Monday, December 6, 2010

No gelt, no glory

By Michelle Manetti

The biggest sporting event of the season is back. And no, it’s not hockey.

For the fourth year, Eric Harris Pavony (left) is putting a spin on a holiday classic with his Spin the Dreidel Tournament.  

On Dec. 9, the last night of Hanukkah, 124 competitors will battle at the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg for gelt and glory. And this year, the heat is on dreidel experts — yes, we’re talking Jews — to reclaim the title from last year’s winner, a gentile.

“I know the Jews are going to be back to reclaim the New York City title,” said Pavony, who runs Major League Dreidel.

Pavony’s contests are not typical dreidel play, where contestants try to guess the Hebrew letter on which the four-sided Hanukkah top will fall. Instead, six contestants at a time compete to see whose dreidel spins the longest.

Almost as important as your twirl technique is your fighting name, and past greats have included Spindiana Jones, The Gentile Giant and Spinglorious Bastard.

Even if you’re not into the game, you can still come out for the party and enjoy tunes by the likes of the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus and Category Sixx — the self-proclaimed world’s greatest air band.

“Whether you’re a devout Jew, or Jewish and don’t really participate, or never heard of a dreidel, it’s really a great holiday party,” said Pavony.

Spin the Dreidel tournament at the Knitting Factory [361 Metropolitan Ave. at Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg, (347) 529-6696], Dec. 9 at 7 pm. Tickets $10-$15. For info, visit


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