9: Online catalog image, Hanukkah Gift Set, American Girl.

9: Online catalog image, Hanukkah Gift Set, American Girl.

American Girl is a brand of dolls and accessories originally built around stories focusing on various periods of American history. In 2009 the company released Rebecca Rubin, a historical character doll who is a nine-year-old Jewish girl living on the Lower East Side of New York in 1914. This toy Hanukkah Gift Set, complete with menorah, dreidel, and coins (gelt) is part of the Rebecca Rubin collection.

Suggested Activity: Have your students scroll through the American Girl online catalog at home or on their own devices in class. Then ask how they feel about having a Jewish doll within that collection, and whether and to what extent they think that her character and accessories help to define Jewishness to broader American audiences. Given Rebecca Rubin’s role within the larger American Girl series, do they think that a “Hanukkah Gift Set” is an appropriate accessory for this doll? Are there other accessories for Rebecca Rubin that they would like to suggest?  What does this gift set suggest is central to the holiday of Chanukah?

Invite your students to list or draw their own set of Chanukah accessories for a doll. As they create the set, they should consider the following questions: What might they add or take away from the gift kit marketed by American Girl, or how might they redesign the items on offer? In particular, would they present Chanukah gelt differently – as chocolate coins? As money? How would their character doll interact with the money – would she receive it as a gift? Give it away as charity?

Source: “Hanukkah Gift Set,” American Girl, https://www.americangirl.com/shop/ag/hanukkah-gift-set-f8736, (October 19, 2018).