by Lee J. Green

The new Funukkah doll and book brings a fun, new way for kids to learn more about Chanukah and being good. But this brainchild came from two seriously talented entrepreneurial Jewish girls who live just south of Atlanta.

Twelve-year-old Ellie and 10-year-old Anabelle Taylor live with their parents Brian and Ashley 30 miles south of Atlanta in Griffin, Ga. There are very few other Jewish kids in that area, so most of their friends celebrate Christmas.

“The girls wanted to have an elf-like figure that they and others could embrace for Chanukah,” said Brian Taylor. “We really got into the ‘Shark Tank’ TV show and they were inspired to come up with the idea for the Funukkah dolls and story. I told them if they would design them we would get them made.”

It took a year of design work and they went through 20 different prototypes before coming up with the Funukkah doll and story book that is now on sale here.

Each 13-inch-tall doll is carefully made of plush materials, to make them both extra huggable and safe, said Taylor. They come with a colorful backpack along with a Star of David pattern printed on their clothing.

The Funukkah hard-cover story book introduces families to the village the Funukkah dolls come from. It explains how the village spends all year preparing for Chanukah all over the world.

“Each doll and the box set come with the Funukkah rules. The rules let a child know the importance of being good and how to play with their Funukkah doll throughout Chanukah,” said Taylor. Some of those rules include saying please and being thankful; respecting family, along with giving the Funukkah dolls names.

The dolls are put to bed by the child at the child’s bedtime. While the child sleeps, the dolls “come to life” and with a little help from the parents, they “hide” in the home for the children to search for the next morning. The Funukkah Kid’s backpack “magically” produces the Shamash candle for the following evening.

If a child has been especially good and has followed all the rules, then the child may also find a gift or that the doll has played a fun trick. This nightly routine repeats itself for all eight nights of Chanukah.

Taylor said a significant portion of the profits will go to benefit the ADL, which is where his cousin works in Atlanta.

He said that if Funukkah is successful, Anabelle and Ellie have already said they plan to spend their winter break this year coming up with ideas and designs for a Passover doll and story book.

“I am just so proud of them for their creativity, passion and working hard to see this vision through,” said Taylor.