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Dreidel or dreidl

dreidel is a spinning top that has four sides. On each side is written a Hebrew character. It is used to play the game dreidel during the Hebrew holiday of Hanukkah.

Because the name is a translation from the Yiddish dreydl, the spelling is either dreidel or dreidl, which more closely matches the original.

The common origin of the game is something that was played  as Jews were hiding in caves from enemy soldiers. So that if they were found, they would be playing a simple game instead of studying the forbidden Torah.


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As a game dreidel is played by each participants putting something into the middle pot, then depending on which character is spun, the player adds or takes away from the middle.

Examples

Almost 800 people took a spin — and succeeded — at breaking the world record for simultaneous dreidel spinning on Sunday, which included political candidate and MK Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) as one of the participants. [Jerusalem Post]

Dreidels, candies, small gifts, Hanukkah-themed wrapping paper, and other tchotchkes make up a sizeable portion of its offerings. [Detroit Metro Times]

Below I constructed a dreidel calculator, based on 50,000 simulations of each set of rules, which will help you budget how much time you should commit to playing dreidel. [Slate Magazine]

All are invited to join as we light menorahs, eat latkes and sufganiyot (jelly donuts), play dreidl, and dance to music provided by two members of the internationally renown Klezmer Conservatory Band, an ensemble founded in the 1980s by Hankus Netsky, that has been at the forefront of the Yiddish music revival. [Martha’s Vineyard Times]

It had spinning dreidls from the ceiling with pictures of Lauren” or “Greeting us in the ballroom were 2 people on stilts. [The Atlantic]

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