At a brunch held by the Miracle Drive of Johannesburg, South African-born Ilana Skolnik, who became a Jew more than 20 years ago inspired women with her amazing story.
Born Ellen Peters, Skolnik, who was raised as a Protestant in a “colored,” or mixed-race, family under apartheid, told the women 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.
Despite the obvious barriers of growing up colored in the 1950s and ’60s in South Africa, Skolnik was selected to represent the country’s non-white population in the 1973 Miss World competition held at London’s Royal Albert Hall. She was crowned Miss South Africa South in 1973, and later that year she came in ninth at the Miss World contest.
Skolnik told her amazing story of her journey to Judaism, and moved all those who attended.