Thursday, March 23, 2000

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The Daily Gazette

Swarthmore College
Thursday, March 23, 2000
Volume 4, Number 98


1) 3rd annual Latke-Hamantaschen debate ends in a draw

2) World news roundup

3) Campus events


1) Men’s lacrosse defeats Villa Julie

2) World sports roundup

3) Today’s and tomorrow’s contests


Today: Partly cloudy. High in the lower 60s.
    aliergb;aeiwubnfpo2389yu5v-q 92y8liudr.

Tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 40s.

Tomorrow: Partly cloudy. High in the upper 60s.

[It would appear that the Daily Gazette has either consumed strange and
probably illegal substances, has instructed its imaginary cat to write the
weather, or cannot think of anything funny to say today.]


1) 3rd annual Latke-Hamantaschen debate ends in a draw

Ruach presented its 3rd Annual Latke-Hamantaschen Debate last night, with
celebrated guests Dean Bob Gross and religion professor Nathaniel Deutsch.
Gross argued admirably for the superiority of the latke, fried potato pancakes
made for Chanukah, while Deutsch presented a formidable and scholarly case for
hamantaschen, triangular fruit- or poppyseed-filled cookies made for Purim.

Gross opened his argument with statement that the latke was superior to the
hamantaschen for “social, symbolic, and aesthetic” reasons. His most convincing
moment came when he discussed the relative inferiority of the hamantaschen’s
religious symbolism when compared to the latke. Calling the hamantaschen’s
triangle shape “awkward,” he dubbed the circular latke the shape of universal
humanity, while the onion, chives, and egg which can also be found in the latke
were symbols for “the mysteries of the universe,” “spring-time and the renewal
of being,” and the “human soul.” Gross summed up his statements succinctly when
he said, “There is nothing more satisfying than something fried in hot oil.”

Professor Deutsch, second to speak, took a theological approach to the debate.
He examined the hamantaschen in “the Jewish tradition of multiple
interpretations,” looking at the four different levels of understanding one can
apply to the Bible and to traditional foods. Citing “obscure” texts including
the Dead Sea Scrolls, he spoke of the literal, symbolic, philosophical, and
mystical interpretations of the hamantaschen. Drawing heavily from the
languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and even Yiddish, Deutsch explored the
etymological depths of the words latke and hamantaschen, concluding, among
other things, that the term latke could be drawn from the name Lot from the
story of Sodom and Gomorrah and thus was sinful. The word latke was also shown
to be inferior to the term hamantaschen in that it sounds a lot like “leyt-kis”
which means “lacking a pocket.” The hamantaschen does not lack a pocket, as it
is filled with fruit. Finally, using the mystical technique of applying the
number equivalent to the Hebrew letters (Gamatreya) in the words latke and
hamantaschen, Deutsch showed that the latke’s Kaballistic meaning is “judgment”
whereas the hamantaschen symbolizes “mercy,” a sign of God’s acceptance of the
hamantaschen-eaters over latke-eaters.

In the question and answer session after both Gross and Deutsch had spoken,
both debators were barraged with difficult questions. Gross was asked how the
potato could represent universality and wholeness, when in fact it is shredded
to make the latke. Gross replied, “It is not simply shredded but
transmogrified–reconstituted into a richer reality.” At one point, after
fielding several questions in a row from the audience, Gross expressed his
relief when someone finally asked Deutsch a question, shouting, “You go, girl!”
Deutsch was asked how the hamantaschen related to the Book of Leviticus and
several other thought provoking questions, including “What is up with your

After the last questions, Gross and Deutsch reiterated their respect for the
other’s arguments. The audience was left to decide for themselves whose side
they found the most convincing.



2) World news roundup

The federal government agreed yesterday to pay a record $508 million to more
than 1,000 women who claimed they were refused employment by the now defunct
U.S. Information Agency solely based on their sex. The settlement announced by
the Justice Department resolves a more than 20-year-old case stemming from
allegations that the women were denied jobs as foreign language broadcasters,
writers, editors and technicians at USIA between 1974 and 1984. Denying
employment based on sex is a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
…Gasoline that spewed from a vandalized pipeline in southeastern Nigeria
burst into flames Wednesday, leaving as many as 50 people dead after they tried
to collect spilled fuel. Nigeria is battling a growing problem with vandals who
attack pipelines. …A U.S. envoy began a mission to Taiwan on Wednesday hoping
to learn how serious the newly elected president is about avoiding war with
China. Lee Hamilton came to Taipei hours after a U.S. diplomat wrapped up talks
with Chinese leaders in Beijing, saying he was encouraged by China’s cautious
attitude with Taiwan. …The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that public
universities can collect student activity fees even from students who object to
particular activities, as long as the groups given the money are chosen without
regard to their views. Groups of students have claimed a constitutional right
to keep their money from supporting gay rights, women’s rights, the environment
and other causes. Three law students at Wisconsin’s Madison campus brought the
suit and won a ruling from the federal appeals court in Chicago that the
mandatory fees were a form of compelled speech that violated their First
Amendment rights.


3) Campus events

“Field Methods in Linguistics” by Helen Miehle ’72
Dupont 190, 11:20 a.m.

“Circassian Encounters: Towards a Transational Ethnography”
by Seteney Shami of the Social Science Research Council
Bond Memorial Hall, 4:15 p.m.

“Excavating Freud Excavating: Fragments and Fantasies in the
Psychoanalytic Landscape” by Diane O’Donoghue, Tufts
LPAC Cinema, 4:15 p.m.

Chemistry Colloquium
Kohlberg 115, 4:30 p.m.

English Country Dance Class
Troy Dance Studio, 6:05 p.m.

Sharples Upstairs Room, 6:15 p.m.

Foreign Study Information meeting
Dupont 190, 7:00 p.m.

“Drug Discovery: Triumphs and Challenges”
by Euguene Cordes, University of Michigan
Scheuer Room, 8:00 p.m.

Mertz Lounge, 8:00 p.m.

Mary Lyons Lounge, 9:00 p.m.

“Shattering the Silences: The Case for Minority Faculty”
Trotter 203, 9 p.m.

Latin Night
Upper Tarble, 9:30 p.m.



1) Men’s lacrosse defeats Villa Julie

The men’s lacrosse team, now 4-0 on the season, is having its best start since
1984. The team defeated Villa Julie 9-5, led by Blake Atkins ’02 with three
goals, Mark Dingfield ’01 with two goals and one assist, and Than Court ’03
with two goals and one assist. Sig Rydquist ’00 turned away 10 Mustang shots
for the victory.


2) World sports roundup

Philadelphia Flyers star Eric Lindros will miss the rest of the regular season
and at least one round of the NHL playoffs while he recovers from his fourth
concussion in two years. Lindros was diagnosed with a concussion that was more
serious than originally thought and will be sidelined four to six weeks.
…Doctors are recommending Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon not play
basketball for several weeks because of respiratory problems that have plagued
him. …After the NFL’s first season with instant replay since 1991, the
league’s competition committee has voted 6-1 to recommend use of the same
system in 2000. It will be voted on by all 31 teams at the league owners’
meetings next week in Palm Beach, Fla., with 24 votes needed for approval.
…Injured Phoenix Suns forward Tom Gugliotta has told the U.S. Olympic Team to
replace him on its roster for the games in Sydney later this year.


3) Today’s and tomorrow’s contests

Women’s JV Lacrosse vs. Chesnut Hill, 4:15 p.m.

Baseball at Neumann, 3:15 p.m.

Quote of the day:
“I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I’ve ever known.” — Walt Disney

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    Melanie Hirsch
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This concludes today’s report.

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