Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel!

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel!
Posted on 12/14/2021
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Every year, Mrs. Meyers teaches students to play a traditional Hanukkah game called Dreidel. The students learn to spin the dreidel, learn what the letters on the four sides of the dreidel mean, practice counting skills, and have fun! 

This year, Mrs. Meyers had special guests, like Interim Acting Superintendent Dr. Corlett, come and play with the students. At the end of the game, students received a special treat called a gelt, which is a chocolate coin, as well as their own dreidel to take home.

Watch a video of some of our kindergarten students playing the Dreidel game, then continue reading to learn how to play it at home with your family and friends! GIMMEL!

Dreidel is a traditional Hanukkah game played in Jewish homes all over the world, and rules may vary. Here’s how to play the basic game:

  1. Any number of people can take part.
  2. Each player begins the game with an equal number of game pieces (about 10-15) such as pennies, nuts, chocolate chips, raisins, matchsticks, etc.
  3. At the beginning of each round, every participant puts one game piece into the center “pot.” In addition, every time the pot is empty or has only one game piece left, every player should put one in the pot.
  4. Every time it’s your turn, spin the dreidel once. Depending on the side it lands on, you give or get game pieces from the pot. For those who don’t read Hebrew, some dreidels also feature a transliteration of each letter. If yours doesn’t, use the photo below as a cheat sheet:

Dreidel side letters

  • Nun means “nisht” or “nothing.” The player does nothing.
  • Gimel means “gantz” or “everything.” The player gets everything in the pot.
  • Hey means “halb” or “half.” The player gets half of the pot. (If there is an odd number of pieces in the pot, the player takes half of the total plus one).
  • Shin (outside of Israel) means “shtel” or “put in.” Peh (in Israel) also means “put in.” The player adds a game piece to the pot.

If you find that you have no game pieces left, you are either “out” or may ask a fellow player for a “loan.”

When one person has won everything, that round of the game is over!

Source: MyJewishLearning.com

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