|Marisol doesn't celebrate Hanukkah, but she does celebrate nice clothes.|
Among my gang of AG girls, I have a major pagan and her younger sister, a faithful Roman Catholic, several nominal Christians, A gang member who feels Episcopalian, and some that really don't give a shit about Christianity beyond the cultural influence. However, I don't have any Jewish or Muslim girls. I have a mild fascination with Judaism the same way I have one with Islam or Catholicism, in that I like to study and learn about faiths not my own. I already know enough about Protestant/Non-denominational Christianity, being raised in it partially, and eventually chose to make a deconversion in my 20s. I own a copy of the Tanakh and read it in college, and will probably read it again, especially if I eventually have a Jewish gang member. But I don't purport to know everything about the faith.
American Girl was pretty lackluster on the Jewish front for some time. At first all they had was a Hannukah outfit and accessories which, despite a reformation at one point, have hung on through the years--and been misused by many people.2 Then there was Lindsey Bergman, Girl of the Year 2001-2002 who had one book which mentions that her older brother is having his bar mitzvah. Her traits are more like what TV Tropes calls Informed Judaism: a marker here and there but nothing really Jewish, more Jewish in opposition to Christianity. Then in 2009 after the removal of Pretty Princess 'Mantha, we got her replacement: Rebecca Rubin, a Russian-Jewish girl living in post-Titanic era New York City. Rebecca wasn't just nominally Jewish: her family keep the traditions and so does she and while she is only one example of living Jewish in Eastern Immigrant America era, she does it in a lovely way. I did pick up "Rebecca" soon after she came out, but only to customize into another historical I had planned as she was the perfect look for the job. And since Marisol Luna--my pretty Latina dancer--had started to find a love of early 1900s clothes, I gave her Rebecca's meet wear and started getting Rebecca's clothes for her here and there. Rebecca feels a major level of awkwardness in the US and the pressure to assimilate to the dominant faith by her peers. One of Rebecca's books that best show her discomfort is Candlelight for Rebecca, where she and her classmate Rose try to explain to the teacher that they don't want to participate in making Christmas decorations, but are told by the teacher that since Christmas is a national holiday, everyone celebrates it, and thus pushed into doing things that don't make her feel right or comfortable.3 Rebecca's grandparents assure her that she is free to feel discomfort and not want to do Christmas things, because Christmas is a Christian holiday, and tell the signifigance of and celebrating it in America freely, and it all works out for her.
For Hanukkah, Rebecca has a dress she loves wearing for the holidays, and it is quite relevant to her stories. Rebecca's Hanukkah Dress consists of a a purple striped dress with white sleeves and collar, a woven embroidered hairbow, cream tights, and cream shoes; the set was released the September after her release and just in time for the holidays. The current cost is $32 direct from AG--it was $28 when it came out, but costs rising and all. It's on eBay, and most of the prices are not a good one. Why are you on eBay for this? Just buy it from AG. I paid Gift for it--that is, in a holiday swap this was gifted to me.
Since I don't have Rebecca, Marisol Luna will be modeling Rebecca's wear for you, but they share face molds so it works. Marisol would have had three clothes changes, but Tara and I came to an understanding. My Marisol is a lot like book!Marisol, with the noted traits here of being a little ditzy, a touch snippy, allergic to chocolate, in love with Disney princesses, and beautiful with languages. And also being Felicity's first crush here, because she looks like a Latina version of Felicity's Dear Elizabeth. Like the others, this review contains LE Mini Rebecca.
|Hairbows: A staple of 1910s girl wear.|
|Oversleeve comes tucked up.|
|Tights. They're not exciting.|
|These are so damn cute for shoes.|
|Bows on the strap.|
|Sole and Heel.|
|Heel. Oh, heels on AG shoes. You ruin everything.|
|Hey y'all, look at my bow.|
|Sash ain't moving.|
And since Rebecca only had the Play Scenes and Settings paper dolls so far (and its offshoot the Pop-Up Scenes), her dress is shown. However it only came in one style, where the accessories come on separate pages, much like Cécile. And, much like Cécile I scanned and edited this set to look like it does for my blog, so don't go using it yourself.
Overall Feel: What's not to love? The dress has a lovely double layer look that was very chic and is very authentic. The purple draws it out of the standard holiday look and into a fancy party dress feel--beautiful, as Rebecca does not celebrate Christmas or even Giftmas, and so she wouldn't really want a set that said "Christian Holiday." I especially love the sheer undersleeves and collar, and the sash being loose around the hips, as things would start turning towards in the 20s. The hairbow I wish I could tie better, but even with visible knot, the pattern is lovely and flashy without being too much. The shoes are cute too--well, except the part where putting them on Marisol makes her hips pop forward. AG, stick to flats or very small heels.
Cost Value: $32 is average AG cost for an outfit that comes with dress, stockings, shoes, and a hairbow, so it's not too bad in my view. I really can't give it value except as an awesome gift from a friend I'm still in contact with, but if it hadn't been a gift I'd have bought it for myself for the cost given. Don't even look at eBay. Go to AG, pick it up, and don't get yourself frustrated with the eBay racket. Beckie is not AG available, but if you can find her at a respectable cost and you like minis, pull the lever, Kronk.7
Authenticity: Yes. The sheer collar and sleeves give that guimpe look that was hella popular at the time and--while not actually a separate undershirt--I can see it being done that way. Also, rather than a wide or overly elaborate skirt, or poofy bodice and sleeves, her look is a lot sleeker and more slimming--a look that went forward into the 20s. Not flapper style, really. Just slimmer than the Edwardian and late Victorian outward, elaborate consumption profile.
Appropriateness to Character: Yes, it is. Rebecca adores the dress and has been wearing it for several Hanukkahs at the point of the story. Here, Marisol wears it for a fancy historical look--which is fine. It's labeled a Hanukkah dress for story context, but it's not really culturally Jewish so much as it is the dress that Rebecca likes wearing during her favorite, very personal holiday--one that her family holds on to in a country that was pushing the melting pot idea as long as you left all your personal flavor out of it. (England, can't believe you took over so many chunks of the world for spices and then had the nerve to lead to white people not flavoring their food.) Around here Rebecca, Molly, Julie, and Samantha give up their clothes to my gang for the betterment of others. You can call me a hypocrite since I'll cut your pretty eyes for putting the DoC clothes on the white dolls, but fuck you, I put the fancy dresses on the ethnic dolls and not the other way around cause I'm not scared of brown dolls. I just keep my gang mostly DoC.
Final Grade: A. Sweet and unique just like Rebecca--and Marisol.
1 Or axial tilt. Whatever warms your little heart up in the cold.
2 Let's later tell the fun story of the person who had her dolls "celebrate" Passover with a menorah and dolly matzah ball soup. That was some SHIT.
3 And that, folks, is why Christians don't get to bitch about a War on Christmas when they've tried to smash out every other faith's holiday by claiming they're the universal Winter Holiday.
4 It's an awesome book if you're trying to sew historical era clothing for Samantha, as the book was originally published in about 1906. Be warned though, that they didn't hold your hand in the 1900s. The patterns are not full sized and don't show every step.
5 I'm pretty sure that most AG shoes are made of pleather or vinyl.
6 I generally hate AG's doll stands, and can get a doll to stand without it. I generally can have an AG stand without a stand. I don't own any for the Gang.
7 Wrong lever--why do we even have that lever.