|Born||Esther Alexandra Petrack|
March 31, 1992
Esther Alexandra Petrack (born March 31, 1992) is an American fashion model who was a contestant on Cycle 15 of the American reality TV show America's Next Top Model in 2010. Petrack is a Modern Orthodox Jew from Boston, Massachusetts.
Childhood[edit | edit source]
Petrack was born in Jerusalem, lived in France as a child, and was raised in Brookline, Massachusetts. She attended Maimonides School in Brookline, where she participated in running a kosher soup kitchen. She told The Jewish Advocate that she missed her high school graduation because she was filming for the show while she told Maimonides that she was visiting relatives in France.
America's Next Top Model[edit | edit source]
Petrack applied to Cycle 15 of America's Next Top Model during her senior year of high school. She was featured in one of the first promotional advertisements for the show. The premiere of Cycle 15 was on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year; prior to the premiere, Petrack posted on her Facebook page that she would not be able to watch the premiere until two days later because of her observance of the holiday. Petrack ranked 7th out of 14 contestants.
ANTM and Judaism[edit | edit source]
ANTM allowed Petrack to follow Judaism's kosher food laws; they allotted her a weekly budget to purchase food of her choice and disposable plates and cutlery. According to her mother, she "toveled" pots (Judaism's ritual to purify dishes made of certain materials) in the Pacific Ocean. In the episode of October 20, an entire segment was devoted to Petrack's Judaism and the degree to which it differentiated her from the other girls. During the segment, Jane Randall asked her to say something in Hebrew (she responded, "Shmi Esther—"My name is Esther") and the camera zoomed on the cabinet marked, "Esther's Stuff," containing all of her kosher materials. Some blogs favored her involvement, others did not.
Controversy[edit | edit source]
Petrack has encountered much criticism from the Orthodox Jewish world for her participation on a show which is often thought to be detrimental to women's body image. Writers for the Tablet Magazine, The Jewish Chronicle, and Finkorswim.com were disappointed with Petrack's supposed response "I would do it" when Tyra Banks asked her whether she would forgo Sabbath observance to participate in the show. In addition, the administration of Petrack's alma mater, Maimonides School, was very critical of her participation in the show.
On October 19, 2010, Petrack's mother, Marina, responded to the accusations that her daughter would give up her religious observance for a spot on the show, calling the accusations "scandalous" and blaming the editing on America's Next Top Model for extracting four words, "I will do it," from a "long conversation about the principles and laws of shabbat and how Esther was planning to observe them." 
After ANTM[edit | edit source]
As of June 2011[update], Petrack was working as a waitress in Jerusalem while studying Hebrew at Hebrew University. Although she had plans to continue her undergraduate studies in Barnard College for the fall of 2012, she has since immigrated permanently to Israel. She is now serving in the Israeli Army, the IDF. She was signed with the Israeli fashion agency A.D.D. and worked with Grip for its Winter 2010/2011 collection.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Chava Mond - another Jewish Orthodox model
References[edit | edit source]
- Maimonides students run the region's only kosher soup kitchen - Allston-Brighton, MA - Allston/Brighton TAB. Wickedlocal.com(2012-11-18). Retrieved on 2012-11-22.
- The Boston-Hollywood connection | www.thejewishadvocate.com | Jewish Advocate. The Jewish Advocate.com (2012-11-18). Retrieved on 2012-11-22.
- Petrack 's Facebook page. Facebook.com (2012-11-18). Retrieved on 2012-11-22.
- Esther Petrack: Modern Orthodox Jewish Girl on America's Next Top Model Drops Shabbos on Television. Finkorswim.com (2012-11-18). Retrieved on 2012-11-22.
- Esther Kustanowitz (2014-08-11). ""Modern Orthodox" – ANTM Contestant Gives Up Sabbath for Modeling - Idol Chatter". Blog.beliefnet.com. Retrieved 2014-08-15.
- Tablemag.com (2012-11-18). Retrieved on 2012-11-22.
- A religious model? | The Jewish Chronicle. Thejc.com.com (2012-11-18). Retrieved on 2012-11-22.
- WHDH-TV - Brookline beauty on America's Next Top Model. Whdh.com (2012-11-18). Retrieved on 2012-11-22.
[edit | edit source]
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