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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

December 4, 2015  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

‘Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay, metal, wood, glass…’

By THAIS LEON-MILLER
Jewish Press

Phyllis Werner and husband, Sidney, have amassed a collection of dreidels over the years worthy of a museum.

From plastic toys to the avantgarde, the couple has found dreidels from around the world and keeps most of them on display in their Seminole home.

Werner said that her passion for collecting dreidels started when she was a young child.

“When I was a kid in Sunday school, I would get them every year for the holiday and my parents would give me some as well. I would save them all. When I got older, I decided to find some that were a little nicer,” she said.

In a custom-made display case, the Werners keep the “nicer” dreidels in their collection of 300. The couple gives them to one another as gifts, receives them from friends and family and hunts for them whenever they travel.

They have collected dreidels from France, the Czech Republic, Hungary and from around the U.S.


Phyllis Werner, above, got her first dreidel as a child. A portion of the 300 dreidels she and her husband Sidney have collected over the years are displayed in a specially designed case in their Seminole home. Phyllis Werner, above, got her first dreidel as a child. A portion of the 300 dreidels she and her husband Sidney have collected over the years are displayed in a specially designed case in their Seminole home. Several of their pieces have come from Israel, and Werner pointed out how to spot the difference immediately. “The dreidels you usually see will [read], “A great miracle happened there.” When the dreidel comes from Israel, it will [read] “A great miracle happened here,” she said.

Some of the dreidels are the creation of local artisans. Local designer Tom Munsey’s wooden dreidel (at left) has a spot in the wood and glass case close to another local designer – the person Werner credits with getting her started turning her hobby into an official collection: Susan Shapiro.

Shapiro was a vendor at a Con- gregation B’nai Israel Gift and Craft Fair when Werner first met her. She bought her first artistic dreidel from Shapiro and returns to her frequently to see what else she has created. Phyllis frequently wears the first dreidel she bought from Shapiro around her neck.

Among the glass, pewter, silver filigree and porcelain dreidels, there are a range of styles, shapes and colors. From the delicately ornate to the whimsically humorous, there is no set standard for the couple’s collection.

Artist Gary Rosenthal’s work is displayed among some of the larger pieces and his signature weldedmetal style makes them easy to pick out. The couple had become friends with the artist, and Rosenthal even custom-made a piece for them to commemorate their 40th year anniversary.

When asked if she would ever have enough driedels or decide to stop collecting, Werner answered, “probably not.”


A part of the Werner’s collection that has come from Israel A part of the Werner’s collection that has come from Israel She has even participated in classes to learn how to make her own, creating 10 or so different designs, which she has gifted to her grandchildren. In a smaller case she keeps some of the dreidels that were given to her by parents when she was a teacher at Bauder Elementary.

“I had a vest that I would wear that had dreidels on it,” said Werner. “I would wear dreidel earrings, a dreidel necklace … I felt like I had to because everyone else was celebrating Christmas.”

The Werners have offered their home to the St. Petersburg Hadassah chapter to celebrate Hannukah on Dec. 7. Not only will members get first-hand access to the dreidel collection, they will also eat food served in dreidel-shaped dishes and taste dreidel-shaped chocolates served alongside different latkes and applesauce.



Some of the more intricate pieces of the Werner’s dreidel collection Some of the more intricate pieces of the Werner’s dreidel collection

A piece from the Werner’s collection that represents the cityscape in Budapest A piece from the Werner’s collection that represents the cityscape in Budapest

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