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Festival means lots of latkes


Sarah Brown
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Marketing freshman Stephanie Cooper takes her turn grating potatoes in an effort to create the "world's largest latka" yesterday on the UA Mall. This potato, onion, flour, and egg mix was being prepared by the Greek Jewish Council in celebration of Chanukkah for the Tucson Shalom House.

By Maya Schechter
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
December 2, 1999
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Students got down and dirty with onions and potatoes to get an early start on Chanukkah celebrations yesterday when they created the world's largest latke on the UA Mall.

The University of Arizona Hillel Foundation and the Greek Jewish Council co-sponsored the event in which students could participate in Jewish traditions and help those who are less fortunate.

About 50 students stopped by the tent on the Mall between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., grating 85 pounds of onions and potatoes that were donated by Wild Oats.

The prepared ingredients were then taken to the Hillel kitchen to be cooked and then divided up into smaller pieces that would be donated to the Shalom House, a shelter that provides services to homeless women, children and families regardless of denomination.

"We ended up with about 500 potato latkes," said GJC co-president Erin Hirsch. "It was a fun day because students were able to come together for a good cause."

The tradition of cooking latkes comes from the story of Chanukkah, when a small band of Jewish warriors defeated Greek persecutors. When the Jews reconquered their temple, there was just enough oil to give them light for eight full days. This is considered a great miracle because the Jews defeated overwhelming odds and regained religious freedom. It has become a custom to eat foods rich in oil, such as latkes, to remember this joyous time in Jewish history.

Judaic studies sophomore Reina Cohen said she enjoyed the opportunity to cook latkes on campus. "I was still able to celebrate the holiday even though I am far from home," she said.

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