The University of Chicago News Office
Nov. 10, 1995 Press Contact: Josh Schonwald
(773) 702-6421

Pastries and Pancakes the Subject of Debate at University of Chicago

The relative merits of latke (potato pancakes) and hamentasch (prune pastry) will be the subject of debate at the University of Chicago’s 48th annual Latke-Hamentasch Symposium on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Max Palevsky Cinema of Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St. The event is free and open to the public.

The debate follows the Jewish practice of spoofing rabbinical tradition and mimicking teachers during the holiday “Purim.” In the University’s secular environment, the debate parodies both Jewish custom and the rigorous and highly academic nature of the University.

Within the format of a symposium, a panel of speakers from the University of Chicago community use their various academic disciplines to create elaborate conceits about the nature of latkes and hamentasch. Biologists have argued chemical content; sociologists each food’s effect on civilization; economists their relative value.

This year’s panel will include Dr. Robert J. Perlman, Master of the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division and Associate Dean in Biological Sciences and Professor in Pediatrics; Sherwin Rosen, the Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor and Chairman in Economics; Barbara Stafford, Professor in Art; and Josef Stern, Associate Professor in Philosophy. Ted Cohen, Professor in Philosophy, will moderate the debate, and Rabbi Daniel Leifer, director of Hillel Foundation, will give the introduction.

No one ever wins the argument over whether the latke or hamentasch is better–one reason the subject continues to be pursued every year. Other justifications for continuing the tradition lies in the fact that the event always elicits high humor and that after the symposium, the audience–which consistently numbers in the hundreds–gets a taste of each Jewish delicacy.

The long-standing debate was begun at the University in 1945 by Rabbi Maurice Petarsky, the founder and first director of the B’nai B’rith Foundation at Chicago. It has been held every year except one since then.

A fee of $2 will be charged to those wishing to partake in the after-symposium snacks.

For more information, call (312) 752-1127.
Last modified at 03:50 PM CST on Wednesday, June 14, 2000.

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