Jewish toys

Moses is whiter than Martha White biscuit dough, and Pharaoh looks frankly black. Does this make anyone else squirm?

Raising kids here in the Buckle of the Bible Belt, I’m always hungry for Jewish STUFF. Our synagogue gift shop has some yummy things, but what I really want is to walk into a store and wallow in Jewish tchotches, kitsch, and toys, toys, toys. Not going to happen. Not around here.

However, the Buckle does have its advantages. “Old Testament” Christian toys can easily convert into something kosher for us. I can find a Talking Moses Action Figure (but what does he say?), Daniel in a plastic lion’s den, a teeny Samson in chains, “Almighty Heroes Action Figures (including an impossibly buff Moses),” and a set of “Spirit Warriors” (Goliath battles Samson in a confusing, anachronistic marketing strategy).

I love these things. In the Spirit of Kitsch more than in the Spirit of the Spirit, but I do love them. I must take issue, however, with the racial display of Moses and Pharaoh above. Is it really necessary to pit Good against Bad using skin tone? Surely they must have been about the same color way back when. But even if they are Pantone perfect, do we really need to be reinforcing damaging color prejudices in our kiddies?

I actually own a different set of Moses and Pharoah: one I can recommend for neutral skin tone and extra fun-ness. Get it from We save it for Pesach every year, but it would make a neat bath toy.

Having said all this about stuff, the truth is that all we need is imagination. My daughter re-enacted great hunks of the Iliad every bathtime using off-brand legos and random bath toys. Twelve years later, she’s still got the story down. So why not Torah stories with whatever figures and critters we’ve got on hand?

Still, if anyone would like to mail me the exquisite $70+ Playmobil Noah’s Ark, I will not say nay.

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