Latke-Hamentashen Recap Joe Yank '15

Thursday, February 28th saw this year's edition of the great Latke-Hamentashen debate. Two teams of faculty, David Sukow and Adam Schwartz for Team Latke, and Alison Bell and Rob Mish representing Team Hamentashen, squared off in a spirited engagement. It did indeed live up to its billing as "highly absurd yet deeply serious."

The hamentashen squad arrived early and began setting up their equipment and getting acquainted with the arena. Mish, director of the Lenfest Center, even took the time to enjoy his first ever hamentash, adding a flavor analysis to his already extensive knowledge on the importance of this dessert.

Team Latke showed up about a half hour before the scheduled starting time. It should be noted that they strutted into multipurpose room in their full academic robes. When asked about this wardrobe choice, Sukow stated that he and Schwartz wanted to reach a proper "level of pompousness" for the debate. Their ploy failed to achieve the intimidation factor they hoped for, however, as Bell countered by donning her archeology gear, including hat, khaki vest, trowel and game face. At that moment, the audience knew they were in for a wild ride.

Schwartz led off his piece with an unconventional move, questioning whether the hamentash represents a worthy opponent for the latke. He took his inquiry a step further, creating a bracket of Jewish foods facing off against each other with the Reuben upsetting the bagel with lox and cream cheese in the final round. Turning back to the argument at hand, he unleashed a flurry of financial analyses demonstrating the economic proof of the latke's superiority. He even detailed the health reasons that make the latke the better food item.

Bell answered Schwartz's challenge with an investigation of her own. Fresh from a wild archeological adventure, she came from the field to show the integral role the hamentash played in human prehistory. The hamentash, she revealed, triggered many of the major achievements in the evolution and development of humankind. Her argument made perfect sense. Standing upright, harnessing fire, using stone tools and developing language make sense only when viewed through the lens of gathering, cooking and eating wild hamentashen.

Next, Sukow stepped up, ready to enlighten the audience on the science behind the latke's superiority. Strolling up and down the stage, Sukow embarked on an eloquent support of the latke. The humble potato pancake, he showed, has contributed to many of the most important discoveries in the history of physics. Isaac Newton's revelation on the theory of gravity came not as a result of a falling apple, which would have seriously injured his cranium, but due to the soft thud of a golden brown latke and the oils it carried. He also brought to light how the shape of the latke elevates it above the hamentash. The latke seeks to emulate the circle, a shape, he argued, nature casts as a step towards perfection. He also made the scandalous exposé of how the hamentash starts its life as a circle, but then willfully corrupts itself through folding. This corruption, he contended, created an envious and regretful hamentash that sought to sully the great latke's appropriate place in the Jewish diet.

Finally, Mish, the first participant to arrive, took his place at center stage. He energetically displayed how the hamentash drove the history of America's unique musical theater history. All of the beloved classics, from childhood favorites to Tony Award winners, he showed, came as a result of hamentash-related activities and interventions. Mish launched a passionate defense of the hamentash, decrying the false accusations and fabricated statistics Team Latke forwarded. His heartfelt discourse on the hamentash forced each audience member to grapple with his or her identity and, indeed, question the very nature of humanity. Who knew that a series of poorly photoshopped images could evoke such profound emotion?

At the conclusion of this epic slugfest, the time came to crown a winner. A panel of three judges, Naphtali Rivkin, Max Chapnick and Sammy Rosier, left the room for deliberation. After a few tense minutes, they returned with a verdict. The winner, and still champion, of the Latke- Hamentashen Debate was... Team Latke!

After wrapping up the competition, everyone got ready for what Jews do best: eating. Thanks to the efforts of generous members of the Hillel community, a feast of delicious hamentashen and savory latkes waited in the dining room. Regardless of which food they supported, everyone could agree that, though great individually, the two foods together make a pretty good team.