Local News

Dreidels decorate “greed” room

October 29, 2013
By Suzanne Pollak
Senior Writer

A “7 Deadly Sins Halloween Party” held in D.C. Saturday night featured dreidels and gold coins in its “greed” room.

“I was very offended. I just thought it was completely inappropriate,” said a partygoer who didn’t wish to be identified.

The event was sponsored by LivingSocial, a website offering discount deals at area businesses. The Oct. 26 party was billed as a “treat yo self to a night of tricks — and sins — at the annual 7 Deadly Sins Halloween Party, a six-floor extravaganza” and was held at LivingSocial’s 918 F Street space in northwest D.C.

For $59, a person was invited to “indulge in a silent disco, movie screening” and fun in seven different rooms. Each room’s theme revolved around a sin, including lust, pride, wrath, gluttony, envy, sloth and greed.

The greed room was described as “a shimmering room full of silver and gold” in which people “get greedy challenging friends to a plethora of games.” Decorating the tables in that room were dreidels surrounded by gold coins, according to one woman who attended.

Kevin Nolan, of LivingSocial’s publicity department, apologized. “We have looked into it and determined that the inclusion of dreidels with the other games in the gaming room was not a smart choice, and we are very sorry to have upset anyone. Certainly this behavior does not reflect who we are as a company.”

The customer who complained was “offered a full refund and explained that any offense was unintended” and was given a sincere apology, Nolan said.

The upset partygoer said she considered the room’s decorations “clearly anti-Semitic” and that although she has enjoyed other LivingSocial events, like cooking classes and wine tastings, she has no intention of ever attending another one of the company’s events again.

“It just really was not appropriate at all.”

9Comments
  1. Frank Lacrosse wrote:

    Oh relax. No difference from you all going all Christmas with the gift-giving on Hanukkah.

  2. Seer wrote:

    The dreidel is, after all, a game of chance; and gambling is, after all, equated with greed, is it not? I suspect that most non-Jews have no clue what a dreidel is used for, besides that it is some kind of spinning thing. Therefore, it is kind of refreshing to read that someone knew to include it in a collection of games. It’s unfortunate that there is a stereotype regarding Jews and money; otherwise, I don’t see how including a (non-religious) Jewish children’s game in a room full of other games is “clearly anti-Semitic.” Did WJW investigate any further? Was anyone else offended besides this one woman (over 600 people attended)? How many dreidels were there? How prominent were they? Were there other Jewish objects? This story creates more questions than it should.

    I don’t doubt that the woman was offended, and I can understand why she might have been — I just don’t think that there is a real story here: “One of 600 Partygoers Offended; No Clip at 11!”

  3. Brandon wrote:

    You guys know that dreidels are made for gambling, right?

  4. a wrote:

    Frank Lacrosse- what?!?

  5. Myriam wrote:

    “No difference from you all going all Christmas with the gift-giving on Hanukkah” REALLY???? Aside from the fact that giving gifts isn’t Anti-Christian in any way, there is a precedent for Jews to give gifts on Chanukah because of “Gelt” The fact is that adding Dreidles to the room of greed implies that there is something inherently Jewish about greed or money, which is absolutely untrue and anti-semitic, propagating the same stereotypes that helped the Holocaust happen.

  6. jvill wrote:

    “Frank Lacrosse wrote: Oh relax. No difference from you all going all Christmas with the gift-giving on Hanukkah.”

    Actually, giving gifts, or more specifically “gelt” in Yiddish, on Chanukah actually pre-dates gift giving for Christmas. It’s been a tradition in some form or another since the battles for Jewish independence, which pre-date Christ. Christmas itself wasn’t even really a holiday until Saturnalia was co-opted by the Christians in the 4th century. And even then it wasn’t a real gift-giving holiday until the 19th century.

  7. Dan wrote:

    Myriam is right. Though jewish people are among the most charitable, there is a long-held stereotype that Jews are “greedy” and “cheap.” Even if you’re not familiar with a dreidel, its hebrew letters establish a clear association. I’m glad to see that Living Social took immediate action to acknowledge the inappropriateness of a Jewish symbol in the “greed room” and apologize. While Living Social should rightfully take responsibility, I’m sure it was the result by one or two insensitive (or ignorant) individuals who coordinated the party.

  8. amy k wrote:

    what the hell is a silent disco?

  9. Seer wrote:

    amy k: Exactly!

ADD COMMENTS

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *