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Having pun with a Dr. Dreidel

A San Francisco-based artist puts a new spin on the four-sided top

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

The Dr. Dreidel, a laser-etched wooden dreidel that brings together Hanukkah's traditions with modern times (Courtesy Hannah Rothstein)
The Dr. Dreidel, a laser-etched wooden dreidel that brings together Hanukkah's traditions with modern times (Courtesy Hannah Rothstein)

Would you play dreidel with a four-sided spinning top engraved with images of rapper Dr. Dre?

“It just came to me,” said the dreidel’s creator, artist Hannah Rothstein, of her handiwork, the Dr. Dreidel.

You could almost see her shrugging over the phone.

The San Francisco-based artist had just finished up on her Thanksgiving project, prints of how famous artists would plate Thanksgiving meals — she created 25 limited edition prints, with 10% of her profits donated to a local food bank — and was thinking about the next set of holidays, Hanukkah and Christmas.

Hannah Rothstein's Piet Mondrian version of the Thanksgiving Special (Courtesy Hannah Rothstein)
Hannah Rothstein’s Piet Mondrian version of the Thanksgiving Special (Courtesy Hannah Rothstein)

“I love wordplay, it’s always on my mind, especially grandpa jokes,” said Rothstein, a freelance copyeditor who particularly likes doing projects that make people laugh.

That’s when the “creativity gods rained down upon me,” and she thought up Dr. Dreidel, a dreidel engraved with the handsome visage of the Emmy-winning rapper and producer, listed by Forbes as the world’s highest-paid musician.

The real Dr. Dre (CC BY-SA 3.0)
The real Dr. Dre (CC BY-SA 3.0)

She first tried 3D printing a dreidel with Chris McCoy, a friend who works in printing design, but it didn’t quite work. So she headed home, and sanded the sides of a big wooden dreidel and brought it back to McCoy, who laser etched her sketches on the sides of the dreidel and made the stylish, dreidel-fitted box.

Each Dr. Dre face correlates with the consequence of a possible dreidel spin, as explained on Rothstein’s website:

Nun is for “nothing happens,” with a “deadpan Dr. Dre.”

Gimmel is “take all, a dreidel player’s dream,” wrote Rothstein, with a thumbs up from Dr. Dre.

Hey is for take half, with “no reason to party, but it isn’t too shabby,” with a mildly smug Dr. Dre portrait.

Nun, for 'nothing happens' and a fairly passive Dr. Dre face (Courtesy Hannah Rothstein)
Nun, for ‘nothing happens’ and a fairly passive Dr. Dre face (Courtesy Hannah Rothstein)

Shin requires a player to put a piece back in the pot, with Dr. Dre shown placing a gun to his temple, probably an image taken from one of the films in which he’s acted.

But Rothstein cautions players not to worry, as shins “are seldom a chronic problem in dreidel. Dr. Dre’s definitely overreacting.”

For now, there’s only one prototype, as Rothstein has to figure out the legal issues of making dreidels with Dr. Dre’s image printed on the sides.

“I like to think he’d like it,” she said of the Dr. Dreidel. “It’s pretty epic. I don’t know if anyone has modernized the dreidel before.”

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