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The Misguided Outrage About A Jewish Nose

A prosthetic ‘big nose’ in a biographical film is not a ‘big deal’

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“,,, if Bradley Cooper cannot figure out how to portray Leonard Bernstein without a prosthetic nose, then he shouldn’t be playing him at all”. Tell that to Orson Wells, Vera Farmiga, Jared Leto, Lee Marvin, Nicole Kidman, Anthony Hopkins, Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep, who all played parts wearing prosthetic noses. Streep and her makeup artist were both nominated for Oscars. (Photo: Jack Mitchell/Silver Linings Playbook via consequence.net))

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“A large nose is the mark of a witty, courteous, affable, generous and liberal man” from Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmond Rostand You may have heard… 

The role of Leonard Bernstein in the soon-to-be-released Netflix original film, “Maestro” has been awarded to Bradley Cooper, a non-Jew.  To add insult to injury, Cooper – who is also writing and directing the flick – has undergone a temporary augmentation rhinoplasty for the role.

As a board-certified plastic Surgeon, I take ethnic variations in nasal size, shape, contour, and function very seriously.  

This may surprise you, but the prosthetic proboscis is low on my radar of serious issues threatening Judaism today. 

Jew-haters do not murder us for having big noses. They do so for being Jewish, wearing Yarmulkes, donning Stars of David, and supporting Israel. Greeks and Italians are rarely attacked because of the size of their nose. But if they happen to support Israel, they become targets for Jew Haters.  

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The use of latex in Hollywood is popular, and noses are its most fashionable clients. When non-Italian actors portray Italians and wear aquiline (or Roman) nose prostheses, the National American Italian Foundation resists the temptation to organize a Hollywood boycott. 

American-Ukrainian actor Vera Farmiga wore a prosthetic nose for her role as Livia Soprano, and Jared Leto (of English, Cajun/French, German and Scottish descent) proudly boasted an oversized nose in his portrayal of Paolo Gucci. 

Meryl Streep, Lee Marvin, Nicole Kidman, Anthony Hopkins, and Robert De Niro are among those who have donned a snout for the sake of realism. And the buzz among the “Hollywood-in-the-knows” crowd is that no one has ever seen what Orson Wells’ real nose looks like. 

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Let’s face it, Leonard Bernstein had a prominent shnoz. I submit to you that the incredibly skilled artists who carefully created the Bernstein look, did so for realism, not to make a mockery of Bernstein’s roots…and no, it is not analogous to “black-face.” 

I do appreciate the fact that Jews on the right and on the left seem to have finally found a common cause to rally around without fear of bringing attention to our Judaism.

But really? Is “Nose-Gate” the best we can do?  

Publicity photo of Bradley Cooper portraying Leonard Bernstein. (Photo: Maestro)

I do not downplay the horrendous tropes and offensive stereotypes aimed at our people. I am both vigilant and tenacious in my fight against Antisemitism. However, to those Jews who stand adamantly opposed to Bradley’s big beak… do you really think that Jews portrayed in film should only be played by Jewish actors? Specifically, Jews with small noses so we do not encourage the stereotype?

That would dramatically limit the roles we could play.

I am confident that the casting of Sarah Silverman to portray Leonard’s sister Shirley was not based on race, religion, or nasal prominence.

Diaspora Jews might consider rallying around issues like BDS on campus, elected officials opposed to our existence, Palestinian propaganda blaming Jews for all the world’s evil, or the five Jews recently murdered while dining with their families outside of Tel Aviv. 

When these issues are addressed, perhaps I will take “Nose-Gate” more seriously.  

Gary S. Branfman, MD studied radio, television, and film at New York City’s Queens College. Following a career in communications, he returned to school and became a board-certified plastic surgeon at the age of 38. He is the president of Congregation B’nai Israel in Victoria, Texas.

Dr. Branfman has appeared on various news organizations including “The Stream” on Al Jazeera, CBS evening news with David Begnaud and presently produces the podcast, “Never Again Live” with Meir HaLevi Weinstein.

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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