Saturday, May 22, 2010
The Beauty Queen Conversion
"The Shavuot story of Ruth might retell the journey of the most famous convert to Judaism, but South African-born Ilana Skolnik, who became a Jew more than 20 years ago and has lived in Israel ever since, has no less of an amazing story.
Born Ellen Peters, Skolnik, who was raised as a Protestant in a 'colored,' or mixed-race, family under apartheid, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that she had always felt a connection to Judaism and that one of her earliest memories was reciting the first chapters from the story of Ruth.
'It was only after I converted that I found out that my grandfather on my mother’s side had actually been called Saul Solomon Jacob Simson,' the 54-year-old Herzliya resident said. 'In addition, I had an uncle who was Jewish, and his family used to recite kiddush on Friday nights.'''
"S. African beauty queen's conversion mirrors Ruth's story" (Jerusalem Post)