“In a country where Jews experienced unbelievable horrors, for the first time in history there will be a Jewish contestant for Miss Germany,” said Tamar Morali, who seeks to be the first-ever Jewish Miss Germany.
Organizers of the nationwide beauty pageant have told her that she is the first-ever Jewish contestant to reach these stages and make it as a participant in the competition, Morali, 21, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
“I see my candidacy not only as a personal achievement but as an achievement for the State of Israel and for the Jewish people in the Diaspora – that in Germany, a country with a very complex history with regard to the Jewish people, there is the first Jewish contestant for the title,” Morali said.
Morali was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, and moved to Vienna when she was eight. She explained that her parents wanted her and her siblings to grow up in a traditional Jewish environment and found that to be easier in Vienna than in Karlsruhe, which has a very small Jewish community.
In Vienna, she and her siblings went to a Jewish school, studied Hebrew and joined a Jewish movement. At 17, Morali came on a gap year to Israel with Bnei Akiva and, after falling in love with the country, decided to return for her BA degree in communications and business, which she is currently completing at Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
Morali’s interest in fashion and lifestyle is what ultimately drew her to the beauty pageant. She recently participated in Vienna Fashion Week in which she took first place in the Look Style Awards. It was there that she expanded her connections in the field and listened to recommendations that she should apply to Miss Germany 2018.
She submitted her candidacy online and was subsequently invited to a weekend in Italy for interviews, photo shoots and preparation for the next stage, becoming one of the top 20 finalists in the online category.
She was delighted to find that her Jewish identity aroused great curiosity among both the organizers and the other contestants.
“They asked me a lot of questions about my Jewish background and how it is to live in Germany as a Jew,” she said, saying that the reactions were overwhelmingly positive, open and respectful. She also noted that they were impressed to hear her speaking in Hebrew to her Israeli mother.
Morali said that just as it is important for her to be a representative of the Jewish people, it is also important to her to showcase the positive, open aspects of today’s German and Austrian societies.
“I am proud to be a German Jew,” she said, stressing that while she is by no means saying that the painful past of Nazi Germany should be forgotten, it’s important to highlight the strength of the Jewish community there today.
“They are not hiding – they are proud to have survived and to have created such a big community. You [the Nazis] tried to destroy us, and we are still here and still have a voice and are even cooperating with the Germans,” she said.
“I’m not saying we should forget the past,” she repeated, “but to find a way that we can all live in peace, and I think this is a good start.”
On Sunday, online voting for Miss Internet of the Miss Germany competition will begin, the winner of which will compete in the final of Miss Germany.
Of course, Morali ultimately dreams of becoming Miss Universe.