Jewish American doll arrives
Little girls and rabbis have been waiting.
She's what little girls and rabbis have been waiting for: Rebecca Rubin is the first historically correct Jewish American doll.
American Girl, a Wisconsin-based company that is part of toy giant Mattel, just released the newest doll in its historical character line. The 18-inch Rebecca Rubin comes with a storybook that describes her life as a 9-year-old in 1914, the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, growing up on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
The cost: $95. You can add a set of Sabbath candlesticks and challah for $68.
The idea of a Jewish doll was already popular, said Julie Parks, a company spokeswoman. "It's really one of the top requests we've had for a long time."
In 2001 the company released a limited-edition doll, Lindsey Bergman, who was Jewish, but "her religious and cultural background was not the main focus of her story," Parks explained.
Hollywood, Fla., resident Jamie Frank said her daughters, ages 11 and 9, adore the dolls. They already own three, and will add Rebecca.
Before Rebecca arrived, Nessa Reich's two oldest daughters renamed their American Girl dolls to make them sound, well, Jewish. Nellie became "Devorah."
"We have a cultural icon we can call our own," said Rabbi David Mark of Temple Sholom in Pompano Beach, Fla.
Still, Rebecca's launch coincided with a bit of unfortunate publicity when news agencies reported that one Rebecca Rubin, 36, has been in hiding since 2006. The environmental activist is under indictment on arson charges connected to the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front, according to ABC News.
A "completely unrelated coincidence," says Parks.
Rebecca was chosen because it was a popular name for Jewish girls in 1905, the year the character was "born," Parks explained. Rubin is a common Jewish name that, when paired with Rebecca, provides a nice alliteration.