Large menorahs are everywhere nowadays, but large dreidels? Not so common. So when Rabbi Mendy and Malkie Herson, respectively the executive and educational directors at Chabad-Lubavitch of Greater Somerset County, erected a giant dreidel outside their Basking Ridge, N.J., Jewish center, it drew attention and smiles from passersby.

At more than 18 feet tall, drivers and pedestrians alike can see the dreidel from the nearby busy intersection of Valley Road and King George Road. And after 10 years of a presence in Basking Ridge, the residents expect to see the dreidel each year around Chanukah.

The Hersons' focus on the dreidel stems from the importance it played during the first Chanukah more than 2,000 years ago.

"The Hellenists tried to outlaw Jewish spirituality, to take the soul out of Judaism," said Mendy Herson. "Tradition tells us that Jewish children would study the Torah in hiding. When anti-Jewish forces would find them, they would take out little tops, dreidels in Yiddish, and pretend they were just playing a children's game.

"The four letters which adorn the dreidel are an acronym for a Hebrew phrase meaning 'A great miracle happened there,' in Israel," added Herson. "We're trying to recreate the miracle of Jewish survival and growth right here."

The Chabad Jewish Center in Somerset County offers a preschool and Hebrew school, as well as regular Shabbat services and classes. It will be hosting a communal menorah lighting beside the dreidel on Dec. 9, the fifth night of Chanukah.