Students on new ‘Rebecca Rubin’ doll


Rebecca Rubin — a real doll, by some accounts — managed to divert some of the focus of the immigration experience re-enactment that took place last week at the Saul Mirowitz Day School-Reform Jewish Academy.

Students took part in the re-enactment to learn what their ancestors and others suffered to come to the United States to start new lives (see related article), but some of the girls were all abuzz about the newest American Girl character doll.


The 18-inch doll, named Rebecca Rubin, is a nine-year-old Jewish American girl who lives with her parents, siblings and grandparents on the Lower East Side in New York City in 1914. The doll sells for $95, and the manufacturer has announced that “historically accurate and culturally authentic clothes and accessories” will also be available.

“This is exciting — a friend told me in January that this doll was coming out,” said Rebecca Bloom, 11, a fifth grader at the school. “She read about it on”

Rebecca noted that all the girls in her class have American Girl dolls, but she also has a friend named Rebecca Rubin, which makes the release of the new doll even more special. “We’ll celebrate,” she said.

Author Jacqueline Dembar Greene has penned six books for American Girl about young Rebecca’s life: Meet Rebecca, Rebecca and Ana, Candlelight for Rebecca, Rebecca and the Movies, Rebecca to the Rescue and Changes for Rebecca.

In the first book, readers meet Rebecca, Mama, Papa (who owns a shoe repair shop), 14-year-old twins Sadie and Sophie, brothers Benny, 5, and Victor 12, Grandpa, Bubbie and Cousin Max. Other characters include Mrs. Berg, who wants “nothing but the best,” and Leo Berg, “a conceited boy in Rebecca’s class.”

Robert Hunt provided lovely color illustrations, Susan McAliley contributed vignettes, and a glossary of Yiddish words used in the text is included. An essay, “Looking Back: America in 1914” concludes the book.

Gaelyn Hartranft, 11, said she probably would read the new books, and added that she enjoys playing with the two American Girl dolls that she already owns.

“I will read the books and get the doll if I can,” said Genna Barashick, 11. “It’s cool that Rebecca Rubin is telling her story about immigrating, and it’s cool that she is Jewish.”