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March 28, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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March 28, 2014

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Beach St., Daytona Beach CORPORATE SPONSORS: ...... _ _FI=E HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 28, 2014 'AntiBarbie'is a runaway crowd-funding success By Julie Wiener NEW YORK (JTA)--AI- most exactly 55 years after Bart)ie made her debut at the American International Toy Fair, a more realistically proportioned alternative to the iconic fashion doll has become a crowd-funding sensation, raising more than $400,000 in aweek and a half to begin production. The Lammily doll, which has joints that bend, an ath- letic physique and a motto of "Average is Beautiful," is being described by some fans as the anti-Barbie. But Lammily's creator, 25-year-old Pittsburgh art- ist Nickolay Lamm--who, like Barbie's late inventor, Ruth Handler, is Jewish-- insists he is not trying to pick a filht with the Mat- tel toy. "I was just trying to make an alternative, which hasn't existed yet," he told JTA. "I can see girls playing with Lammily and other toys at the same time. I'm not really a crusading feminist. I'm just a normal dude with a laptop who thinks we could use another option." Lamm, who moved to the United States with his par- ents and twin brother from St. Petersburg, Russia, at age 6, dreamed up Lammily last year after designing "Real Barbie," an image he posted online of what Barbie would look like if her measure- ments were reflective of real women's bodies. The project, which gar- nered a great deal of media coverage, went viral, and after many people urged him to market an actual doll, Lamm created proto- types for the Lammily doll and found a manufacturer in China. Currently, the dolls are being offered exclusively to backers on Crowdtilt, the crowdfunding platform, and will not be shipped until November. But since he has already exceeded his fund- raising goal fourfold--since March 5, the Lammily has Nickolay Lamm's cousins Lammily doll. raised $416,938 from 11,674 people--Lamm is pursuing plans to get Lammily into stores. The fundraising success has been a "pleasant sur- prise" for Lamm. "In the first hour, I thought it would completely bomb," he said. "There were only four backers, including my mom. Then it picked up steam in an hour and a half." Lamm, who studied mar- keting at the University of Pittsburgh, has lived in the southwestern Pennsyl- vania city since the family immigrated to the United States almost 20 years ago. "I thought we were going on a holiday trip," he recalled. "I didn't know what was go- ing on." He attended Jewish day schools--first an Ortho- dox one, then a pluralistic community one--through eighth grade and describes his day school years as "one of the best times of my life." However, he emphasized that, while he celebrated a bar mitzvah, he "was never really that religious" and is "not a very good practitioner of the holidays." "That's the way our family was in Russia," he added. Ironically, Lamm never played with Barbie dolls as Nickolay Lamm play with a prototype of the a child, although he remem- bers liking Transformers action figures. Barbie has long been criticized for her unrealis- tic proportions, with some feminists claiming the super thin, super busty, long- necked doll has a negative impact on girls' body im- ages and even causes eating disorders. But Lamm hadn't thought much about the issue until one day when he was looking at a Barbie and "thought it looked a little weird." "If I can sometimes feel insecure, it's hard for me to imagine what women have to go through," he Said. "They're subjected to much higher beauty standards than men." One problem the Lammily faces, however, is her limited wardrobe-- just a blouse, denim shorts and white sneakers. That's no small problem for a fashion doll, especially since the obvious size differences make bor- rowing Barbie's clothes out of the question. Lamm said he plans to produce more outfits in the future. In the meantime, perhaps an enterprising designer/seamstress will launch a crowdfunding cam- paign to clothe the Lammily. Active tots at Temple Israel At Temple Israel, tots are a vital part of programming. A program titled Tot Shabbat was begun a year ago and has been held monthly each Sat- urday from 11:30 a.m. to noon. This year, having started with Purim, programming for the major Jewish holidays will be offered. The entire com- munity of tots is invited to participate in these programs (tots should be accompanied by an adult) and there is no charge. Please call the TI office (407-647-3055) to find out which program (Shabbat or holiday) will be held each month and ask for dates and times. Visit Trs website at or their Facebook page for more in- formation. Morah Jen Cohen and her daughter, Lizzie, lead the Tot Shabbat and holiday programs. Here, they are in costume for Purim. FESTIVAL INFO: 386-316-3626 Jewish HeritageFestival:com