The Shmooze

Orthodox Top Model Now an IDF Tank Instructor

By Nathan Jeffay

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The Shmooze hasn’t heard much about Esther Petrack since she was eliminated from “America’s Next Top Model” 18 months ago. Before then, she sent a flutter of excitement through American Jewry at the prospect of having a Jewish — and Orthodox noch — winner of the show.

Now, Israel’s Channel 2 has reported, she is on her way to becoming a tank instructor in the Israeli army. She has been serving in the Israel Defense Forces since December.

Any words of reflection from her? Apparently — surprise, surprise — soldiers are more pleasant to be around than models. “My nails are no longer what they were, but the girls in the course are nicer than those on the show,” she told Channel 2.

In an interview with Haaretz she said that army service “gives you such a feel for Israel” and reflected on her religious identify — which became a subject of controversy when she was on television. She said, “I am proud of my Judaism and have never really hidden it,” and went on to say of her observance of the Sabbath and the dietary laws: “It’s part of me. But at its core it’s so much more than a religion, or whether you believe in God and go to shul [synagogue] a few times a year or a few times a week. It’s our culture. It’s who we are as a people, as a connected group and with a group history.”


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