The best craftsman makes dreidels for all seasons
Spinning tops in the middle of summer? For Israeli artist and professional dreidel sculptor Eran Grebler, it’s not a question but an invitation to take a spin with one of his handcrafted tops.
Grebler is the only artist in Israel (and possibly the world) who specializes in creating dreidels not just for Hanukkah, but all year round. He also holds the Guinness World Record for building the world’s largest dreidel, displayed in Caesarea.
For Grebler, dreidels are more than just a part of Hanukkah — it’s been a daily practice for more than 40 years.
He has created thousands of unique, handcrafted spinning tops in a variety of themes, mediums and sizes for customers and avid collectors around the world.
For example, in honor of Israel’s 74th Independence Day, he created dreidels based on aircraft flown by the Israeli Air Force, as well as a special commemorative dreidel (sevivon in Hebrew) for the occasion.
In addition to the standard letters found on either side of a Hanukkah dreidel, Grebler creates humorous options including “things grandmas like to hear from their grandchildren”, “what to eat for dinner “, “apologies to give to a police officer” and more.
Grebler is also known for his dreidels which offer special blessings for luck, health, and wealth. He also makes dreidels from old Israeli coins.
Guests are encouraged to play
As a second-generation artist, Grebler began his career in the 1980s creating a variety of Judaica, including mezuzahs, challah covers, Passover plates, and of course dreidels.
It wasn’t until two decades later that he realized his customers loved his spinning tops almost as much as he loved making them.
Soon after, he opened his first gallery, The Draydel House in Tel Aviv, dedicated to showcasing his unique designs and encouraging guests to spin and play.
Guests can also watch the artist at work, as he can be found almost daily at work on the wheel making spinning tops “out of clay”, as the classic Jewish children’s song goes.
Grebler prides himself on his gallery’s hands-on approach.
“Usually galleries selling handmade dreidels put them behind glass so people can’t touch them. Everyone in my gallery is encouraged to touch them and even play with them,” Grebler told ISRAEL21c.
“Let people play! I want people to see how each of the dreidels feels and what they look like when spinning. This has always been the vision behind my gallery.
Grebler spins about five spinning tops a day on his potter’s wheel, hand-painted and often adorned with gold. The result is a gallery of more than 800 one-of-a-kind creations for its various clients, including notable personalities, Israeli President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal.
Prices for spinning tops range from 69 to 350 shekels, or about $20 to $100; fixed items such as Seder plates and menorahs cost more.
“Working on the wheel, doing dreidels with a beautiful view of the sea, I feel like it’s every artist’s dream. This gallery gives me so much inspiration and peace. It’s the best thing that can happen to an artist,” he says.