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Leah – Gali Girls

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Portrait of Leah

As mentioned in a previous post, here is Leah, my Gali Girls doll. She came all the way from the US as my main birthday present in 2011, along with a range of outfits as I was really spoilt for choice on the website. She was my second 18″ doll but had rather fallen out of favour and has been boxed up in the cupboard for a while; I came across her while tidying the other day and decided she deserved an outing and a review post all of her own.

The Gali Girl doll range was launched in 2004, with a strong ethos that made them stand out from the general range of play dolls. As per the website:

“Gali Girls were created to give young Jewish girls an opportunity to incorporate positive values into their doll play. While the majority of dolls in today’s market focus on fashion, makeup and boyfriends, Gali Girls reinforce the positive values that have kept Jewish tradition alive and growing for over 5,000 years.

Gali Girl values represent kindness, respect, and honesty, to name a few. Gali Girl accessories create a connection between the contemporary Jewish girl and her heritage. Thus our motto: “Learn and play the Jewish way.”

The Gali Girls Jewish History Series captivates and educates the young reader about different Jewish communities throughout the ages and throughout the world. From Russia, to China, to Ethiopia, and beyond, each book tells the story of a young, brave Jewish girl, who overcomes the challenges she encounters by relying on Jewish values, Jewish community, and a very strong sense of self.”

There were various dolls in the original range, with different skin tones and hair colours, and this dark skinned or Sephardi doll joined the range a little later. As with American Girl dolls, the idea is for a youngster to identify with a doll that resembles her, for more authentic play, with a range of clothing and accessories to help with this. I don’t have many official outfits for my Kidz n Cats and Gotz dolls as they are quite pricey, so I was pleased to find the Gali Girls clothing was much more affordable.

The website also featured matching clothes for girls and dolls to wear, such as the historical Queen Esther costume, shown here in white and gold (and still available to buy).

Gali Girls Queen Esther costume for doll and girl

Leah is an 18″ soft bodied doll with jointed vinyl arms and legs and jointed head. She has dark skin, dark hair, brown eyes and nylon lashes, and is about the same size for clothes as an American Girl doll.  She arrived wearing a denim skirt with cotton broderie detailing to the hem, a white long sleeved t-shirt with a candle glow motif, white trainers and socks.

Leah posing in her arrival outfit

In the photo above she’s wearing the brown boots that came with the Shabbat outfit I got at the same time – brown suede skirt, pink top and the boots – I love the skirt especially, and the colours work really well against her colouring!

Leah's shabbat outfit

All the dolls also came with matching Magen-David bracelets for doll and owner, a birth certificate in Hebrew and English and a 10-piece wooden toy Shabbat set.  Beyond learning Bibilical Hebrew and reading the Bible I know very little about the Jewish faith so I’m not exactly sure what said Shabbat set involves (other than what can be inferred from candles and bread etc), but obviously it’s an ideal addition for the target audience.

Gali Girls wooden Shabbat kit

Leah has quite a firm body so stands up well (with something to lean on at least), and is in proportion. Several people have commented that the Gali Girl dolls look very similar to the My London Girl range, though having not seen a My London Girl doll other than in online images I wouldn’t like to say. Here’s our Gali doll sans clothing for possible comparison purposes to those dolls and to the AG range.

Leah unclothed

And another outfit – I had such fun dressing and undressing Leah in all the different clothes for this post. This gorgeous cream satin pyjama set, with camisole and wrap-over top with lace detail seems a little too large, it hangs quite loosely and is long in the leg. The fabric is high quality and the whole thing is very well-made, however. It strikes me as a rather decadent choice of evening wear for a modest girl but then most of my dolls prefer t-shirt and shorts to wear to bed!

Leah's satin pjs

Oddly enough it was one of the Gali Girl outfits that first led me to the the dolls themselves. While browsing the web I came across a photo of a Gotz Hannah doll wearing a lovely blue satin Chinese-style dress, which turned out to be from the Gali Girl range. I only intended to get that dress from the site but things got a little out of hand… Its still one of my favourite articles of clothing, here modelled by Fei Li. It fits really nicely, her added height makes little difference.

Fei Li in a Chinese-style dress

The dress was also available in other colours, I think the pink suits Leah best of all, its much longer on her of course, but also serves to demonstrate that varying heights and body shapes in dolls mean outfits can be shared as the dimensions sort of compensate for each other. That does make sense, promise!

Leah in a pink Chinese-style dress

Actually, seeing her like this makes me realise she is quite a pretty doll so I think Leah will be spending time out and about with the gang for a while right now.

As I mentioned previously, the Gali Girls are no longer being produced and once the last few dolls, clothes and other things have been sold, that’s it. Leah is the only style of basic doll still for sale, so if you’ve fallen in love thanks to this review, hurry up and get one before its too late. As for me, I’ve grabbed the last few outfits to keep all my dolls happy with such creative and effective designs.

All kudos to Gali Girls owner and creator, Aliza Stein for providing me and many other people with hours of doll-related fun.

Leah in b&w

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