In Israel, Reigning Miss Universe Gifted Star of David Ring Engraved With ‘Am Yisrael Chai’
The reigning Miss Universe winner was gifted a Star of David ring by El Al Airlines after she arrived in Israel this week ahead of the beauty pageant’s upcoming competition in Eilat.
Andrea Meza, 27, was in Israel in mid-November to tour Jerusalem’s Old City before the start of the 70th Miss Universe contest, set to take place on Dec. 12, but then flew to New York City to take part in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She returned to Israel on Wednesday.
After Meza landed in Ben Gurion Airport, Jewish jewelry designer Rachel “Rachie” Shnay was invited to board the plane and personally give Meza the symbolic diamond ring on behalf of El Al Airlines. The 14K white gold Mazel Baguette Ring designed by Shnay is engraved with the Hebrew words “Am Yisrael Chai” (“The nation of Israel lives”).
The airline also presented Meza with a personalized note, signed by El Al CEO Avigal Soreq, expressing hope that this “stay in Israel is a highlight of your reign as Miss Universe. Please accept this symbolic gift … the Magen David, a Jewish and the national symbol of Israel, as a reminder of your flight with us and your visit to Israel.”
The ring is part of Shnay’s popular Mazel Collection, which donates 10 percent of its proceeds to the organization My Soldier in support of IDF soldiers.
“I’m a grandchild of four Holocaust survivors and the Magen David [“Star of David”] was a symbol that was used against us,” she told The Algemeiner on Thursday. “The Nazis made it something we were ashamed and afraid to wear so I wanted to create a collection that would encourage people to be proud of their Judaism, and chic, cool and relevant.”
She said giving the ring to Meza “was a pivotal moment in my career and in Israel’s history.”
“It brought up a lot emotions as many people had tried to advise me not to expose my passion for advocacy on my business platform,” she explained. “When Miss Universe put on the Mazel Ring in Israel, that was the most surreal moment as it encapsulated everything I’ve been trying to emulate with this collection, supporting universal tolerance and strengthening Jewish pride and supporting Israel’s continuity.”
The Miss Universe contestants this week are touring Jerusalem’s Old City and many met on Tuesday with local female politicians and heads of nonprofits, as well as with Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, The Jerusalem Post reported. They also watched as Lion lit candles to mark the third night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, and visited the Tower of David Museum and The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.