A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side. It is used during Hanukkah
to play a popular children’s game that involves spinning the dreidel and betting on which Hebrew letter will be showing when the dreidel stops spinning.
Children usually play for a pot of gelt, which are chocolate coins covered in gold colored tin foil, but they can also play for candy, nuts, raisins – anything really!
Dreidel is a Yiddish word that comes from the German word “drehen,” which means “to turn”. In Hebrew the dreidel is called a “sevivon,” which comes from the root “savov” and also means “to turn”.
Dreidel is now a spoof competitive sport in North America. Major League Dreidel (MLD), founded in New York City
in 2007, hosts dreidel tournaments during the holiday of Hanukkah. In MLD tournaments the player with the longest time of spin (TOS) is the winner. MLD is played on a Spinagogue, the official spinning stadium of Major League Dreidel. Pamskee was the 2007 MLD Champion. Virtual Dreidel was the 2008 MLD Champion. In 2009, Major League Dreidel launched a game version of the Spinagogue.
In 2009, Good Morning America published a story on Dreidel Renaissance reporting on the rising popularity of the dreidel. Dreidel games that have come out on the market since 2007 include No Limit Texas Dreidel, a cross between traditional dreidel and Texas Hold’em poker, invented by a Judaica company called ModernTribe. Other new dreidel games include Staccabees and Maccabees.