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Contemporary Silver Dreidls

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One of the traditions of the festival of Channukah is playing with dreidls. A dreidl is a four-sided spinning top used in a gambling game. The Yiddish word dreydl comes from the word dreyen, meaning “to spin.” Each side features a letter of the Hebrew alphabet (Nun, Gimel, Hei, and Shin) which together form an acronym for the Hebrew phrase Nes Gadol Hayah Sham – “A great miracle happened there.” The letters also stand for the Yiddish words associated with the game: Nun for nite (“nothing”), Gimel for gants (“all”), Hei for halb (“half”), and Shin for shteln (“put”).

                                                                          Sydney Jewish Museum collection
                                                                          M2006/029:003, M2006/029:004, M2006/029:005

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