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Rabbi's dreidel collection hits 600

Dec. 20, 2011 at 7:35 PM

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Rabbi Sara Perman says her 600 dreidels, each telling the Hanukkah story of escape from Hellenistic oppression, will be displayed at her Pittsburgh-area home.

The rabbi of Congregation Emanu-El Israel had been collecting dreidels since before her move to Greensburg, Pa., 25 years ago and discovered a crystal dreidel after schmying (meandering/wandering) around a furniture store, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Tuesday.

After Perman took the crystal object to the desk to pay for it, the clerk was a bit confused as to why she would want it.

"It's a top," the clerk said.

"Yes, it's a top," the rabbi said.

"It's a top," the clerk said again, sounding perturbed.

"Yes, a top," said the rabbi, puzzled.

"There's no bottom for it," the clerk informed her.

Only then did Rabbi Perman realize the history-telling dreidel had been mistaken for the top of a crystal decanter, the newspaper said.

Each side of the dreidel has a Hebrew letter that stands for "A great miracle happened there" and is spun like a top while played in a game during Hanukkah.

In the Jewish religion, Hanukkah, is a relatively minor holiday but is rooted, like many of the religion's observances, in a fight for freedom against oppression -- in this case against Hellenized Syrians who, in 163 B.C. had forbidden the practice of Judaism, ordered Jews to worship the Syrian king and desecrated the temple in Jerusalem.

A small family of Jewish priests, the Maccabees, led a revolt fighting off their oppressors and rededicated the temple, lighting the candles with oil that lasted eight days instead of the expected one.

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