'our puzzle' as Jews at all- shmuley want's the men to grow up- but wanting an attractive wife will not stop – and no one can say it should- it just should be like with all things- with moderation:)

  68. Yitta's insane article notwithstanding, how one person's comments can give this author (and many commentators) the license to brand an ENTIRE group consisting of thousands of people ("Tell the Yeshivah students.." "immature men.." etc.) is beyond me. If a "Modern Orthodox" person were to write an article promoting mikvah for single women (for obvious reasons) and then someone would take the liberty to brand all self-identifying Modern-Orthodox people as proponents of assur behavior based on that one article, the guns would be blazing. Yitta's opinion vis-a-vis plastic surgery can and should be attacked in a vacuum.
    I guess it's just too hard to pass up an opportunity for some good-old yeshivish bashing.

  69. And David, you were married to an extraordinary woman — the kind of woman who would have been a Rabbi had she been male. And should have been (a Rabbi, not male). Yeah, I like what you wrote, David. I did not grow up with what you described — but I was definitely part of life is similar even growing up as a more secular Jew.

  70. i didn't grow up there also. when i went to yeshiva in israel, all guys came in dressed totally like shlumps. however, someone who learned at pardase told me that dressing this way is simply the way guys in all male societes act. the guy who learn in pardase come to classes dressed properly, nicely.

  71. I strongly suspect that even if women were to have a complete body transplant, mothers like Yitta would still find other excuses to prevent them from taking away their baby.

    And then they would claim it's because their sons have certain "standards."

    Rabbi Boteach, I'm really surprised that you don't suggest that mothers like Yitta keep out of the way and let their sons decide who they want to date.

  72. I agree that it is the system that is flawed with the mothers' ideals being corrupted. Encouraging girls to get surgery is treating the symptoms, not the cause. Did none of these mothers gain weight and lose weight on and off through the years as they themselves had children and experienced life? Were none of them larger than a size 2 when they got married?
    The fact is, nobody can be truly joyful walking into a room filled with potential mother-in-laws. It's impossible and far too stressful. As Audrey Hepburn said,"happy girls are the prettiest girls," because a girl who is truly happy and is smiling and joyful attracts people to her. No girl can be happy in a room like that! Meryl Streep is beautiful and sexy at any size with any nose because she gives off a deep sense of joy and confidence.
    So, to address Yitta, I would have raised my son in a home filled with joy and love and confident women, so that he might grow up seeing joyful confident women as beautiful women. Alter his perception as a child so he will see beauty wherever he looks. I am certainly raising my own sons that way. And I have Audrey Hepburn's quote stenciled on the wall of my daughter's room so that she might understand it every day.

  73. "Is the author really suggesting that we take our young daughters – and put them under the knife, bankrupting our families in the process, so that they can better appeal to shallow religious charlatans who would prefer a woman who is all form and little substance? Is this what three thousand and three hundred years of Jewish tradition has come to, that a nation that has always dared to walk alone, with different ideals and values from the wider culture, should so fully capitulate to the most corrupt, misogynistic values, that we would advocate that our young women have plastic surgery in order to get married?"

  74. I don't get the part about marriage being the holy grail for any religious woman. I understand that we all would aspire to meeting someone to share our lives and procreate with, but the context that has been created for this in the religious world is kind of twisted and terrifying. most women have been completely disempowered by this "truth" they have been socialised into, that marrying a man and starting a family is the only way to achieve meaning and happiness. when starting from this viewpoint, how can we not fail to deteriorate into the intricacies that are now laid out before us – cosmetic surgery, resumes and botox – all of these are merely ways to achieve something we have been taught that we cannot exist meaningfully without.

  75. Michael Salzhauer

    Ok, I started looking at them – I don't have time to look at all of them but I went through the first 43 and these are the ones that I think looked better before the operation: 1,4,5,7,8, 10,11,12,13,14, 18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35, 38,29,40,41,42. I know it seems exagerrated but I genuinly think so. Very few girls actually needed it. I did notice that the girls in the before pictures mostly had no makeup and more skin-blemishes, whereas in the after-pictures, they were wearing more makeup, had less spots, and looked better (besides the nose) so I've taken that into account in my list above and only looked at the noses.

    By the way, you're right – not all of the noses are the same, and you're right in taking pride in your work because I can see that they're all good jobs – it's not you I'm against, it's the concept of nose jobs in general. The operations all end up making the same type of change in the faces of the patients. They all look more 'modernized'.

    Also, I don't think I included any boys in this list, but just as a point, I think that there was only one guy who actually needed it in the whole gallery. I especially found it unnecessary in the boys – not just from your pictures but in general. I've met boys who have had nose-jobs and I have to say that I don't find it attractive at all. It really gives them a plastic look that makes me cringe. Maybe it's because I'm Jewish and used to it, but it's never seemed to have bothered me. So boys who are reading this and considering getting nose jobs – there are some girls who LIKE natural jewish noses 🙂

    Either way, this not meant as an attack at all, and is only a means of my expressing my opinion on the matter. It makes me sad that this "can work wonders for self-confidence and overall well-being" because the world shouldn't be this way (it's understandable if it's the case for makeup or losing weight but not for plastic surgery). Then again, I'm only one voice, I'm crazy about nature, and I'm not American, so all I can do is have an opinion.

    For girls who do want nose jobs, your offer is very generous and I admire that. However, I don't think that shadchanim should be contacting girls to tell them that they need nose jobs. It's insulting.

    Have a wonderful Shabbat and a Chag Kasher Vesameach


  76. Now I understand that some men may try and stop demanding respect,in order that they should be respected,and hey,if it starts getting them to do it,then fine,people don't normally starts doing something without seeing whats in it for them. The eventual goal,however,is to not want the respect in the first place. Not that men shouldn't respect themselves of course,or let people walk all over them,but they should only be respecting themselves for another persons sake,for the sake of having the energy and stamina to be able to give to others.

  77. Now I understand that some men may try and stop demanding respect,in order that they should be respected,and hey,if it starts getting them to do it,then fine,people don't normally starts doing something without seeing whats in it for them. The eventual goal,however,is to not want the respect in the first place,or at least,not for its own sake. Not that men shouldn't respect themselves of course,or let people walk all over them,but they should only be respecting themselves for another persons sake,for the sake of having the energy,stamina,and inspiration to continue giving to others.

  78. Modern orthodox people aren't part of the shidduch scene. Shtetlized jews are. Perhaps if young men and women (not boys and girls, as they are often referred) are allowed to socialize in a normal way each sex would see the variety of looks, personalities, and beliefs that exist and eventually match with their own. My daughter goes to a co-ed truly modern orthodox yeshiva, where boys and girls (still boy and girls) meet, hang out, and socialize. When the time comes I'H, she'll know how to pick a spouse with the values that we, and her own experiences, have helped her to develop.

  79. Michael Salzhauer : maybe you should sell plastic surgery to the losers that are sending their mothers out to find them wives. they're too busy doing, what? davening? no. cleaning their rooms? no. working? DEFINITELY NOT. let me tell you something…these "boys" will not be able to pay for your services for their own children because they won't have jobs, remember, they're LEARNING Torah, while beautiful wife (thanks to plastic surgery) makes the money. maybe you should encourage them to become DOCTORS instead of shnuerers.

  80. Bella Tonini, I never denied he was right here. I was as disgusted at the original article as anyone else. I just don't think he deserves any kudos here for taking an extremely obvious position. It was a cheap way for Boteach to get positive publicity and yet again promote himself, which seems to be his only interest.

  81. Naomi Graves, I'm not saying his article needed to be radical. I just don't think he took any great leap here and I don't see any credit deserved. I have met NO ONE who agreed with Halberstam's article.

  82. David, while I don't agree with Boteach on everything by any means, he was right on target with this article. He said the right things…and they needed to be said (and printed). Let's just give him the benefit of the doubt for good intentions here. The paper has a large readership (many of whom you don't know) and maybe some will benefit from hearing his response to the original article.

  83. Elana, I hear your point. I'll leave it at this – I just don't like Boteach and think he reflects very poorly on Orthodox Judaism, so I don't like seeing him lauded for stating the obvious.

  84. Moriah Steiner when stuff like this pops up, I always think to Koheleth where it is advised to not be too religious and that all vanity. Koheleth 7:16. Be not overly righteous, and be not overly wise; why should you bring desolation upon yourself? In this world, we are kidding ourselves if we think that full tilt, unchecked pursuit of even religion is a "save all". We are master liars, especially to ourselves. We end up justifying the most awful things that go against that quiet humility that drew us to begin with. We have to work at it to keep the focal point where it should be, on HaShem.

  85. David, was the "cuts both ways" pun intended? 🙂 anyway, i read his article and the one he wrote it in reponse to. Not always in agreement with him but he got it right on this one. your comments enlighten the topic further. And I second Rachel's comments about Ruchi z'l!

  86. I join in rebuking Mrs. Halberstam for advocating surgical procedures. Nonetheless, I'd say that her basic point of encouraging young ladies to do their best to look their best is good, practical advice. Telling yeshiva boys not to be concerned about a prospect's beauty is not very practical.

  87. When all someone carea bout is a skirt size and nothing else it is a huge problem! So shallow and superficial. Everyone should do their best to look good on a date and put their best foot forward – but when all the boy and his mother want is a Barbie Doll then that is over the top and disgusting. In addition as was said it is not like the boy is so amazing and has so much to offer…

  88. Anne Guetta I understand your position. I am not offended. Here is link to patient number 1 for the readers to evaluate on their own. I can't see how anyone can say that she isn't more attractive, more of a "catch" in the after picture…but I may be biased. I'd love to hear what the readers think.

    Warning: The many of the other pictures on the before and after gallery are NOT TZNIUS so be careful if you start clicking around.

  89. no it is not…I am living through it. You just don't know how the mothers of these boys and the boys themselves act. It is disgusting. If it was just make-up it would be fine. her articel is just encouraging this whole messed up mind set.

  90. I realize this is not my community, so this may be entirely out of turn. However, women are not cattle. I feel saddened that the idea of surgical "enhancement" in order to land ourselves a man has become this infectious. We're attracted to who we're attracted to, yes, I agree. And anthropologically speaking, men are more visual than women. I agree, it's impractical to think men won't be concerned with appearance. But I don't I also don't see any harm in encouraging young men to think beyond the superficial.

  91. Michael Salzhauer I agree that she looks better in the after picture but i think that is because
    a) she's wearing makeup
    b) her hair is done in a much nicer style ('before', her hair is natural and 'after' it's straightened)
    c) she's wearing eye-makeup (eye liner + mascara)
    d) I'm under the impression that she's wearing skin makeup too
    e) she's wearing a beautiful par of earrings
    f) she's wearing a black shirt which gives her a smarter look
    g) the lighting is different and makes her look much better!

    Had those things been present in the before picture, she would have looked very good too! Without meaning to be disrespectful, the 'after' pictures have been given many other advantages besides from the nose, which biases the picture to makes us think that she looks better!

  92. Of course you are right. I see from the comments that the author was universally blasted (and with good reason) for the surgery advise. FWIW, the yeshiva Rabbis do exert great efforts trying to educate young men about looking toward character traits.

  93. Anne Guetta –Thank you. You have essentially proven Yitta Halberstams point.
    BTW: In your detailed analysis you didn't even notice that her neck was liposuctioned giving her a much cleaner jawline.
    If those pictures don't impress you then nothing will. We must agree to disagree. On a personal note I should add that this young lady blossomed after surgery and become much more self-confident and outgoing.

  94. Anne Guetta Anne Guetta –Thank you. You have essentially proven Yitta Halberstams point.
    BTW: In your detailed analysis you didn't even notice that her neck was liposuctioned giving her a much cleaner jawline.
    If those pictures don't impress you then nothing will. We must agree to disagree. On a personal note I should add that this young lady blossomed after surgery and became much more self-confident and outgoing.

  95. Personally, I have seen very few frum Jews elect to have plastic surgery. American society however does set a standard of using plastic surgery as a means to improve appearance. There are ads for plastic surgery where the surgeons run ‘specials’ on various procedures to get the customer in the door. Once inside, it is a bit like home construction; it never ends. Not just halacha, but price, may be keeping most frum Jews from going under the knife for appearance reasons. Nose jobs are also very public statements. The person is sometimes changed so much that friends who haven’t seen them for awhile don’t recognize them.

  96. Attention Rabbi Shmuley Boteach,
    If your going to write an article about this sensitive topic at least get your facts straight.
    The "Girl" that your referring to in your article that died of anorexia is not only untrue but, a lie.
    How do I know this? Because that "Girl" was my sister. And, Her name was Chanie Kolodny a"h.

  97. Mr. Salzhaur-
    Yes, you're right, if a girl is miserable about the way she looks, and she really wishes she could change it, surgery is a great option!
    However, in Yitta Halberstam's article, the girls intentionally showed up without makeup. They were obviously comfortable with themselves. Yitta is suggesting that girls should fix things that perhaps she, or some men don't consider attractive. People don't have to change themselves to fit someone else's idea of beauty. Confidence is the most beautiful thing in the world.

  98. Danielle Siegel-Cohen For real???? How does a woman go about proposing on her son's behalf???? I have no idea how it got to be like this. Four generations back, when my great-grandparents were married off in the shtetl, it was the fathers who did the arranging. don't know when this tyranny of mothers began.

  99. Wow thats pathetic! I never heard of this women before but im really shocked. Thankfully i was raised knowing looks arent everything and would raise my children knowing the same. Who would even want to marry off their daughter to such a guy? Who would want to raise their sons to think in such a way? So shocked from that article, what a sad world

  100. When will people open their eyes, yitta has proved the dirty little secret of the shiduch crises, and that is, that it’s not the males that are too picky, but rather the females. Ask any shadchan you know, they will tell you that most of the time a shiduch does not move forward because the girl is too picky, not the guy. Yitta is not the exception to the way people think in brooklyn, she is the rule. It is very convenient to blame the guys for being shallow. However, if you ask most (not all) men wether they would marry a good looking girl with a big nose they would say yes. Yet it is the mothers that think their sons could do better. Its the mothers that require pictures for a resume, not the guys. It’s not just the mothers, but the girls themselves that think that every guy needs to be a Hollywood actor. And the sadest part about all of this is that Yitta probably had more profiles sent to her after this article was published. There are so many mothers and girls that now see that this family has very high standards, so instead of blacklisting the entire family from entering the kahal, girls and mothers all around Brooklyn think that to marry into this terrible family is like winning a beauty contest.

  101. Thank god he wrote this…. That lady along with other idiots who believe that the girls have to sacrifice everything about themselves so that the holy boy will pick them is wrong , pathetic and since these holy boys!,," dont speak to women" they shouldn't e so picky!

  102. This whole shidduch thing has become an abomination. People need to marry each other for the right reason. They are not marrying their spouses' families.

    Men and women should not be allowed to meet until they've spoken on the phone to each other for a month. This way, they'll be able to assess each other without worrying about looks. If someone likes what they hear, they'll be less likely to dismiss the other person when they meet.

    Of course, it would be unfair to match two people up if there is an explicit request for a certain trait and the other person is lacking. Unfortunately, I've heard too many stories of people asking shadchans not to stereotype them because of their own differences, and yet the shadchan refuses to obey.

  103. David, we are not talking about American post-adolescent university society, but rather something that is supposed to be quite different. In Europe, when someone learned in a Yeshiva, the rule was that he had to be perfectly groomed, both personally and in his attire because he was representing something. The room had to be clean as well. The students also had to do their own laundry. In my opinion, much of this current state has two major contributing social factors. The first is the world of surface beauty in which we live. The second, which is orthogonal to the first, is that there is no "normal" and healthy sphere of interaction between young men and women in which they can learn about each other as people and not as fairy tales. This, I believe, is a result of the Chasidic influence in the Chareidi (ultra-right wing) world. In Europe, it was not so, and I only use Europe as my example because if I gave the example of America 40 years ago someone could offer the claim that American Jewry was still not observant enough. Cross cultural religious attitudes are dangerous because they lack the context of their origin. I'll end with one more example. Around 1979, Rav Goren zt"l gave a lecture on the laws of men and women sitting together. In the lecture he said that at his own wedding which had been 50 years prior to that, Rav Kook zt"l and the Gerer Rebbe and their wives sat at the same table and that he had the photographs to prove it.

  104. I do not know Yitta Halberstam or Rabbi Boteach, and I do not judge any of them Chas VeShalom.
    There is something interesting in the Talmud (Nedarim 66A) about Rabbi Yishma’el, VeHaMevin Yavin.
    Shabbat Shalom OuMevorakh.

    תלמוד בבלי מסכת נדרים דף סו עמוד א.

    מתני'. פותחין לאדם בכבוד עצמו ובכבוד בניו, אומרים לו: אילו היית יודע שלמחר אומרין עליך כך היא ווסתו של פלוני מגרש את נשיו, ועל בנותיך יהו אומרין בנות גרושות הן, מה ראתה אמן של אלו להתגרש, ואמר: אילו הייתי יודע שכן לא הייתי נודר – ה"ז מותר. קונם שאני נושא את פלונית כעורה והרי היא נאה, שחורה והרי היא לבנה, קצרה והרי היא ארוכה – מותר בה, לא מפני שהיא כעורה ונעשת נאה, שחורה ונעשת לבנה, קצרה ונעשת ארוכה, אלא שהנדר טעות. ומעשה באחד שנדר מבת אחותו הנייה, והכניסוה לבית ר' ישמעאל וייפוה, אמר לו ר' ישמעאל: בני, מזו נדרת? אמר לו: לאו, והתירה ר' ישמעאל. באותה שעה בכה ר' ישמעאל ואמר: בנות ישראל נאות הן, אלא שהעניות מנוולתן. וכשמת ר' ישמעאל, היו בנות ישראל נושאות קינה ואומרות: בנות ישראל על ר' ישמעאל בכינה; וכן הוא אומר בשאול: +שמואל ב' א+ בנות ישראל על שאול בכינה.

    רש"י: וייפוה – שקישטוה והלבישוה ונראית יפה.

  105. The bottom line is that although Yitta was extreme it is up to both parties to put their best foot forward and try to look their best – if a little make-up and attention to their appearance, yes even losing weight will help in these difficult times then it is a necessary thing to do. Not to be stubborn and say – he has to take me or leave me as I am. That person just may get "left".

  106. I agree with your horror at this article that could have been written in the 1950s, but two points, Rabbi Boteach: eating disorders are not invariably an attempt to reach a physical "ideal", but may be the only control that a girl feels she can exert over her life. I would imagine this is especially true in the Orthodox community. And as the article made clear, these girls aren't presenting to the boys at all, but to THEIR MOTHERS. It's the MOTHERS who demand this "standard" of presentation, no one seems to have asked the boys what they want. Although I agree with the commenter below, what women in her right mind would even WANT a boy who had his mother choose his bride for him? Don't most women want a MAN who makes his own choices? Apparently not in this community.

  107. Shira, in Yitta’s original article, she stated that the boys are besieged with offers while quality girls sit and wait. She also stated that the event that she attended was for girls who wanted to marry learning boys which in that circle are considered top boys. Her contention is that some of the young women who attended an event that was supposed to make the appealing to potential mother-in-laws, did not make the most of their good looks. I am not sure here what is such an insult to boys or girls. There are wonderful boys out there who don’t intend to spend years in kollel. The girls at the event are not interested in those. Yitta’s point was that with 30 minutes of effort before the event, these girls could have looked more appealing. The average woman in modern society does spend time, money, and effort on their appearance. That does not make them “fake”. Her remarks about plastic surgery were not for the average girl who could look above average with some well applied cosmetics. It was in regard to appearance issues that could affect a shidduch. While we all need to be sensitive to girls in shidduchim, she was trying to make a helpful suggestion. She stated in both her original article and her reply that she wishes that shidduchim were less focused on looks but unfortunately that is the reality. Could mothers have raised their children to be more accepting of less when it came to looks? Maybe they could have, but we are talking about a large number of people who have come to think the same way. Yes, there are many people with average looks who manage to get married so not everyone clamors for a raving beauty. She was referring to girls who came to an event in order to make an impression of possible mother-in-laws, who didn’t bother to put in some effort. I am not sure how I have insulted anyone unless they choose to feel insulted.

  108. Zev, sometimes shidduchim are made because the parents of a girl can support a boy in kollel. Is this a better reason to marry? Looks is not the only external consideration that some shidduchim ride on. Not only that, but most of the people here who are angry do not shidduch date. It is not even their issue. Their mothers will never have anything to say about who they marry. They are free to decide what they think is beautiful.

  109. Gayle Slurzberg How absurd. I hope they are really not all like that. I'm sure you raised your daughters with proper values — what do you say to them now?
    Anyway another commenter suggested asking what the boys' pant size is…maybe give it a try? 🙂

  110. Lynn, I don’t consider myself yeshivish OR modern orthodox, I actually consider myself to be a REGULAR frum Jew (I know, what a concept ;)) & my 20 year old daughter gets set up by people who I check out beforehand by calling a few references etc just to be sure that the person seems to be a decent person for her to date (a mentsch who will make a parnassah etc) so that she doesn’t go out with someone who is a complete stranger. Please don’t assume that ONLY Yeshivish parents are involved with their kids shidduchim b/c even some parents of kids who aren’t yeshivish may ALSO be involved in their children’s dating life.

  111. Rachel Kaplan LOL it's not!! Just saying that giving the boys' mothers absolute power is not necessarily rooted in tradition. At least my great grandparents' marriage was not based on looks or money but on similar family values, i.e. the two fathers-in-law followed the same rebbe. But it wasn't a good system and didn't work for everyone. Another relative from that generation was shackled to an inappropriate shidduch and was bitter all her married life. The good news is that Orthodox Judaism has for the most part abandoned the practice of completely arranged marriages, and survived. Things can change, and I hope they will.

  112. Batya, I have no doubts that there are Jews of all kinds who are involved in their children’s shidduchim. I am talking specifically about the posters in this discusssion. Several have stated that they are against the type of dating where parents call the shots.

  113. That is precisely the point that people are trying to make, I think (or at least one the points) that parents can be involved withOUT having to call ALL the shots. Let the kids make some mature decisions on their own even IF they are shidduch dating. The 2 are NOT mutually exclusive. In fact, I am wondering if your MIL hand selected you before you met her son b/c I know things were different back in the day..

  114. To Batya
    My mother-in-law indeed did pick me. That was 38 years ago. I was almost 19 but we didn’t marry for awhile. We were both in school. My mil approached my grandmother to set us up.
    Mothers are not likely to loosen up if they are getting what they want. They don’t necessarily feel responsible for all of the girls that their prized son does not marry. If they did feel responsible, then every time that they looked at a resume and decided it was not for their son, they would at least try to find a boy who could use it. From what Yitta describes, these mothers are flooded with these resumes and after awile, the girls all look alike. It probably would not even be welcomed by another mother of a boy who is similarly inundated. Most people do what is in their own best interest. Why else is it that we use disposable stuff on Pesach when it is so harmful to the environment?

  115. First of all Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is a running for office as a U.S. Congressional Representative from New Jersey. He is looking for catch phrases that ring the right tone to his candidacy. Kosher sex is catchy and even more catchy to the Christian segment is a Jew talking warmly about Jesus…almost makes him sound like a Jew For Jesus freak which Christians love even beyond sex. This guy has been a politician his whole life. His political party, his country is himself and his primary platform is self promotion. He even quotes this as his "…11th Commandment". He says in this article… " I was so floored by what I read that I decided to take time from my all-consuming Congressional campaign to respond." What he should have said is I needed to find something other than sex and Jesus to make me sound to the electorate that I am a "good guy" so lets lambaste against eating disorders. He totally puts words in Yitta Halberstam’s mouth, overstating her point which is there is nothing wrong with improving yourself by losing those overweight pounds or correcting a nose that makes you feel bad about yourself which she did in her life and is happy with the outcome. More power to her. She says nothing about breast enlargements, collagen injections in their lips, and Botox that he suggests she recommends. And nowhere in her article does she state “Mothers this is my plea to you: There is no reason in today’s day and age with the panoply of cosmetic and surgical procedures available, why any girl can’t be transformed into a swan. Borrow the money if you have to; it’s an investment in your daughter’s future, her life.” He totally made up this quote unless I am more tired than I think and overlooked it in her article…which I ask…"did you read". The way he put words in her mouth suggest he is just another political …but let me not judge the man.

  116. Shoshanna Goldstein Sanders …You are Beautiful! p.s. The sad thing is…The very women who "fix" everything at a young age are also running to the plastic surgeon at my age because they can't handle aging. I am embracing this exciting stage of my life! My natural "facelift" is my smile!

  117. Lynn, I agree that most of the criticism of Yitta is coming from people outside of the yeshivish community, but there seem to be a fair number of negative comments from people within it. Especially women who are dating, recently married, or parents with daughters in the “parsha”. You seem to be describing a system where the boys and their mothers are happy with the system and uninterested in change. But aren’t most women mothers of girls as well as boys? How could women be happy with a system that favors their sons but not their daughters? You say that for the mothers of boys, after a while all the resumes look the same. That’s painful to read, knowing that each one of those resumes represents a human being with hopes of finding happiness. Do most mothers of girls prefer to work with rather than try to change a system that may be unfair to their own daughters? I’m not trying to challenge you, I’m just trying to understand.

  118. Shoshanna, I stand corrected. I missed it. But she did not directly recommend the specific procedures he suggested. The woman who had those procedures was 40 years of age. Looks do count even in the culture of the contemporary religious zealots as she states "…they want a spouse to whom they are attracted". How fine the line is between corrective surgery and excessive surgery can become complicated especially in the young…the doctor needs to be the gatekeeper with psychological assistance in some required. The Rabbi's motivation in this currant crusade of his…I still question. And loosing "excess" poundage in not an "eating disorder".

  119. What is wrong with her! Honestly if I found out that the girl that I was dating got plastic surgery to make herself look more appealing, the relationship would end right there for me! It is horrible that a woman like her would suggest something like that to parents and daughters. Even in the secular world no one would suggest something as horrid as that. Purely appalling! She should write an article apologizing to the people who read this magazine and retract her previous statements!

  120. In addition to this point (not mentioned nearly enough) and the obvious ones, I'm also offended as a man that this woman thinks all any men care about is pure looks and she has to make it her job to make every woman good enough for us shallow men.

  121. Give it a rest guys. She had one stupid paragraph in an otherwise very solid article. Had that paragraph about plastic surgery not been there I would have agreed with everything she said.

  122. I have married off both sons and daughters and it was more of a challenge with daughters. Girls are also picky about looks. I personally think that it has to do with the difference in the relationship between a mother and a son and a mother and a daughter. The mother/son relationship probably has less verbal communication. The mother wants to please the son and remain part of his life as he bonds with his wife. The daughter will usually always be close to her mother, even after she marries. It will usually be to her own mother that she goes for help when giving birth. She will share those experiences with her mother and if she has a good relationship with her mother-in-law, she will include her as well. Of course all of this is a sweeping generalization. Some women don’t get along with their mothers but love their mother-in-laws.
    Because of the nature of the mother/daughter relationship, it may be easier to communicate to daughters the essence of relationships and that physical appearance is only part of that relationship (but not necessarily a minor part). The mother of a girl may be more interested in getting a son-in-law that will support his wife, treat her well and bring her pride if he is going into a career of Torah learning. The mother of a boy may want her daughter-in-law to project the regal image of a rebbitzen.

  123. So are you saying that the mother bonds with her son by making sure his wife is a real “catch”? But what if the marriage chas v’shalom develops problems? Wouldn’t that create a rift between mother and son, since she was so instrumental in selecting the wife?
    In a lot of ways we are alike, but very different in others. I also want my son to have shalom bayis and I want to maintain a good relationship with him after he is married. On the one hand, you are describing a system where this is accomplished by the boys’ mother helping him to secure a desirable, high-status wife. He will be happy with her because she will be an affirmation of his own worth, which will make him feel good about himself and make him appreciate his mother’s hard work. I want my son to find a woman with whom he shares a deep emotional bond. Since only he can be the judge of that, the best way for me to help him is to give him freedom and leeway to choose, offering advice only if he asks for it. In my circles it is also considered part of becoming an adult and preparation for being a husband and father. I feel once he is married he will appreciate that I didn’t interfere in his relationship with his wife.
    Of course there is overlap in our approaches. You wouldn’t push your son to continue dating a girl he disliked, and I would disapprove of any marriage that was not halachically permissible, even if the girl made my son happy.
    Our worlds are not as far apart as you may thing. While my own boys may not meet their wives through formal shidduchim, the system you describe affects my friends, neighbors, and close relatives. And it is well known that even Modern Orthodox schools select their rebbeim and morahs from more yeshivish circles, so that our kids are exposed to more right wing values and hashkafas. And with the general swing to the right, and kids getting “frummer” after learning for a year in Israel, our families may not look different at all in a generation or two. So yes, this does concern me.

  124. David Staum would that were true – have you been inside the shidduch world lately? Girls are routinely asked for their weight, dress size, even their bra size, as dating criteria. And single at 22 spells disaster. This is a world that has really lacked leadership, and Rabbi Boteach is actually the only person who is standing up and publicly condemning the sheer stupidity of the mentality. It's far bigger than just Yitti Halberstam, unfortunately.

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