JWR Schticks and groans

Jewish World Review / May 8, 1998 / 12 Iyar, 5758

Mothers' Day is May 10. If you somehow managed to forget to get a gift for that very special Mom of yours, first all, SHAME ON YOU! After all she's done!! Anyway, may we suggest ...

Judaica Barbie

By Erica Meyer Rauzin

MY FRIEND LORIE has an idea or two for the Mattel people.

Lori is an active volunteer in Jewish circles and was honored recently at a dinner at her synagogue. She was recognized, along with 11 other ladies, as past presidents of the congregation's sisterhood. Each of the dozen past presidents was called to the podium, given a lovely gift, and asked to make a few remarks.

When Lori's turn came, she took a novel approach. A woman of great warmth, Lori is known for her professionalism as a social worker helping older people, her hard work as a volunteer, her attentive parenting, and her sense of humor. She can almost say anything, completely deadpan ---and get away with it.

She stood up at dinner and said: "When I was at the toy store this week, I saw some new Barbie dolls."

First Lori told them, straight faced: "I saw Morah Barbie. She had a chalkboard, some bottled water and comfortable flat shoes."

In the audience, people began murmuring to each other in all seriousness: "I was in Toys R Us and I didn't see that!"

Then, Lori explained, "I saw Rebbetzin Barbie. She had a serious but sweet face and a very big pocketbook with everything in it that anyone could ever need: extra aspirin, a few hair clips, and plenty of tissues."

Even the slowest, least toy-aware people began to grin.

"Last," Lori stated, "I saw Sisterhood President Barbie. She has a beeper, a fat day-planner bulging with extra notes and two cellular phones."

Needless to say, in an audience where everyone came to honor one or more former sisterhood presidents, people were in stitches.

On this Mothers' Day weekend, I note Lori's concept with awe. If Mattel was interested, I'd order the complete set. In fact, I'd like to add to it.

Here are a few more Judaic Barbies:

There's Bubbe Barbie, a little more zaftig than the current (or even renovated) model, but with energy to spare. She has a ticket to the Philharmonic and a computerized list of the grandchildren's birthdays. If that's not contemporary enough, she's also got a golf bag and a red sports car.

Then there's Car-pool Barbie, who is only available in a seated pose. She comes with the standard pink plastic van, including portable snacks, a local road map and little Skippers in three different schools on three different schedules.

There's Jewish Day School Teenage Barbie, with a phone growing out of her ear, a chic little backpack carrying a list of her friends' "e"-addresses and a department store shopping bag filled with skin medications, hair potions and chocolates.

And then there's my favorite, Clone-Me-Mom Barbie, which is actually five identical models that function in complete coordination with each other: Domestic Barbie, Car pool Barbie (see above), Office Barbie (please note the crispy little suit), Jewish Organization Barbie, and Mom Barbie, who can pay quality attention to all the kids all the time because Domestic Barbie is cooking and cleaning. Car pool Barbie is driving, Jewish Organization Barbie is handling the synagogue brunch and the PTA, and Office Barbie is earning some bucks.

See, toys can be grown-ups, too.

How many Barbie-clones would it take for you to farm out chores to Mattel? Give it a shot: you'll just have to stand in line behind me ... and Lori.

New JWR contributor Erica Meyer Rauzin comments on the contemporary Jewish condition.

©1998, Erica Meyer Rauzin.