The Conspiracy

Meet Rebecca.

Meet Rebecca.  The Jewish American Girl.

Meet Rebecca. The Jewish American Girl.

In the Fall 2007 Issue of New Voices, Chloe Safier asked a question that raised debate among readers and attracted tons of traffic to our website.  The question?

“Why Is There No Jewish American Girl Doll?”

Today our question is finally answered, and not just by a clueless Mattel PR rep.  It appears that after a very long wait, a Jewish American Girl Doll will soon be a reality!  Enter, Rebecca Rubin of 1914 New York City.

Though the American Girl Website has yet to make an official announcement, rumors are flying and the launch date appears to be drawing near.  At blogs like Doll Diaries, fans are excited by photos that have leaked, responding with remarks like, “She is SOOO adorable! I want her so bad!”

It is slightly ironic that this this news should coincide with the launch of New Voices’ Money Issue, in which editor Josh imagines a U.S. where Jews don’t have money and ponders the implications for the community.  The American Girl Dolls (and their many, many accessories) are undeniably expensive and undeniable status symbols for the little girl set.  With the advent of Rebecca, Jewish parents will have to purchase this Jewish doll for their pre-Bat Mitzvah age kids (never mind, they already have the red headed frontier girl) and they will have to be willing to pay the price (including trips to the the doll hair salon and cafe).  But is purchasing Rebecca just another “performance of wealth” that Josh describes in his piece?  If so, is it a performance for the parents, or for the 10 year olds?  What message does it send to a tween to receive a seriously expensive doll in the midst of a recession?

Don’t get me wrong, I had a Samantha Doll when I was young and had a Jewish one been around then, I would’ve wanted her too.  It’s just worth considering whether a Jewish doll- sure to be a hit among Jews- is much different than an overly opulent Bar Mitzvah.

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6 Older Responses to “Meet Rebecca.”

  1. Naomi
    May 26, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    You’re right about the incredible irony that the release of this expensive doll poses. However, maybe parents could use this as a tool to teach their children about how to use money wisely. When I was about 8 years old, I decided that I really, really wanted the Addy doll (because I loved her books so much). Instead of asking my parents to buy her for me, I secretly saved up my $2 weekly allowance in an envelope, making hash marks for every dollar that got added to my little pile. After about a year, I approached my parents with my envelope of 84 singles (that was the cost of an American Girl doll back then) and proudly announced that I wanted to buy the Addy doll. My parents were astounded and impressed. (They then told me about a little thing called sales tax and shipping and handling… but said that they would cover those costs as a reward for my patience and resourcefulness ;-] ).

    Maybe in this day and age it’s high time for parents to encourage their children to learn how to save up for something they want, instead spending 90 dollars on a luxury toy at the drop of a hat. I think it would be a nice thing for little Jewish girls to have a Jewish doll. And like their tenement house heroine, they could scrimp and save a little bit, too. They’d probably end up appreciating their doll all the more, and the experience probably wouldn’t hurt their characters, either.

  2. Carol A.
    May 28, 2009 at 11:12 pm #

    I think it is precisely because many people today associated Jews with being rich that it is important to teach this history lesson. Most Jews who came to this country were very poor. The American Girls dolls are great vehicles for teaching the history of this country to 5-10 year old girls so I think the doll is a great idea. the New Voices article bemoaned the lack of a Jewish American girl and now she is here!

  3. Melanie
    June 1, 2009 at 12:36 pm #

    The question of how The American Girl doll company managed to miss the Jewish demographic–and the request that such an oversight be fixed–is even older than you think: interns for Lilith magazine wrote up their request in the fall of 1999, a full decade ago. (You can download the article on Lilith’s homepage, at http://www.Lilith.org.)

    Let’s hope addressing the rest of those money issues doesn’t take as long!

  4. Delaney
    August 13, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    I’m not Jewish but I have a correction to make. Kirsten is a blonde jewish frontier girl.

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