Dreidel competition title shared after close-fought contest


A Bluetooth-enabled dreidel, a dreidel phone app and a design constructed on a 3D printer were among the innovative entries to ORT’s 2019 Chanukah dreidel-design competition.

An annual favorite of students, teachers and ORT supporters around the world, this year’s crop of spinning tops did not disappoint.

There were 10 entries in total, from seven countries – and, fittingly, eight prizes were awarded: one for every night of the festival.

Students entering the competition were expected to use 3D printing, textiles or woodwork to make their dreidel, with additional mechanical design, audio-visual technology and animation an added bonus.

The joint highest-scoring entries came from the ORT Educational Complex #141 in Kiev, Ukraine, and the ORT Sholom Aleichem Jewish Gymnasium in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The Kiev students’ colored felt design incorporated sand and represented the co-operation between students, parents and teachers to ensure the best possible educational standards.

Student Eva Vovhak said the team had wanted the dreidel to represent their community’s close relationship with Israel and with ORT, the importance of studying technology and Judaism at the school, and that the grains of sand represented how each pupil was similar to another while remaining unique.

You can watch more about the Kiev team’s dreidel in this video:

In Lithuania, Michail Počikajev, a seventh-grade student, created a 3D dreidel using geometric shapes and a specialist printer. The dreidel also came with a square stand displaying a floral pattern which is a symbol of good luck in the country. Michail used photographs of 19th century silver and gold dreidels from the Baltic nations to design his contemporary piece.

The second highest scoring design was a stunning card and felt silver dreidel created by Diana Hodarina, a student at the ORT Aleph school in Zaporozhe, Ukraine. The creation included glitter, polystyrene, cotton wool, and even material borrowed from Diana’s younger sister.

Students at ORT Liceo Renzo Levi, in Rome, Italy, used dozens of colorful crayons to create their entry, which enclosed a music speaker inside the final dreidel. The team melted the crayons using a hairdryer to give the finished design a multi-colored appearance, and then used the Bluetooth speaker inside to play Chanukah music.

A fantastic entry from the team at ORT Secondary School #42 “Gesher” in Samara, Russia, saw sixth-grader Bayder Efim design a dreidel using a lightbulb and balsa wood.

“On the glass sphere I drew parallels and meridians with the ORT colors depicting our global network,” he explained.

“At the bottom of the dreidel there is a decorative detail depicting letters in Hebrew. On the side is a ‘140’ inscription, symbolizing ORT’s anniversary.

“This unusual model is a gift to my family on Chanukah because my mum, dad, aunt and uncle also went to Gesher school.”

Designing dreidels at ORT Tekhiya, Center of Education #1311, in Moscow

Designing dreidels at ORT Tekhiya, Center of Education #1311, in Moscow

Samuel Peñuela, a seventh-grade pupil at the Colegio Colombo Hebreo school in Bogotá, Colombia, created a traditional dreidel in the school’s colors, but printed it with a MakerBot 3D printer, using PLA filament. A similar approach was taken by the team at Moscow’s ORT Tekhiya School #1311.

Vladimir Zhigailo, an eighth-grade student at the ORT Zabotinski School #94 in Odessa, Ukraine, used programming software to create a phone app dreidel game which can be downloaded on Android in Russian and English.

Vladimir Zhigailo with his dreidel phone app

Vladimir Zhigailo with his dreidel phone app

Vladimir said: “Each student has his or her own mobile phone – and if you don’t have a real dreidel at hand you can just install this application. On the screen you will see the dreidel, press and hold to start the spin, and you can see its spinning speed on the scale above.”

All the participating schools receive a certificate and the eight cash prizes can be spent on a class party, trip or activity.

The design competition perfectly encapsulates how ORT is passionate both about unleashing the potential of young people – and about innovation in education. The annual Chanukah contest is an additional opportunity to integrate contemporary education methods with Jewish learning. We hope you and your families enjoyed this year’s dreidels and had a happy and healthy Chanukah.