Bess Myerson – Jewish Miss America

Stand for Israel  |  September 30, 2020

Bess Myerson - Jewish Miss America
Bess Myerson - Jewish Miss America

As World War II ended and the world first learned the true tragic effects of the conflict, especially the Holocaust, a happier story occurred. A Jewish woman won the most famous pageant in the United States for the first – and only – time. The Jerusalem Post’s Hannah Brown tells us about a new documentary on Bess Myerson, the Jewish Miss America:

For American Jews of a certain age, the name Bess Myerson is still a source of pride. Myerson was the first – and still the only – Jewish Miss America, winning the famed pageant in 1945, just months after the news of the full tragedy of the Holocaust had been reported and American Jews were still in shock over the horror.

This month marks 75 years since Myerson was crowned and a new documentary, The One and Only Jewish Miss America, by David Arond, has recently been released to celebrate that anniversary.

…the documentary spotlights her early life and probes the politics of the pageant and how she overcame antisemitism to win.

It shows how Myerson grew up in the Bronx with parents who immigrated to America from Russia. Her hardworking father was devoted to her, while her mother was distant, demanding and struggled with mental-health issues after the death of Myerson’s brother.

Myerson excelled in school and at music, both of which were accepted routes for bright children to overcome poverty and become solidly middle class in those days. Entering a beauty pageant was not expected for a Jewish young woman, no matter how lovely she looked…