Dreidel, Dreidel, DreidelPosted: December 27, 2008
Two days before Christmas Ben had the whole family playing Dreidel. For a clergy family we have an inordinate number of dreidels. Plastic, wood, metal — pretty much everything except the “made it out of clay” model of the “Dreidel Song.” Though with the way Ben and Zack spin these things I think clay would be a bad idea…
This doesn’t bother me — it’s just what happens when you live in a place like Briarcliff Manor that has a significant Jewish community. The boys are always coming home with dreidels in December and they both know all the words to the Dreidel Song. I find myself humming it on my way to church some days. Which is odd.
Ben even knows the Hebrew letters that I learned in seminary and have long since forgotten. Though I must say his rules seem a bit fuzzy. The game felt a lot more like poker than anything else. And I got trounced.
A few years ago our town of 7,000 was embroiled in the requisite “culture wars” debate on public holiday displays — complete with an article about the controversy in The New York Times. Some guy wanted to donate a large creche scene, the village trustees turned him down, and in the spirit of Christmas he sued them. I was quoted as saying, “If people are so passionate about this, put up a display in your yard, go to church, go to synagogue, go to your religious institution and celebrate. That’s where the energy should be … rather than publicly debating what symbols to put up.” And that’s where I stand on the issue.
We ended up with a “non-religious holiday display” consisting of a large decorated tree with a star on top alongside a huge mettalic dreidel. How inspiring.