Origami Dreidel

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
paper dreidel folded as origami toy
paper dreidel folded as origami toy

I grew up on Essex Street during the 1990's.  Back then, Essex Street was a melting pot between the traditional Jewish community and the incoming Chinatown community. At PS 42 on Hester Street, my kindergarten teacher happened to share dreidels with the class one day.  And right next by to the elementary school was the "Sweet Life" candy store, where I spent my childhood days buying dreidel with chocolate coins inside, among other exotic candies.  Further down Essex Street towards East Broadway was Seward Park Library which occasionally hosted origami classes.  I visited often, while at home my mother taught me more origami folds that were sourced from her Buddhist practices.  As it turns out, one of the origami folds my mother taught me could actually be inverted to form a base for an origami dreidel.  The origami dreidel doesn't spin, but can still be played with by tilting.  I folded it during my adulthood, but I will never forget all the fun I had growing up in the Lower East Side.  Back then, you could still find the occasional etrogs for sale while walking a short distance away towards Grand Street to buy kumquats. 

Place(s): Essex Street, Chinatown
Year: 1989

– Tom Shi

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant