Dreidel House operated by Chabad Lubavitch of Larchmont-Mamaroneck has spread its sails for 2009 in the cavernous Boston Post Road store vacated by Boater’s World Marine Centers. It’s a step up for Chabad, which in 2006 opened its first local Chanukah shop in the tiny Palmer Avenue store vacated by Sweet & Nutty, a candy shop.
The Dreidel House is at 1220 W Boston Post Road in Mamaroneck.
It will remain open through December 22.
Hours are Monday through Thursday 12 to 6 and Sunday 10:30 to 6.
There is no entry charge and most of the programs are free. The crafts run from $2-$7
For more information, contact Chabad at 914-275-2825 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
See also: JewishLarchmont.com
The Dreidel House, and the installation of a giant electric menorah in Larchmont’s Constitution Park, were among the first enterprises of Rabbi Mendel Silberstein and his wife Chana, who together constituted Chabad Lubavitch of Larchmont-Mamaroneck. The organization, one of six in Westchester, is part of the much larger International Chabad Lubavitch movement, which is dedicated to “making the beauty of our Jewish heritage accessible to all Jews, regardless of background or affiliation.”
Perhaps it’s a sign of the local organization’s growth – or the local business economy’s retrenchment – that Chabad has been able to rent increasingly larger quarters each year.
Since 2006, the Dreidel House has moved from the candy shop to a larger Palmer Avenue store, to the former Curves exercise club on the Boston Post Road and now to Boater’s World.
Chabad Has Been Growing
Until a few weeks ago, Chabad was operating out of the old Tung Hoy Restaurant on the Boston Post Road. Two Chinese lions greeted Sabbath worshippers, a group that has grown to around 20 regulars.
Tung Hoy served as a center for a Chabad teen group, with around 40 members participating in service and social activities. As of this September, Ms. Silberstein has been running a Hebrew School, with students aged five and up. Last year she started a Bat Mizvah Club that now has 11 girls.
Also centered at Tung Hoy were adult education classes led by Rabbi Silberstein. The most recent class, with 20 adults signed up, was on “Soul Quest: Life, Death and Beyond Understanding the Jewish View.”
The Silbersteins showed up in Larchmont with a small grant from Chabad to get them started. After that, they were expected to attract local funds and support. “Thank God, now with the support of local families – and some very generous people – we’ve grown from one little program to a full array of programs and activities,” said Rabbi Silberstein. He was also appreciative of the friendships of the other local synagogues, with which Chabad has done programs.
Asked if Chabad was ready for its own synagogue, Rabbi Silberstein responded that “We’d love to have our own building – in time – but we don’t jump out of our league. Step by step we’re building up our program.”
Menorahs and Candles Replace Boat Supplies
Chabad jumped one block down from Tung Hoy to Boaters World in time for Chanukah. Instead of boating accessories, there are menorahs, candles, and other Judaica for sale. To entice and educate young children, teens and their parents, there are Chanukah themed arts and crafts, games, and demonstrations.
Chanukah begins Friday evening, December 11, but in the Dreidel House, the Chanukah spirit is in full swing.
Children can build and paint a sports or train menorah, decorate dreidels, bead a Chanukah bracelet or necklace, make their own Chanukah candles, squeeze and refine olive oil, and guess how many dreidels are in a display to win an iPod nano-chromatic.
New this year is a dark room, where children can join the search for pure olive oil. Additional attractions are a three-foot tall Chanukah Connect Four game, videos, and a toddler area.
Rabbi Mendel Silberstein is not related to the reporter of this article