On Sunday morning, Sinai Temple set the scene for colorful dreidels and a crowd of nearly 700 community members, eager to put a new spin on an existing record.
Enthused community members came together at Sinai Temple in Westwood for “Dreidel-mania,” ready to set a new Guinness World Record for the number of dreidels simultaneously spinning. The existing record is held by Temple Emanuel of Cherry Hill, N.J., with 541 dreidels simultaneously spinning for ten or more seconds.
Among a sea of participants sat Selma Dayd, a member of Sinai Temple since 1946, cheering on her dreidel at the practice tables before the official kick-off.
“This is the biggest community event I’ve ever seen as far as spirit and enthusiasm,” said Dayd, who joined the event out of curiosity and excitement towards possibly breaking a world record.
Young participants could hardly wait for the official spin.
Alexandra Malamud, a fourth grader at Sinai Akiba Academy, said she had been practicing her spin at home and that “a good spin comes from a good start.”
Her classmate, Eliana Hallegua, added, “it’s all in the wrist!”
As the countdown to the big spin began, the energetic crowd came to a silence, official witnesses for Guinness took their places, and participants prepared their best dreidel spinning stance.
“I hope you brought your best wrist action!” Rabbi David Wolpe said.
And off the nearly 700 spinners went, in an attempt to make history.
When all was accounted for, just under 300 participants had successful spins of ten seconds or greater, making this a close and notable attempt at
beating the current record.
What began as a concept focusing on engaging students became a temple-wide event and eventually a community-wide event, said Natalie Fainberg, Sinai Temple religious school coordinator and Dreidel-mania organizer.
“We wanted to not only break a record, but also build community and celebrate Hanukah together,” said Fainberg.
The event drew a crowd of all ages, quite eager to be part of a historic community event.
“This event has a wider range than anything we’ve ever done," said Rabbi David Wolpe. "We’ve got Jewish and non-Jewish community members, young and old. It’s an extraordinary building of community.”
And as for another attempt come 2012? “Maybe we will do it again,” said Sharon Baskin, Dreidel-mania co-chair.