Religious : : Religious Committee Report

I have a little dreidel, I made it out of clay …

The Dreidel Song brings back fond memories, doesn’t it? Did you ever wonder about the history of this song which is one of the most popular Jewish tunes of all time?

Well, there are two versions of the song, one in English and one in Yiddish. The lyrics for the English version were written by Samuel S. Grossman and the composer is listed as Samuel E. Goldfarb. The song was written in 1927.

The Yiddish version was both written and composed by Mikhl Gelbart under the name of Ben Arn. There is a question about who composed this music since the melodies for both the Yiddish and the English versions are precisely the same.

According to most scholars, the dreidel itself developed from an Irish or English spinning top introduced into Germany which was popular around Christmas-time and dates back to ancient Greek and Roman times.

According to tradition, first documented in 1890, the dreidel game was developed by Jews who illegally studied the Torah in seclusion as they hid, sometimes in caves, from the Seleucids (dynasty in Babylonia from 312 BCE to 63 BCE) under Antiochus IV (king of Seleucid empire from 175 BCE to 164 BCE). At the first sign of Seleucids approaching, the Torah scrolls would be concealed and be replaced by dreidels.

Now that you know the facts, play dreidel, sing the Dreidel Song, and have a HAPPY and HEALTHY CHANUKAH. You can do all of these things in a fun environment by joining us at the Temple Judea Chanukah Celebration on Sunday, December 29th at 2:30PM. Also, we will be lighting our beautiful and large outdoor Menorah in the parking lot each night of Chanukah, try it – you’ll like it!

Sandy Shapiro and Arnold Miller, Co-Chairs