Chabad of Binghamton’s attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most dreidels spinning at one time took a downward spiral Monday evening, as they fell roughly 35 dreidels short.
The world record is 732 dreidels, and although Chabad’s Dreidel Spin-Off attracted 900 people to the Mandela Room throughout the night, only 749 people stayed when it was time to break the record an hour after the doors opened. And of the 749, only about 700 were able to keep their dreidels spinning for the required 10 seconds.
“Even though we didn’t break the current world record, we brought together a tremendous amount of people from the Binghamton community, including students, faculty, and community members,” said Lucy Schwartz, Chabad major program coordinator. “It was a fun event and it was wonderful to be able to celebrate giving over $10,000 to charity with so many people.”
The record attempt began 45 minutes later than the event’s start time listed on the event’s Facebook page, thanks to a drawn-out procession preceding the event — during which many people walked out — featuring administrators, the lighting of a large menorah, a Binghamton Crosbys performance and a speech by Rabbi Levi Slonim, who would routinely pause to loudly “shush” attendees over the microphone.
“Rabbi Levi was particularly unbearable,” said one member of Chabad’s general board, who requested anonymity. “He attempted to treat a room of 700 students, faculty members, and community — members many of whom have nothing to do with Chabad — as if they were children at an elementary school assembly.”
Although Chabad did not break the world record, they set a personal record by raising $10,548.95 for their annual toy drive, more than any other charity campaign by a Jewish student group on campus.
“No matter how you spin it, if you can give, you make this a better and brighter world,” Slonim said.
Kara Dinowitz, a sophomore majoring in English, said an important part of Hanukkah is to “publicize the miracles” and she said the event was a success in that aspect.
“I am so proud of the amount of Jewish pride which was present in that room as we lit the candles, and it was really amazing to be a part of over 700 students taking time out of their finals week to celebrate Hanukkah together and have fun,” Dinowitz said. “Also we reached our goal for the toy drive so we are sharing the miracle of Hanukkah with kids who really need it!”
Clarification: Dec. 11, 2012
An earlier version of this article stated that the record breaking attempt was supposed to start at 6 p.m. as opposed to stating that the event was supposed to start at 6 p.m. An email sent to participants ahead of the event stated that the doors for the Dreidel Spin-Off would be opening at 5:40 p.m. for a prompt 6 p.m. start time and that late-comers would potentially miss out on the record breaking attempt.