Queries and follow up…

Recently I’ve had a lot of email queries about either blog posts or YouTube videos, most of which are pleasant enough, the odd one which I’ve found a little annoying as they required some time to answer and amounted to email tuition!

One that was pleasant and courteous came from George in Georgia, USA. A nice email and a couple of queries. No problem. So I answered.

And then this morning a follow-up came with some pictures of his first Dreidel box and a good tip for a home-made chatter tool that I thought was worth passing on if his results are anything to go by.

George’s Dreidel and tip:

“Andy, this was the first dreidel box I made out of dogwood and I really like the way it took the chattering. I used a feeler gauge held with needle nose vise grip pliers. I can move the pliers to make the feeler blade longer or shorter and change the chatter real easy. Anyway just thought you might like to see something made from your influence. I believe these will be a hit at Christmas! Thanks for the idea!!
George “

Dreidel boxes…revisited…

I’ve had a number of email asking about Dreidel. I have posted on Dreidel before, but thought I’d answer the questions here once again…

The Dreidel Box: a short history

Throughout history the Jews have been persecuted, and many times they have been forced to cease the teaching of their faith. Refusing to abandon their faith, many Jews continued to study the Torah in secret. Legend has it that at the time the dreidel was marked with Hebrew letters symbolizing stories of the Torah. It actually became a coded way of studying the ancient scriptures.

The dreidel is a symbol of ingenuity and perseverance in the face of great oppression. In Israel the final letter on the dreidel “shin” is replaced by the Hebrew letter “pey” which changes the phrase “a great miracle happened there” to “a great miracle happened here”. Today the dreidel continues to teach young and old alike. It is also used to play a much-loved game, played amongst family and friends each year during the Hanukkah season (anytime between late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar) to remind us of the power of faith.

My Dreidel are made without the Hebrew script, and intended to be used as toys, decorative boxes, or celebratory gifts to be kept and cherished, but I think they retain something of their rich history and cultural significance, and are bought by people of almost every faith, and all seem to be moved by the story of the dreidel. A version in the traditional style is also available to order.

Here is a dreidel I made which was inspired by Eli Avisera after I met him in 2009…

I make a lot of  Dreidel, and enjoy making them.  They make a great project for woodturners, offering opportunities to improve a number of skills whilst producing an object which will have universal appeal. Children love them because they are essentially spinning tops, and adults love them for the same reason,  and because they have “history”. And if you have friends of the Jewish faith then they will make a wonderful gift with real significance.

For those interested in how I make them, I’ll post a project work through on the additional pages…see link above…

I hope this answers the questions posed and inspires you to have a go at making your own dreidel.