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Doesn’t A “Miss Holocaust Survivor” Pageant Sound Like The Worst Idea Ever?

Submitted by on July 2, 2012 – 11:01 am2 Comments

Usually, it’s pretty easy to tell whether something is a good idea or a really, really bad idea. If it’s good, it helps people out in some way or makes their lives easier. If it’s a bad idea, well, it doesn’t. But, a story that came out of Israel recently falls somewhere in the grey area that exists between good and bad. And, we’re not really sure how to categorize it, so we need your help.

Here’s the situation: Recently, fourteen Jewish women agreed to take part in what was called a “Miss Holocaust Survivor” pageant in Haifa, Israel. The pageant—which was originally billed as a “celebration of life”—obviously stirred up a bunch of controversy, because it conjured up thoughts of the Holocaust and, to some people out there, capitalized off the pain and suffering that so many people went through during the Holocaust. While the organizers behind the pageant seemed to have the best intentions for the women who participated, the decision to hold the one-time event was seen as a very bad decision by some.

“It sounds totally macabre to me,” the chairwoman of Israel’s leading Holocaust survivors’ umbrella group said shortly after the event. “I am in favor of enriching lives, but a one-time pageant masquerading [survivors] with beautiful clothes is not what is going to make their lives more meaningful.”

Fair enough. The thought behind Colette Avital‘s statement was that the event played off the emotions of the Holocaust and didn’t really help the survivors at all. Many other people agreed with her point and thought the pageant was tasteless. However, the survivors themselves didn’t see it like that at all. In fact, all of them thought they were doing a very good thing when they took the stage in beautiful outfits and told their tales of survival.

“I have the privilege to show the world that Hitler wanted to exterminate us and we are alive,” one contestant said. “We are also enjoying life. Thank God it’s that way.”

So, which side are you on? We can understand the points made by both sides and aren’t sure whether there is a right or wrong answer here. So, was the “Miss Holocaust Survivor” pageant the best idea ever—or the worst? You make the call.

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