This is from our guest blogger and colleague, Alice Rubin, who is currently working on the Keeping History Center, a very cool interactive installation that will open at the Museum in the fall.
Welcome Rebecca Rubin, American Girl’s first Jewish historical doll. Years in the making, Rebecca is from the Lower East side circa 1914. She has a lunch box filled with pickles, a bagel, and rugelach and dreams of being a movie star. The New York American Girl store was abuzz this past Sunday with little girls anxious to meet this Hebrew beauty.
One of those girls was my own “shana maidel,” Dinah (seen here). Our whole family feels a special kinship with Rebecca. Dinah declared that Rebecca looked “just like her” while I thought Rebecca’s hazel eyes were similar to mine and her russet colored hair like my grandma Mildred’s. Rebecca is also, like our family, of Russian-Jewish heritage, emigrating ten or so years after us. (Maybe JewishGen will tell me we really are related!) The most exciting part is sharing a last name with such a famous celebrity.
The author who is writing the Rebecca story series is Jacqueline Dembar Greene. Ms. Greene is noted for both her historical and non-fiction books for young readers. She has written several Jewish themed books including the Sydney Taylor Honor award winning Out of Many Waters. Which brings her full circle - Ms. Taylor wrote the seminal children’s story of immigrant Jewish-American life, All of Kind Family, one of my favorites growing-up.
P.S. Don’t tell Dinah, but guess what Grandma’s getting for her next week for her 7th birthday!
Editor’s note: In an interview with Ms. Greene in "Brooklyn Family" she talks about taking a trip to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in order to do research for Rebecca’s story. It's a great way for your American Girls (and Boys) to learn more about the time period, too.