LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Nearly 300 people tried to set a Guinness World Record for simultaneous dreidel spinning but fell short Sunday at Sinai Temple in Westwood.
The group spun the four-sided tops for at least 10 seconds, according to Sharon Baskin, a co-chair of the event.
The record is 541, set at Temple Emanuel in Cherry Hill, N.J., on Dec. 18, 2005.
The event dubbed “Dreidelmania” drew 694 participants, mainly children, Baskin said. They gathered around tables in the synagogue’s subterranean parking garage and following two practice spins and the “ready, set, go” command from Rabbi David Wolpe, flicked their wrists to spin the dreidels.
Some dreidels fell to the table after less than 10 seconds, some collided with each other and others spun off the table.
Despite not setting the record, Baskin said, “We had an amazingly successful event.”
“We had a lot of people here and it was goodwill for the community, soI have no problem,” Baskin said. “We did something that we didn’t think we were going to do. We were afraid we weren’t going to get enough people and we had way more than we ever expected. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of people.”
The goal of Dreidelmania “was to create a temple-wide and community-wide event that was a feel-good event,” Baskin said.
There was no charge to participate in the event.
Baskin said Sinai Temple might make another attempt at the record in 2013.
Spinning a dreidel, is among the traditions of Hanukkah, Judaism’s eight-day “Festival of Lights” commemorating the Maccabees’ victory over a larger Syrian army in 165 B.C.
The holiday begins at sundown Dec. 20.
Dreidel spinning partially commemorates a game that Jews under Greek domination played to camouflage their Torah study.
Each side of a dreidel has a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Together, they form an abbreviation for the phrase “A great miracle happened there.”
After their victory, the Maccabees found only enough ritual oil to burn for one day when they wanted to rededicate the temple in Jerusalem, which the Hellenist Syrian occupiers had dedicated it to the worship of Zeus.
But in what was regarded as a miracle, the oil burned for eight days.
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