These objects, called dreidls, are a popular children’s toy used during the Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah. A Hebrew letter is written on each side of the dreidl: נ (Nun), ג (Gimel), ה (Hei) and ש (Shin). Together, the letters form an acronym that means, “a great miracle happened there”. One at a time, children spin the dreidl and guess on which letter it will land. They usually gamble coins or chocolate, and the game ends when a player wins the entire pot. These dreidls, made of metal, are from Central Europe before the Second World War.

Children's toys

Dreidls are a popular children's toy used during the Jewish holiday of Hannukah. (Photo: Peter Berra)
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Dreidls are a popular children's toy used during the Jewish holiday of Hannukah. (Photo: Peter Berra)

These dreidls are from Central Europe before the Second World War. (Photo: Peter Berra)
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These dreidls are from Central Europe before the Second World War. (Photo: Peter Berra)

One at a time, children spin the dreidl and guess on which letter it will land. (Photo: Peter Berra)
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One at a time, children spin the dreidl and guess on which letter it will land. (Photo: Peter Berra)

Hanukkah is celebrated from the 25th day of the third month of the Jewish calendar, for eight days, which corresponds to November or December in the Gregorian calendar. (Photo: Peter Berra)
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Hanukkah is celebrated from the 25th day of the third month of the Jewish calendar, for eight days, which corresponds to November or December in the Gregorian calendar. (Photo: Peter Berra)

Together, the letters form an acronym that means, “a great miracle happened there”. (Photo: Peter Berra)
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Together, the letters form an acronym that means, “a great miracle happened there”. (Photo: Peter Berra)

They usually gamble coins or chocolate, and the game ends when a player wins the entire pot. (Photo: Peter Berra)
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They usually gamble coins or chocolate, and the game ends when a player wins the entire pot. (Photo: Peter Berra)

The Hanukkah Holiday

Hanukkah is celebrated from the 25th day of the third month of the Jewish calendar, for eight days, which corresponds to November or December in the Gregorian calendar. This holiday celebrates the miracle of the Second Holy Temple in Jerusalem, reclaimed by the Jews after a period of persecution by the ancient Greeks. The menorah lamp burned for eight days despite its one day’s supply of oil. The Hanukiah or Hanukkah lamp has eight candles, traditionally lit on each day of the holiday.

These dreidls were donated to the Montreal Holocaust Museum collection in 2005.

This project is part of the implementation of the Plan culturel numérique du QuébecObjects of Interest of the Holocaust, Plan culturel numérique du Québec

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