Jewish Harvard grad aims for Miss America crown

1945 winner Bess Myerson

1945 winner Bess Myerson

The granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor is in the running to become the next Miss America.

Harvard graduate Loren Galler Rabinowitz, whose parents are both doctors, won the Miss Massachusetts contest last year, making her the state’s representative for the national pageant.

Ms Rabinowitz, 24, is a former ice-skating champion. She entered her first pageant with the hope of using the prize to fund medical school.

Her grandmother Eva Galler was the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust. She escaped the Nazis by jumping from a train on the way to Belzec concentration camp.

Her grandfather Henry served in the Polish army under the Soviet Union during the Holocaust.

At just over five foot two Ms Rabinowitz is shorter than the average pageant hopeful. She told The Forward: “I don’t fit the [traditional] profile.

"Anthropologically, it’s been so interesting.”

Ms Rabinowitz is the only Jewish candidate this year. If she is victorious she will become the second Jewish Miss America in history, following in the footsteps of Bess Myerson.

The 1945 winner, Ms Myerson faced antisemitism but ignored advice to use a less Jewish pseudonym. The five foot ten activist later served as the National Commissioner for the Anti-Defamation League.

Miss America 2011 will take place on January 15.

Last updated: 5:21pm, January 4 2011