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Jewish Journal

Yentle Barbie?

by Chava Tombosky

December 7, 2010 | 9:32 am

Her name is Rebecca Rubin. Standing eighteen inches tall with fair skin, blue eyes and dirty blonde hair. She is the first “Jewish” American Girl Doll.  They say she lives with her European parents and Russian Bubbie.  I’m thinkin Rebecca may have a little gentile blood in her because of the blue eyes.  Not that all blue eyed girls have non-Jewish genes, but really, isn’t it odd that no one mentions what happened to Grandpa Rubin?  Just like Barbie, Rebecca too is from New York City and strives to be a working girl, an actress actually. Which then had me thinking, what if Mattel came out with Jewish Barbie? Could we call her Yentle Barbie? Would she be shorter? Would she have a nagging mom who said “Sure it’s Tuesday nice of you to call,” every time you pulled her string? Do you think Holly Hobby was Jewish? I mean, she had an easy bake oven and wore blue. Doesn’t her name remind you of Hava Nagila?

I was just at the toy store and they were selling a Moses doll next to a Jesus doll.  To say that I was offended they didn’t have a Matriarch Sara doll, or a Queen Esther doll, or even a Mary doll would not be exaggerating. 

While we’re on the subject, what about the Hans Solo action figure- was he Jewish? I’m pretty convinced Yoda was a total Jew Bu, he had the robes and the height and the whole “Buddha slogans” going for him. I think Princess Leah was Jewish. She looks Jewish. Mr. and Mrs. Potatoe head are clearly Jewish and not just because of their rotund figures or their inability to make decisions due to their constant worry, but because they wear hats. The verdict is still out on GI Joe. Who am I kidding, one could only wish. GI Jew would so be a Mosad who said “Betach” every time you wound his back. Transformers aren’t Jewish because they are fast. Jews don’t do anything fast, they think about their decision for a thousand years and then argue about it for centuries. Cabbage Patch dolls could have been Jewish since they were made out of vegetables which is Kosher. I think Cabbage Patch dolls were the first group of converts to enter the market. They were all born in the south on farmlands and shuffled into the adoption system. Technically you could convert any of them to your own religion of choice.

Back to Yentle Barbie.  What sort of car would she drive? A minivan? A convertible that had a license plate that read “From Daddy”. A mitzvah tank? Do you think Ken could come with Tzitzis and a removable beard? Would she be reform, conservative, modern orthodox, Chabad? I remember feeling very self conscious about keeping my dolls from ever becoming racist, which is why I was one of those children who had black and white dolls play together. I felt it was important to support toy equality.  Which is why I think Yentle Barbie needs a few different Jew dolls to keep her company. We could have Charedi Barbie, she comes with scarves. Chabad Barbie who comes with a plethora of wigs to choose from. Reform Barbie who has her own Torah scroll and pulpit. I’d like them all to play together and never argue over anything except possibly Ken’s beard.  Then maybe Rebecca Rubin can finally not feel like the outsider for having a non-Jewish grandfather. 

This Chanukah I am grateful for my daughter who has never dragged me into an American Girl Doll store but would rather shop in the BP department of Nordstroms and buy cool clothes that I can wear when I starve myself for a few days. She is beautiful and if I ever made a doll, it would be modeled after her and I’d call it the Yehudis Barbie. And no, she would not have a nagging mother doll that said annoying contrived Jewish phrases when you pulled her string.  But she would have an awesome house with mezuzahs, a miniature silver shabbos candlestick set, and a kosher kitchen for her mansion filled with diverse doll guests of every color, race, and creed. Yehudis Barbie would serve briskett, and Holly Hobby cakes and she’d have a smokin car, with a driver doll named Moses.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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My Big Fat Jewish life blog is featured in The Huffington Post and The Algemeiner Journal as well as The Jewish Journal. Chava has also written for Farbrengen Magazine, Soul...

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