The creators of the American Girl doll have added a new Jewish doll to their line of 14 other historically-themed models. She is Rebecca Rubin, who represents the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants to the United States in the early 20th century.
Rebecca joins the other ethnically-themed dolls in the series, each of which is marketed as 'a girl just like you.' The toy line also includes a Native American doll, a daughter of Irish immigrants and an African-American girl. The Jewish immigrant doll retails for $95. In the booklet sold with the doll, she is described as a poor resident of the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1914. Rebecca officially goes on sale on May 31.
The launch of the Hispanic doll in the series engendered complaints from the Hispanic community in the US, because the accompanying material suggested that the doll represented a girl who lived in a dangerous neighborhood. There has been no advance criticism from the Jewish community about how Rebecca is presented. The series was said to be designed to provide inspiration to young girls, and Rebecca is not only a good cook and a good friend; she can also, when necessary, deliver a stirring speech about workers' rights.
There has been interest in the American Jewish community in the doll and its potential to encourage children to research their own families' histories. Some of the dilemmas confronting a Jewish girl on the Lower East Side of New York in 1914 are not totally foreign to Jews in the U.S. today. Material included with the doll includes an explanation from Rebecca's grandfather as to why he has to open his store on the Sabbath.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now