Rebecca Doll Ignites Shopping Frenzy - NBC Chicago

Rebecca Doll Ignites Shopping Frenzy

First Jewish Doll Debuts at American Girl



    It's not uncommon to see little girls happily hopping down the Mag Mile with American Girl bags in hand after scoring the latest doll and accessories at the Chicago store.

    But there were a few more than usual Sunday after the American Girl doll company officially unveiled a new character to its multi-ethnic lineup. She's Rebecca Rubin, a Jewish Russian immigrant girl living on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1914.

    "We had over a 100 girls that were wrapped around Michigan Avenue to our Chestnut Street entrance this morning," general manager Gar Crispell said.

    The first 100 girls in line received a goody bag with Rebecca accessories, and a free doll was given away every hour during the day.

    Meet Rebecca Rubin The New American Girl

    [CHI] Meet Rebecca Rubin The New American Girl
    Today was the launch of the latest American Girl Doll at the Michigan Avenue store. Rebecca is the first Jewish-American doll to be added to the collection.
    (Published Tuesday, July 28, 2009)

    "We got up at 4 a.m. this morning, got here at 5:30 and were the first in line," said Erin Bechler of Ohio, who brought her daughter to the store. "We weren't lonely for too long."

    "We went on and checked it out. It had a lot of information on the Rebecca doll, but it didn't do it justice. She looks much better in person," fifth-grader Tammy Bechler said.

    Eve Diaz, who's in the eighth grade, started collecting the dolls when she was 5 and now has about 20 in her collection.

    "I think adding each doll brings them all together and helps me understand the history of each time period that they represent," Diaz said.

    But the doll carried special significance for many of the Jewish families at the store. Anne Silverman said her husband's grandparents came to the country through Ellis Island.

    "It's very important because we all bring traditions with us into our homes and their friends bring traditions into our homes, and because we're a country with so many cultures we're constantly learning about each other and our traditions," Silverman said.

    Stacy Blum's husband is from New York and sees similarities between Rebecca's storyline and their own.

    "Our family is Jewish and we have a similar Jewish history, and our daughter is in Jewish pre-school and she was very excited to hear about it," Blum said.

    Jewish leaders who've seen the Rebecca doll and read the accompanying books say they're generally impressed.

    Rebecca joins the Middleton, Wis.-based company's other dolls such as Addy, the escaped slave, and Kaya, the native American.

    American Girl dolls cost about $95 each.