I proclaim my religion upon my face. Not so many years ago, in Nazi Europe, a nose with my dimensions declared Judaism as easily as a yellow star. For my grandmothers, aunts, and mother, the stereotypes remained and the distaste internalized. It was easy to hate my own nose as a child, poking and prodding my profile in the mirror to be straight like the rest of my assimilated family’s faces. However, despite those years of dissociation from my stereotypically Semitic reflection, I remain the first woman in my family to refuse cosmetic surgery.
I don’t know exactly why I turned away from the procedure when it was offered after my bat mitzvah; at 13 I wanted to fit in as much as any of my ancestors. However, I’m infinitely glad that I left my face alone. I’m proud to display my profile as a mark of my heritage. It forms my own unique and ancient beauty, representing both my Jewish past and personal future.