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Top This: 541 Spinners, 10 Seconds

December 22, 2005 By:
Jared Shelly, JE Feature
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Kids and grown-ups alike attempt to make the history book!
A group at Temple Emanuel in Cherry Hill, N.J., has reportedly made history. With participants sprawled out across the synagogue's floor - and some bending over tables - 541 people were able to simultaneously spin their dreidels for 10 seconds, tentatively setting a new world record. The old one, as certified by the Guinness Book of Records, stood at 535 simultaneously spinning dreidels, a feat accomplished by the University of Maryland Hillel in 1999.

When the announcement was made that they had broken the record, many of the kids and teenagers at the event celebrated their victory, according to Steve Lubetkin, the synagogue's vice president of membership and public relations.

"They loved it!" he gushed. "They went wild. It was very exciting."

Before the competition, each dreidel-spinner was given a piece of blue paper divided into four squares - each one corresponding to an attempt to spin their Chanukah toy for 10 seconds. If the participant was successful, they placed a white sticker in the box; if not, they left it blank. The final count was prepared by totaling up the amount of white stickers for each attempt. Only the best result was recognized.

Since there was no one from Guinness on hand to officially witness the event, the final dreidel count was supervised by Steven Burkett, a member of M'kor Shalom Synagogue in Cherry Hill, and immediate past president of the regional council of the Union for Reform Judaism.

Harry Platt, a councilman and former mayor of Voorhees, N.J., corroborated the tally. The synagogue plans to send video, pictures and paperwork over to Guinness.

The mostly Jewish crowd also got a little help from an unlikely source - a class from a nearby Catholic school. Students from Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in Pennsauken, N.J., pitched in for the grandiose feat.

"They had a wonderful time," said Jean Klein, an education administrative assistant at Temple Emanuel. "There wasn't a single person in that room who didn't have a good time."

For Lubetkin, the event would still have been a success had they not broken the record.

"For a lot of people, it was their first time visiting," he said. "Even if we didn't break the record, it was a great way for people to have the opportunity to meet each other and spend some time at the synagogue."

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