The 10-Year Anniversary of Rebecca, the Jewish American Girl Doll

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2009 was a big year for little Jewish girls. Doll company American Girl released Rebecca Rubin, the first Jewish doll in their historical collection.

Rebecca is a “turn-of-the-century daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants” in New York’s Lower East Side. The doll’s release was accompanied by six books about Rebecca and her family’s experience Jewish immigrants in the early 1900s.


The JT spoke with three young girls in Baltimore about what it meant to have a doll with Jewish background – including a then-12-year-old JT writer Shani Goloskov!

“I want it because she’s Jewish like me. We have something in common,” said Shani, now 22.

Mother Rina Goloskov agreed on the importance of a doll with a Jewish background.

“Having a character that is so relevant to [my girls] because of her Jewish identity gives them a tremendous sense of pride,” Rina said. “The…books will open their eyes to the Jewish immigrant experience that almost all their grandparents or great-grandparents had.”

Joan Firestein (then 7), had “a strong Jewish identity since toddlerhood.” Her parents noted that a Jewish American Girl doll “has only increased their daughter’s pride in being Jewish.”

“If your doll is Jewish, then you can play Hanukkah together,” said Joan, now 17. “Rebecca and ‘Little Joan’ [Joan’s Just Like Me American Girl doll] can teach Kit (another doll), who is Christian, about the Jewish holidays.”

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