Hundreds of students, faculty and community members are set to smash the Guinness World Record for dreidel spinning at a “spin-off” that will be the highlight of the Chabad Center for Jewish Student Life’s Chanukah celebration on December 10 at Binghamton University in upstate New York.
The event will serve as the culmination of Chabad at Binghamton’s annual toy drive, which has raised over $10,000 worth of toys for children with cancer. Each year Chabad seeks to twin the Chanukah celebration at the university with charity and social action to stress the importance of bringing holiday cheer to those less fortunate.
The current Guinness World Record was set in 2005 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, when 541 people simultaneously spun their dreidels (a top-like spinning toy that figures prominently in Chanukah festivities). Organizers anticipate that the record will be broken this year by a wide margin; when more than 700 participants are expected to join the event.
“It’s not just fun and games for us,” said Tamar Gaffin-Cahn ‘14, who along with Dodi Zenilman ‘15 are spearheading this year’s Chanukah Toy Drive. “We are enormously proud of the tremendous number of toys we’ve gathered this year for distribution to sick children.”"There is great excitement on campus about this,” said Lucy Schwartz, class of ‘14, who is one of the coordinators of the event. “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 December 10th celebration, which is free and open to the public, will include a Menorahlighting, music, holiday themed refreshments and a special appearance by the Crosbys, Binghamton’s pre-eminent a cappella group. The Toy Drive is a joint project of Chabad and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and the Sigma Delta Tau sorority. Tens of others groups on campus have joined as co-sponsors.
“It’s easy for Jewish students to feel disconnected in the flurry of holiday celebrations around campus,” said Max Kapelus ‘13 “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. And the event brings us a touch of home, with the delicious holiday treats and holiday-themed tunes.”