Weber’s Kislev Madness dreidel tournament started this year on Monday, December 3. The competition was fierce, and students kept their eyes peeled to see if they had correct brackets. Past winners include Mr. Drew Cohen and Morah Yaira Auz.
Kislev Madness was first created during an Etgar program in 2015. Seniors Jack Kaye and Jason Marcus, along with former Weber Jewish Studies teacher Ms. Joey Heyman, came up with the idea for a dreidel tournament. It is based on March Madness, a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament that follows 64 college men’s basketball teams. People across the world fill out and bet on brackets that they believe are correct for the tournament. Kislev Madness includes dreidel games, in which teachers play three three-minute rounds to win the most gelt.
Student Council runs the tournament, which includes teachers from four different “regions” of the school: The “U,” STEM, Humanities and the Dean Team. After the regions were decided, members of Student Council asked teachers to participate in the tournament. This year, they specifically tried to include more new teachers in order to bring them into a Weber tradition.
Junior Joey Rubanenko says that “It’s a cool idea to see teachers compete in something, just like how we compete in sports against other schools; I like how they get so competitive over something so silly.” The tournament brings the school together with ruach, or spirit, as the semester begins to draw to a close. Many students are starting to feel the pressure of approaching finals, so the tournament is a way to have some fun during the school day.
Mrs. Michelle Geppert agreed with Rubanenko, saying that the tournament is “a way for students to see teachers in a different environment, [it is] fun to see [the teachers’] competitive side[s].” That is part of why the program is so popular– it brings students and teachers together in an environment outside of class and gives students a chance to see their teachers get involved in the competition. Senior Jack Kaye likes that he can “see teachers– even those who aren’t Jewish– get into the Hanukkah spirit.”
Jason Marcus says that the idea was originally formulated as a way to get the whole student body involved in a program during Hanukkah. He is glad that it “brings a sense of unity to the student body.” Rubanenko says that “for the people that truly care about the school, it is exciting.”
Congratulations to Coach Jessica LaGala on winning this year’s tournament!