Israeli TV Show Highlights Israel's Vibrant Democracy

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The Master Chef TV program, Israel's main reality television cooking show that features a competition on who can cook best, has concluded with title of master chef being bestowed to Tom Franz, a German convert to Judaism who presently is a lawyer. Second place went to Salma Fiyumi, an Israeli Arab Muslim nurse with a masters' degree who lives in Kfar Kassem, and third place went to Jackie Azoulay, a religious woman from the haredi city of Elad. The winners of the Master Chef TV program represent the diversity of Israeli society, and demonstrate how Israel, as a democratic state, values pluralism. An Arab Muslim woman who wears hijab would not win second place in a cooking competition in an apartheid state.


Tom Franz has an interesting life story. He made Aliyah to Israel at the age of 30, after undergoing a formal conversion to Judaism. Tom Franz was born and raised into a Christian family in Germany. Yet, he felt Judaism is where he belonged, so he got circumcised as an adult, started to keep kosher and observe Shabbat, and married a Jewish Israeli woman named Dana. Interestingly, he was more knowledgeable about the Jewish faith than his wife. According to Dana, "I was in shock. I realized that this person dreamed of being a Jew and knows a thousand times more than me about Judaism." Dana, who was raised in a secular family, was inspired by Tom to keep kosher and to live a more observant lifestyle.

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Posted on Shalom Adventure by: Brenda Miller

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