Dizzy Dreidels


You played it when you were little. Your children played it. Your grandchildren will play it. Your great-grandchildren will play it …

Yes, it’s great to have a rousing evening of that familiar nun, hey, gimmel, dalet game. But can’t somebody come up with something a little different? You can.

Challenge family members to create a new dreidel game, and let the winner keep the chocolate gelt. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Someone spins the dreidel, then everyone spins himself (little children will go wild over this). Whoever can continue spinning as long as the dreidel is a winner. (Warning: Do not play this game too soon after consuming all those latkes.)
  2. Gather all the dreidels in your home. Now is the time to imagine you work for the Jewish Psychic Friends Network. Everyone writes down his guess as to which letter will appear most frequently when the dreidels (let each person playing the game spin one) stop.
  3. Here’s a great word game you can play using Hebrew or English. Begin by spinning the dreidel. When it stops, each person must write down a word (but not nes, gadol, hayaor shamthat begins with the letter that appears. For example, if the dreidel stops on gimmel, those using Hebrew might write gav (back), g’vinah (cheese) or g’lidah (ice cream). It would be too easy to do the same in English, so make it more fun by having players come up with words that begin with “g,” but that also contain the same number of letters as “dreidel” or gimmel, such as “garbage” or “gerbil.”
  4. Say it quick: One person spins his dreidel, and before it stops he must call out at least 10 words that have to do with Chanukah. The next person must call out at least 10 words that have to do with Pesach, and the next with Rosh Hashanah. Or, you could call out Jewish books, family members, Jewish foods—whatever you like!
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