22 November 2023
Dr. Ira Savetsky and his wife Lizzy Savetsky are using their platform to combat antisemitism and provide free plastic and reconstructive surgery to victims of hate crimes.
Dr. Ira Savetsky, a renowned celebrity plastic surgeon, has made headlines for his surgical expertise and his commitment to a noble cause that goes beyond the walls of his clinic. In a recent Instagram post, he urged individuals who had experienced hate crimes or were injured during the October 7 massacre in Israel to reach out to him for free plastic or reconstructive surgery. This initiative has garnered attention, shedding light on the growing fear gripping the Jewish community. Savetsky’s own experiences with antisemitism, as well as his wife Lizzy Savetsky’s activism, have made their family a symbol of resilience in the face of hate. Through their efforts, they hope to address the underlying fear that drives individuals to conceal their identities and offer a safe space for those affected by hate crimes.
A Wake-Up Call for All of Us
Savetsky’s mission to provide free medical care to victims of antisemitic violence is driven by a deep understanding of the fear and anxiety that permeate the Jewish community. One victim, Rafi, reached out to Savetsky after being brutally attacked in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. The assailant targeted Rafi simply because he identified as Jewish. Savetsky met with Rafi and offered his expertise to address the severe nasal injury sustained during the attack. Inspired by Rafi’s case, Savetsky took to social media to extend his support to others affected by hate crimes, emphasizing the importance of standing together in the face of adversity.
Empowering Individuals to Embrace Their Identity
The fear of antisemitism has led some individuals to conceal their Jewish identity, even going so far as to remove symbols of their faith. One young American Jewish college student reached out to Savetsky, expressing her desire to have a chai tattoo removed from her neck due to concerns about potential antisemitic incidents on campus. Savetsky acknowledged the disheartening reality of individuals feeling the need to hide their identity and emphasized the importance of empowering them. Through medical intervention and the creation of a safe space, Savetsky aims to help individuals embrace their identity without fear.
From Celebration to Tragedy
The Savetskys were in Israel on October 7, celebrating their son’s Upsherin and the holiday of Sukkot when news of the massacre broke. Sheltering in a bomb shelter at the King David Hotel, they were exposed to the unfolding atrocities. The couple had to navigate the delicate balance of being honest with their children about the events while protecting them from the gruesome details. This experience further solidified their commitment to taking action and contributing to the well-being of Jews both in Israel and abroad.
A Multidisciplinary Team of Volunteers
Savetsky has organized a multidisciplinary team of volunteer physicians, including anesthesiologists, dermatologists, and cosmetic dentists, to provide free care for victims of violent antisemitic hate crimes. The focus has primarily been on scar treatments, addressing the visible scarring resulting from hate crimes. In addition to assisting individuals in the United States, Savetsky has received requests from Israeli patients who require more extensive reconstructive surgery. Despite travel restrictions due to the ongoing situation, arrangements have been made for these patients to receive the necessary care.
A Palpable Increase in Antisemitism
According to Savetsky, there has been a palpable increase in antisemitism over the years. While he grew up with minimal security measures at synagogues and schools, today, heavily armed security is a common sight at Jewish institutions. The Savetskys themselves have been targets of antisemitism, receiving online harassment, threatening letters, calls, and emails. This alarming reality mirrors the experiences of Jews during Nazi Germany, highlighting the urgent need to address and combat antisemitism.
Dr. Ira Savetsky’s commitment to providing free medical care to victims of antisemitic violence is not only a testament to his surgical expertise but also a reflection of his dedication to combating hate. Through his initiative, he aims to empower individuals to embrace their Jewish identity without fear and offer a safe space for those affected by hate crimes. The Savetskys’ experiences with antisemitism and their resilience in the face of adversity serve as a powerful symbol of unity within the Jewish community. As they continue their efforts, they hope to inspire others to stand together and support one another during these challenging times.