When Shahrokh and Julie Ghodsi opened the Golden Dreidle 20 years ago, they did it because of their love of art. They also started the store (then in Costa Mesa, where many Jewish agencies were located) to eliminate the frustration of trekking to Los Angeles and not always finding the right item to celebrate a Jewish holiday or life cycle event.
Today the Golden Dreidle parallels the Orange County Jewish community in many ways – it includes something for many varieties of Jewish practice, it is much bigger than it used to be, it has an on-line presence and it is in Irvine. The Ghodsis have been the only owners of the Golden Dreidle, and they take pride in customer service and making sure that people find exactly what they want.
Furthermore, Shakrokh, who had had a jewelry business, and Julie, whose background is in retailing, have an knack for spotting trends and unusual items. There is something for everybody – from traditional to contemporary and artsy.
From a wall full of colorful tallitot to glass, ceramic, wood and metal items for every occasion, to jewelry to books and more, the Golden Dreidle has “a full array of everything,” according to Julie Ghodsi. “Our customers come from across the country, including New York, and importers who visit the store say that we have things from Israel that they’ve never seen.”
Suppliers come from all over the world. About half are from Israel, some are local artists who hold “trunk shows” at the store and others come from Russia, Spain, England and Poland. Depending on the time of year, the Golden Dreidle has as many as 45 challah plates, 200 seder plates and 300 menorahs. There are 85 cookbooks and “the largest collection of Jewish books for sale south of L.A.” Customers can choose from a variety of baby gifts, Bar and Bat Mitzvah gifts, wedding gifts, house gifts and Judaica items for every holiday and special occasion.
For weddings, there are 300 ketubah (marriage contract) samples in the store and 600 available online (www.ketubahstore.com). Every ketubah order is customized in some way. The Golden Dreidle works with 60 ketubah artists who provide personalization in a variety of styles and varieties of text. Ketubot come in Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, egalitarian, interfaith, anniversary, humanist, Sephardic and Spanish versions. Some artists offer multiple texts in each category. Customers can talk directly to the artists or work with the store owners to find what they want. People who are helping to plan their children’s weddings are also purchasing ketubot for themselves, according to Julie Ghodsi.
“More people are going back to tradition,” she explained. “They’re also coming in for chuppah (wedding canopy) rentals, kiddush items and glasses to break after the ceremony.”
A colorful new tradition that has emerged involves the glass that the groom breaks. At one time many Jewish grooms actually stomped on a light bulb. Today’s energy-saving light bulbs preclude such usage without hurting the groom’s foot, so he is back to using a glass. Now the glasses come without stems or bases in many colors with a satin bag, and the shards are preserved to be used in an artistic way later. The Golden Dreidle carries cubes, mezuzot, kiddush cups, Shabbat candles and other Jewish artifacts or house gifts that incorporate the shards.
The store is replete with other items, including Roman glass jewelry from Israel, beaded jewelry, soap that looks like Mah Jongg tiles, unusual calendars, toys and useful items for every Jewish household.
The Golden Dreidle
2626 Dupont Dr, Ste 40
Irvine, CA 92612
(Corner of Jamboree
(949) 955-0900 or
10 a.m.-6 p.m.,
Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.