Purim & the Latke-Hamentashen Debate Ben Brams '15 & Max Chapnick '13
On the evening of March 8th, students and faculty gathered in the Hillel House to debate a question as old as time itself-a question that has plagued Jewish thinkers and philosophers for hundreds of years. It's a question of superiority; a question for all the gelt. Which traditional Jewish food holds the upper hand? Is it the delicious latke or the delectable hamentashen? The purpose of the debate was to uncover the truth, and I'm happy to report, we did just that.
The debate was moderated by First-Year Ben Brams and Senior and Hillel Co-President Josh Posner, who gave a lively introduction of the debate's prestigious history both nationally and at W&L. After the inaugural latke flip, Professor Tim Diette gave the first presentation for the latke team: his smooth presentation on his extensive happiness-utility research
soundly proved that the coefficient of happiness for the latke was significantly higher than that of the hamentashen.
Following Professor Diette and his mathematical formulas and study-driven evidence was Professor of Politics Lucas Morel, who found a body of facts implying that America's founders were proponents of the Hamantash. He informed listeners that forefathers such as Washington, Franklin, and Lincoln understood the necessity for the fruit-flavored pastry, which almost single-handedly paved the way for the country in which we live today. He related the famous tri-cornered hat to the Hamantash and even went so far as to insinuate Lincoln's denial of the latke. Both lectures received hearty laughter and at the halfway point, it was much too close to call.
Next, choral director Professor Shane Lynch presented a compelling argument that George Lucas and composer John
William strongly favored the latke in their classic series Star Wars. Professor Lynch suggested that Spielberg deliberately modeled the evil Death Star after the hamentashen. He then spotlighted a forgotten hymn that extolled the virtue
of the latke while simultaneously bashing the hamentashen. Professor Lynch also had the premier choral group at W&L, the W&L Chamber Singers, perform a Mendelssohn piece with alternate lyrics in praise of the latke.
Luckily, Dean Tammy Futrell was up to the task of defending the hamantash, warning about the dangers of latke consumption, saying, "Friends don't let friends eat latkes." Dean Futrell presented her work on the negative influence of latkes on students' lives outside the classroom and the positive effects of the hamantash. In the end, it was very close - closer than any other year. After careful deliberation and multiple votes, the latke team was given the victory. Afterwards, everyone enjoyed latkes and hamentashen, and judging by the satisfied smiles as people were enjoying both foods, I think it's safe to say that everyone was a winner.