For generations, Barbie's hourglass "perfect" figure has confounded experts in anatomy, while giving girls a role model of debatable merit.
Now there's a doll whose appearance is more modest, who looks like kids and whose values are distinctly Jewish.
Created by Aliza Stein of Teaneck, N.J., Gali Girls wear clothes that are not made to accentuate their bodies. Accessories include a matching Magen David bracelet for the owner and the doll, a Hebrew and English birth certificate and a separate wooden Shabbat kit that can be painted.
Gali Girls are designed to encourage girls to bring positive Jewish values, such as kindness, respect, and charity, into their doll play, Stein said.
At 18 inches, Gali Girls are about the same size as some dolls made by Mattel Inc. and American Girl Dolls, but they are designed to be childlike playmates, not miniversions of some fantasy adult that a child may want to grow up to be.
"Young girls adopt dolls as their friends, even as their own children," Stein said. "They create stories, role play and live out lives as they are or how they wish it could be. Having a doll with a Jewish identity reinforces values, and gives girls a certain sense of religious pride."
Stein introduced the doll at the August 2004 Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education conference.
The dolls come with brown, blond or red straight hair. A version with curly hair seems mandatory for a Jewish line of dolls, and apparently that one is in the works.
Gali Girls from Gali Girls Inc. cost $55-60, but can be purchased at discount prices for school and organizational fundraisers. To order, call (201) 862-1989 or visit www.galigirls.com.