Binghamton University hopes to smash the previous record of 541 simultaneous spinning dreidels.
In an effort to raise a dash of holiday spirit and a pinch of competition, Binghamton University is planning an attempt to break a Guinness World Record during a Chanukah Celebration Monday.
“We try to think of new ways or twists to celebrating the holidays,” said Rabbi Levi Slonim. “Jews have been celebrating for thousands of years and we want to make it relevant to people and their lives to make it fun but meaningful as well.
Sponsored by the Chabad Center for Jewish Student Life, the university will host a dreidel spin off, in which hundreds will simultaneously spin dreidels while celebrating Chanukah.
The event was inspired by the university’s third annual toy drive, where they have continued to break records — already having raised more than $10,000 in toys to be donated to Children with Cancer.
“There is great excitement on campus about this,” said Lucy Schwartz, a student at the college and the program coordinator. “Binghamton is a school of excellence and distinction so we’re proud to contribute to that legacy and bring a fun and meaningful event to our community.”
The current world record was set in 2005 at Temple Emanuel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, when 541 people simultaneously spun dreidels. In response, Binghamton plans to blow that record out of the water with a seven-foot dreidel constructed out of toys, a nine-foot Menorah kindling and more than 700 students, faculty and community members added to the mix.
“It’s not just fun and games for us,” said Tamar Gaffin-Cahn, a student at the university who is also involved in event coordination. “We are enormously proud of the tremendous number of toys we have gathered in this year’s toy drive for distribution to sick children during the holiday season.”
However, Rabbi Levi Slonim said that this isn’t the first time the school has broken a record.
“We have broken records in the past, like having the largest Chabad dinner last year,” he said. “It’s something the students, and even myself, get really excited about.”
In a jolly mirage of treats and holiday tunes, the event will represent the conclusion to the toy drive and as the final celebration, honoring the values of Chanukah, as the Chabad continues to pair the festivities with a simple element of charity, designed to emphasize the importance of bringing holiday cheer to those less fortunate.
“It’s easy for Jewish students to feel disconnected in the flurry of holiday celebrations around campus,” said Max Kapelus, a student at the university. “The Chabad Center, through its campus wide distribution of thousands of Menorah kits and this high profile event, imbues the campus with a lot of Chanukah spirit. The event brings us a touch of home with the delicious holiday.”
The rabbi also pointed out the importance of giving back during the holiday season.
“It’s important to do something with our time and resources for other people,” he said. ‘When you do something for someone else, at the end of the day you feel better about yourself. As we go on in life … we need to take a step back, especially during the holiday season.”