Episode 16: Major League Dreidel, The Spinagogue, and Dreidels on the Brain

Host Dan Crane interviews Eric Pavony, the “Knishioner" of Major League Dreidel and creator of the Spinagogue (not to mention Brewskee-Ball, a competitive Skee-Ball league for adults). And author/storyteller Joel Ben Izzy reads an excerpt from his recent Chanukah book, "Dreidels on the Brain.”

Thank you for listening to The Kibitz, a podcast about Jewish ideas and culture brought to you by Reboot.

We'd love your help as we look to improve and grow The Kibitz. Please take five minutes to let us know what you think. Your response to this survey will be confidential. As a thank you, we'll put your name in a lottery to win a $50 Amazon gift card. 

Who's in this episode?


Eric Pavony

Eric Pavony is the self-proclaimed "Knishioner" of Major League Dreidel. He's dedicated to reinventing the dreidel in a modern and exciting new way. Eric has put a fresh spin on traditional dreidel by creating original games that can be played by spinners of all ages.

He has been inventing games since he was a little boy and believes that playing games is a natural and necessary part of life. Eric particularly enjoys reimagining classic games by making them more fun, social and competitive. After recognizing that many people didn't enjoy playing conventional dreidel, Eric founded MLD and created the Spinagogue.

Eric's first love is Skee-Ball. He took the childhood game out of the boardwalk and into the bar, making it a recreational and legitimate sport for adults. He is the founder and “Skee-E-O” of Brewskee-Ball, the first-ever national Skee-Ball league. Eric is also the creator of Five Hole Cornhole, an adaptation of the popular lawn game. 

Eric owns Full Circle Bar, which is dedicated to the game of Skee-Ball. There is one in Brooklyn, where he is from and one in Austin, where he currently lives. Many of his games have been conceived with friends at one of the two Full Circle Bars.


Joel Ben Izzy

In 1983 storyteller Joel ben Izzy graduated from Stanford University and set off to travel the globe, gathering and telling stories.  Since then, he has performed and led workshops in thirty-five countries. Over the years he has also produced six recorded collections of his stories,  which have won awards from Parents’ Choice foundation, NAPPA, the ALA, and aBooklist Editor’s Choice Honor.  Joel is also one of the nation’s most sought-after story consultants, supporting organizations and leaders working to make the world a better place, with clients in fields ranging from philanthropy to medicine to technology to entertainment. Joel’s first book was the highly acclaimed memoir The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness,which has been published in seventeen languages and is currently in development as both a film and a musical. He lives with his wife, Taly, in Berkeley, California. They have two grown children.

Click to read the first chapter: Chopped Liver

And click below to:

Find it at your local independent bookstore!

Order from Amazon!

Order from Barnes and Noble!


Host: Dan Crane

Dan Crane (@dancranehere) is a writer, musician, Jew (lax, loves lox) and professional air-guitarist. He’s the author of To Air is Human and stars in the documentary, Air Guitar Nation. He writes about culture and travel for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, California Sunday, Slate, and numerous other publications. When he’s not writing, or hosting air guitar championships at home and abroad, he plays “there” guitar in various bands including Nous Non Plus and Ray & Remora

The Kibitz theme is courtesy of Nous Non Plus.