German-Jewish beauty queen campaigns to raise awareness of antisemitism in Europe

The campaign aligns with Human Rights Day, celebrated December 10, as well as the Day of Human Solidarity which will be observed December 20.

Tamar Morali (photo credit: Courtesy)
Tamar Morali
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Tamar Morali, the first ever Jewish contestant in the Miss Germany Cooperation (MGC) contest, will be spearheading a campaign titled "SHALOM" to bring awareness to racist or antisemitic incidents and rhetoric plaguing certain areas of Germany as well as Europe throughout recent years. The campaign is due to kick-off on Dec. 10, to line up in time for Human Rights Day.
Using her newly found role as a beauty queen, Morali gathered some of the most influential German personalities to band together, using social media and an audience of more than 30 million followers spread across multiple celebrity accounts, to bring awareness to an issue that hits so close to home for the Jewish beauty queen.
"In recent years and months, there have been several racist and antisemitic incidents in Germany and Europe, which impacted all of us," Morali said. "These incidents should neither be accepted nor tolerated – by anyone! This is why we feel obliged to emphasize SHALOM, to raise awareness for a brighter and [more] peaceful future."
Morali explained in an email to The Jerusalem Post that she has thought long and hard about how to combat antisemitism in Europe and how to best bring attention to the topic, "especially after what happened in Halle." She decided the best option for success is to use the audience she earned from participating in the MGC and put that reach to good use, essentially becoming the face of the campaign.
"Instead of only the media or Jewish organizations reporting about antisemitic incidents, I want some of Germany's biggest influencers on Instagram to talk about these topics - so that a younger generation and furthermore, people in general who never heard about antisemitism before,  will be aware of what is [and open a discussion about it]," Morali told the Post.
Therefore, Morali decided to build the large community of German personalities to take action against racism and antisemitism, to make a "clear statement NOT to ignore such tragedies."
As a trademark and symbol to accompany the campaign, the community of stars will be displaying their specially made SHALOM hoodies throughout Instagram, created by JUVIA and made in Europe, inscribed with the word "shalom," both in Hebrew and English, front and back, respectively. Throughout these Instagram posts, the German influencers will post a picture of them wearing the hoodie accompanied by a statement about either antisemitism or racism.
The campaign aligns with Human Rights Day, celebrated December 10, as well as the Day of Human Solidarity which will be observed December 20.
Morali invites all who want to join the campaign, share their experiences dealing with racism and/or antisemitism, or even those who would just like to voice their opinions on the growing issue, are welcome to do so by sharing a picture to their Instagram account wearing the hoodie, tagging @placetob and hash tagging the post #SHALOM.
"NO one has to be ashamed to show who he/she is, where he/she comes from, what he/she believes in and loves. NO one should be afraid to be different. No one should hide his/her opinion. We should ALL come and stand for SHALOM," Morali said. "SHALOM is bold, SHALOM is courageous, SHALOM is different. SHALOM is peace."
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. She currently lives in Israel where she is completing her bachelor's degree in communications and business at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.
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 degree.
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," she said. "You [the Nazis] tried to destroy us, and we are still here and still have a voice and are even cooperating with the Germans."
“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.”
Tamara Zieve contributed to this report.