Source: University of Chicago Magazine
The Latke-Hamantash Debate has been a University of Chicago tradition since 1946. UChicago faculty members apply the knowledge and tools of their disciplines to resolve this age-old question in an evening of fun and frivolity! Past participants have included Nobel Prize winners and University presidents. Join us in Mandel Hall for yet another attempt to resolve this question once and for all. Attendance typically soars above 1,000 so come early for good seats!
The debate is brought to you 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.
As usual, the Brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi will host a post-debate reception in Hutchinson Commons where you can taste latkes and hamantashen and decide for yourself ($5)! All proceeds will be donated to our philanthropic efforts as part of the Repair the World Fund.
A big thank you to everyone who volunteered their time and resources to make this event happen!
Admittance to the Latke-Hamantash Debate is free and seats are first-come, first-served. Get in line early! After the debate, there will be a reception hosted by the Brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi where you can taste latkes and hamantashen. Tickets to the reception will be sold before and after the debate for $5. Registration is recommended but not required.
Time & Location
7:30 PM November 25, 2014
Doors open at 6:45 PM
Admittance is free
and seats are first-come, first-served
Mandel Hall, Reynold's Club
1131 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL
AEPi Post-Debate Reception
Taste the contenders (latkes and hamantashen) and decide for yourself!
Parking is available in the North Campus Ramp on 55th St/Ellis Ave. Street parking is limited and not guaranteed.
The University of Chicago is serviced by CTA busses 2, 6, X28, and 55. The 55th/56th/57th St Metra Electric stop is also within walking distance of the University.
Latkes are shallow-fried pancakes of grated or ground potato, flour, and egg. They are traditionally eaten during the festival of Hanukkah. The oil for cooking the latkes is symbolic of the oil from the Hanukkah story that kept the menorah in the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with a long-lasting flame that is celebrated as a miracle.
Hamantashen are filled, triangular-shaped cookies or pastries. The shape is achieved by folding in the sides of a circular piece of dough, with a filling placed in the center. It is traditionally eaten during the holiday of Purim. Hamantashen are made with many different fillings, including the traditional poppy seeds, prunes, nuts, dates, apricots, apples, fruit preserves, cherries, and chocolate.
Mathematics · Moderator
Shmuel Weinberger is a Professor of Mathematics and the Chair of the Mathematics department. His specialty is topology, which is geometry for people who cannot walk in a straight line. Ironically, one of his books is on the application of logic to problems of analysis. One reviewer commented, "This book analyses nothing, and has logic nowhere but in the title." Other reviewers were not so kind. Nevertheless, Weinberger has given a number of major invited addresses, including one at a past Latke-Hamantash Debate. It (being clear from that event that there was no risk that he would ever shed light on the issues) was thought that there was no downside in asking him to moderate the debate rather than serve as a discussant. Whether this view was too optimistic will be judged by history.
Ethan Bueno de Mesquita
Public Policy · Master of Ceremonies
Ethan Bueno de Mesquita is Deputy Dean and Professor at the University of Chicago Harris School. His research focus is on game theory and political violence, and he is currently working with a team of scholars to develop a comprehensive database of political violence in Pakistan. It is his sincere hope that this year’s Debate does not spark political violence, thus forcing him to add another observation to his dataset. Professor de Mesquita has been instrumental in the selection of the faculty to participate in this year’s Debate and will be the first MC of the event in recent memory.
Aaron Dinner is a Professor in the University of Chicago’s Chemistry department and Director of the James Franck institute, which performs research on the intersections of Chemistry, Physics, and Materials Science. His research focuses on such exciting areas as (drum roll please...): physical models of biological systems, enhanced sampling algorithms, and reverse engineering regulatory networks. Of course, for us, he is much more famous for being the presenter at the 2010 LH Debate who pulled out a potato gun on stage.
History of Religions
Wendy Doniger is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the College. She also holds positions in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations and the Committee on Social Thought. In the past, Professor Doniger has taught on courses ranging from Sex to Horses—both of which have an intimate relationship with the Latke and Hamantash. In a heavily footnoted paper, Professor Doniger argued that Hamantashen are a Womb equivalent and were worshipped in early matriarchal societies. Her paper was entitled "The Archetypal Hamentasch: A Feminist Mythology."
Professor Austan Goolsbee is most known for being a debater at the 61st Annual Latke Hamantash Debate. For those "Goolsbee Geeks" who follow some of his more obscure work, he was also Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Obama from 2009-2010 and a member of the Economic Advisory Panel to the New York Federal Reserve. He is currently Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Jeffrey Harvey is the Enrico Fermi Distinguished Service Professor in Physics. He currently works at the Enrico Fermi Institute and serves at both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. If you aren’t sure whether or not Professor Harvey is smart, let us fill you in: some of his research has been on “umbral moonshine,” and more specifically on the "connections of this moonshine to heterotic string compactifications with N=2 supersymmetry." While we have no idea what this means, we can only conclude that his foire into Chemistry and Physics was all in preparation for this historic debate.
Professor Diane Herrmann is Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Math Department. She also serves as the University’s representative to the Mathematical Association of America. According to a course evaluation written in the Spring of 2008 for a class entitled "Basic Honors Algebra 3," Professor Herrmann is "a nice person in general." We’ll see about such a bold claim when the Professor is arguing about something she really cares about: the relative merits of Latkes and Hamantashen.
Malynne Sternstein is Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. She is author of The Will to Chance, a book on Czech avant-gardes from Poetism to Surrealism and the Chicagoland Czechs. According to a 2011 article in UChicago news, Professor Sternstein once said, "I've had primal scenes that have traumatized me concerning hamantashen. These have scarred me for life. I think I know their dastardly powers better than most." The jury is still out on which food the Professor will be supporting in the 68th Debate.
Professor Ted Cohen passed away on Friday, March 14th, 2014. Professor Cohen was a valued member of our community, an extraordinary scholar, and an energetic and enthusiastic teacher. He moderated the Latke-Hamantash Debate for an uncountable number of years, and he'll be in our thoughts during this year's debate.