Rabbi Simcha’s Dreidel Spinning Tips

Rabbi Simcha spins a mean dreidel, so go and learn from the master.

When I was a kid, I attended a Jewish day camp during the summers, which probably wasn’t a common occurrence for Catholic kids growing up Union County New Jersey during the 1970s.

To make matters even more entertaining, it was run by enthusiastic Zionists, so we began each day lined up in front of American and Israeli flags, first saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and then saying something in Hebrew which I always assumed was some kind of Israeli equivalent, but could have been a wicked recipe for kasha for all I knew. (The Jewish kids always complained because they had to attend Hebrew School. I just thought it was cool that they were learning a Secret Language none of us could ever penetrate. That’s probably why I teach my kids Latin: it’s the Secret Language of Catholics.)

I always wondered how the Jewish kids were consistently able to skool the silly goyim at dreidel spinning. Thirty years on, Rabbi Simacha finally provides the answer.

h/t: Kathy Shaidle.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that Rabbi Simcha wrote a book with one of the greatest titles of all time: Up, Up, and Oy Vey: How Jewish History, Culture, and Values Shaped The Comic Book Superhero.

‘Tis the Season

Tomorrow, I get back to blogging on my regular schedule. It was nice to have a week off, but it also made me realize that I’ve made this blog thing a part of my routine, and I kinda missed it.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the App O’ The Mornin’, as well as a new series on European-suited playing cards and the usual odds and sods. My Xbox is still in the shop, so I’m horribly behind on new titles. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood continues to sit there, mocking me.

On the positive side, I’ve been able to get Betrayal at House on the Hill to the table, and we’re liking it a lot. Plus, I’ve learned the Italian card games Briscola and Scopa, which are a blast.

With December comes Hanukkah and Christmas, both of which I’ll post about from time to time. I realize some people get bothered when even the mention of religion flickers across their consciousness. Some may well believe that faith should be shut inside a tiny little box and kept away from the eyes of impressionable types less they get the vapors, but it’s not a belief I share.

Judaism has played an important part in my life and forms the foundation of the Christian faith. My Jewish brothers and sisters begin Hanukkah at sundown on Wednesday, December 1st. My fellow Papists and I begin Advent tonight. Thus, for part of both this week and next, Catholics and Jews alike will be lighting candles in remembrance of miracles.

In addition, Hanukkah recalls the rededication of the Temple and the miracle of the oil, as mentioned in First and Second Maccabees. Although most Protestants consigned these books to “apocryphal” status during the Reformation, they remain part of Catholic and Orthodox Bibles, and thus these festivals have significance for us as well.

Holidays bring play, as well. I hope to get some directions for group games posted throughout the month, to help fill the longueurs in between the flurry of package opening and the moment when your eggnog buzz finally kicks in.

Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) lights a menorah