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MCA/WCA Documentary Film Series - Bess Myerson: the One and Only Jewish Miss America

  • December 04, 2021
  • 6:00 PM
  • December 07, 2021
  • 7:00 PM
  • Zoom


Registration is closed

Bess Myerson: the One and Only

Jewish Miss America

Trailer: The One & Only Jewish Miss America

There will be a Zoom discussion on December 7 at 7:00 PM  with the Director and Producer of the film, David Arond. 

Description of the Film

In September 1945, Bess Myerson, Miss New York City, made history at the most famous beauty pageant in the world. In spite of anonymous phone calls to judges, threats from sponsors, and growing anti-Semitism, the daughter of struggling immigrants from Russia became the first Jewish Miss America. The judges could not change the point count: the beauty queen from the Bronx won the swimsuit competition, tied for first place in talent, and was top-ranked in interviews and evening wear.

But was the country ready for a Jewish Miss America?

“The One and Only Jewish Miss America” is the surprising story of Bess, her parents and sisters, and the Sholom Aleichem housing project that shaped so many Jewish families starting out in the United States.

This 51-minute documentary follows Bess from her improbable entrance in her local Miss New York City pageant through her heartbreak after winning when sponsors withdrew their support and tour stops closed their doors on Jews. Then discover how Bess partnered with the national Anti-Defamation League on an educational speaking tour promoting tolerance at high schools and other groups. The tour launched Bess Myerson’s lifelong mission to promote social justice and tear down the walls of discrimination and bigotry. Directed by award-winning documentarian David Arond, the “The One and Only Jewish Miss America” features historic footage from Bess Myerson’s life and recent interviews with Barra Grant, Bess Myerson’s only daughter; Abraham Foxman, former ADL executive director; and Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University - San Bernardino. Released in 2020, the documentary marks the 75th anniversary of the triumphant coronation of the one and only Jewish Miss America.

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