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Friday, December 4, 2009

How to Play Dreidel

With Hanukkah only a week away, my kids have already found the dreidels and begun playing with them. Break out the pennies and M&Ms!

If you don't have a dreidel, you can usually find them in a grocery store (in the Hanukkah section which will be quite small). Safeway and Mollie Stone's carry them. Many synagogue/temple gift shops will carry them and many are open on Sunday mornings during the next few weeks. If that fails, ask a Jewish friend where to find one. Likely that person will be happy to share one of their child's dozen dreidels from home.

Here's how to play dreidel:

-Each player starts out with an equal number of tokens (pennies, M&Ms, chocolate gold coins, etc.)

-Everyone antes up one token into the center.

(the photo on the left has a purple shin and a red hay. The photo on the right has a green gimmel and a blue nun).
-One person spins the dreidel. Depending on where it lands, the spinner will:
  • nun - do nothing
  • hay - take half the pot
  • shin - put one in
  • gimmel - take the pot
Everyone antes in again after a gimmel. Play until you're bankrupt (I've been playing a bit too much Monopoly lately), or until you're bored.
Here's a good explanation of the origin of the game.

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