Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Worlds largest Dreidel?

From Here:

What has four sides, spins – and stands over 22 feet high?

A group of Jewish university students in Montreal are confident it is the world’s biggest dreidel, and they have applied to Guinness World Records to have that fact established.

More than 20 students built the giant dreidel out of wood and particle board in the lobby of Congregation Beth Ora by for the West Island Hillel’s Chanukah party.

With its base, the free-standing structure measured 25 feet, 91/2 inches, said Hillel Montreal’s Yoni Petel, but the dreidel itself was 22 feet, 21/2 inches. The four Hebrew letters – shin, hey, gimel and nun – were each about six feet high and made of paper, which was taped on.

The dreidel did indeed spin on its base, with a good push from a tall person. “I’m 6-foot-2,” said Petel, “and I could barely reach the face.”

Rabbi Avi Rosenblatt, who authenticated its kashrut, and accountant Sandy Jesion, a vice-chair of the FEDERATION CJA West Island management committee, served as the witnesses necessary for consideration by Guinness.

Petel said the students were casting about for ideas on something different to do for Chanukah. “We had thought of making the world’s biggest latke, but it would have been a fire hazard and we weren’t really sure if we knew how to do it. A dreidel was the obvious second choice, and we checked with Guinness and found no dreidel entries.”

The next question was where to construct it. They ruled out the outdoors because they were afraid of wind toppling their creation. The group looked on the West Island, but no synagogues or Jewish institutions had high enough ceilings to accommodate the top they envisioned. Beth Ora in St. Laurent was the closest alternative because its lobby soars almost three stories. Care had to be taken to avoid the chandelier.

The dreidel took about nine hours to build, and involved working from a scaffold. It took about 10 students to lift it onto the base. Then the party began. “You could see about three-quarters of it outside through the window, making the synagogue look like a dollhouse,” Petel said.

The costs of the dreidel were covered by an Innovation grant from National Jewish Campus Life.
Alas, the monster could only be kept up for two days. The students are keeping the parts and may try to reassemble the dreidel next year. “But we would be happy to donate it to anybody interested,” Petel added.