68th Latke-Hamantash Debate set for Nov. 25

The annual Latke-Hamantash Debate will take place Tuesday, Nov. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Mandel Hall. Each year the University of Chicago hosts the legendary event, where faculty teams line up in fierce but fun-loving defense of either the latke or the hamantash, attempting to determine once and for all which is the better Jewish food.


This year’s debaters are Aaron Dinner, professor of chemistry; Wendy Doniger, the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions; Austan Goolsbee, the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics; Jeffrey Harvey, the Enrico Fermi Distinguished Service Professor in Physics; Diane Herrmann, senior lecturer of mathematics; and Malynne Sternstein, associate professor of Slavic studies. Shmuel Weinberger, professor and chair of mathematics, will moderate.

This year marks the first time the debate team has been recruited by a faculty committee, led by Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, professor of public policy and deputy dean of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. De Mesquita also will serve as master of ceremonies.

Pre-debate entertainment is being provided by students from Le Vorris & Vox and Rhythm & Jews.

The Latke-Hamantash Debate began at the University in 1946 and was moderated for decades by the late Ted Cohen, whose partnership with Rabbi Danny Leifer, of the Hillel Jewish Center, propelled the debate into the pantheon of storied University events. Latke-Hamantash was managed by Hillel for more than five decades. For the past two years, it has been organized by the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity with the help of a coalition of Jewish student organizations. This year, the event is being presented by a partnership that includes UChicago faculty members, Campus & Student Life, and a coalition of University Jewish organizations: AEPi, Chabad, Egalitarian Minyan, Hillel, jU (JewishU), JewSA (the Jewish Students Association), Rhythm & Jews and UChicago Friends of Israel.

A reception will follow, hosted by AEPi in collaboration with Campus & Student Life, with funds raised going to the AEPi Foundation's Repair the World Fund. Tickets for the reception may be bought at the door for $5, or donors can support the fund directly online.

The debate is free and open to the public, with no tickets issued for the debate itself. Seating is available on a first-come basis, and attendees are advised to arrive early. The debate will be webcast at UChicago Live and will be available from the UChicago homepage. For more information, contact Elizabeth Davenport, dean of Rockefeller Chapel, at ejld@uchicago.edu.