Aren’t you tired of toys being non-inclusive? Barbie has been one of the leading toys since 1959–and yet, we’ve hardly seen Barbie (or really, most mainstream toys) truly take real risks. (Yes, I do love the fact that Barbie has different body types and ethnicities now, but is that really enough?)
This is why I absolutely love what Torah scribe and educator Jen Taylor Friedman has done with a bunch of Barbie dolls–she made an inclusive, LGBTQ-friendly, and racially diverse minyan–which she posted about on her Facebook. This is what she said:
“Intersectional Barbie Dream Minyan points to the Jews who are still excluded, not intentionally but effectively, from our communities. Barbies of many different ethnicities, wearing tallit and tefillin, are having a Torah reading.
All the Barbies are wearing long denim skirts and three-quarter length sleeves. That’s how I do Tefillin Barbies. They’re also all wearing tallitot. One of the Barbies isn’t wearing tefillin, and she’s wearing a jaw-length sheitl. Perhaps she put her tefillin on before she left home, or perhaps she just doesn’t do tefillin at this point in her life.
Some of the Barbies are Black, some of them are Brown. Some of them are tan, some of them are pale. Maybe some of them are Sephardic and some are Maghrebi and one is an adult convert and one was adopted and converted as a child. One of them has blue hair. One of them has red hair, and one of them has red highlights. Nobody in this minyan ever says “But where are you *really* from?” or “But surely you weren’t born Jewish.” Some of them are what Mattel calls “curvy.” Some of them are short.
One of the Barbies has a white cane and dark glasses. You can’t see her Braille siddur in the picture. She doesn’t need it right now anyway because they’re about to do hagbah. Another of the Barbies is sitting down because she has mobility issues and chronic pain. Another one has depression, and another one has hearing issues, but you can’t tell which ones.
Two of the Barbies are married to each other. One of the Barbies is trans.
One of the Barbies couldn’t afford a set of tefillin for herself, and the community helped out. Some of these Barbies didn’t go to college, or were the first in their families to go to college. One of them works in construction.
All the Barbies are deeply conscious that they’re all awfully young. The artist has not the skill to repaint Barbie faces to make them look older, nor to make their hair grey.
In principle, Kens are welcome in this minyan, but today they’re outside fixing breakfast, which is why you can’t see them.”
There’s so much to love about this. Really, there’s nothing NOT to love.