The Great Jewish Food Debate: Moderated by Shirley Tilghman

debating jewish food since ever

The Center for Jewish Life and Whig-Clio hosted the annual Latke-Hamentaschen Debate this afternoon in the quest of answering the noble, eternal question of, you guessed it: Latkes or Hamentaschen?

Two traditional Jewish foods: fried potato pancakes vs. triangular pastries made with sweet fillings. Originating in 1946 at UChicago, The Latke-Hamentaschen Debate is an academic, yet hilarious debate concerning the merits of these two unusual foods.

Moderator: President Shirley Tilghman

Team Latke: Visiting psych professor Yarrow Dunham and Quipfire member Jake Robertson ’15

Team Hamentaschen: Philosophy professor Gideon Rosen and Quipfire member Amy Solomon ’14


The Best (out-of-context) Quotes of the Night: 

Shirley T: “She likes to claim she was being prescient, but I suspect she was just stoned.”

Amy Solomon:  “You may be asking how can Jake be defending a latke if he is basically a human hamentaschen: he’s in Triangle, he’s sweet…see though, he’s not filled with poppy seeds or cherries, but simply filled with shit.”

Shirley T: “The most interesting thing about this debater [Rosen], is that he has a dog named Harvey. Harvey Rosen.”

(Apparently, later on when Econ Professor Harvey Rosen got a dog, he named him Gideon. Cute.)

Gideon Rosen: “There’s good music and then there’s Britney Spears.”

Shirley T: “Rosen graduated from Columbia and majored in the metaphysics of Jewish food.”

Jake Robertson: “My mother has a theory that my grandmother is lying and is Jewish.”

Yarrow Dunham:  “The Cardinal Virtues of The Latke.”

Gideon Rosen:  “The latke is down at the bottom with prime matter. Latke is fried prime matter. ”

Yarrow Dunham:  “Which is closer to the type of food served at Hoagie Haven? The answer is latke.”

The winner in the end? Team Hamentaschen.

In Honor Of Tilghman’s Retirement, a Wordle Retrospective

You’ve all probably heard the news by now: President Tilghman will be leaving us at the end of the year, ending her 12-year term as Princeton’s first female president. Her announcement yesterday caused a media frenzy and a slew of related commentary. For a visual reflection of this response and of President Tilghman’s legacy, check out this wordle, based on the first two pages of hits for a Google search of “Shirley Tilghman”:

[caption id="attachment_13269" align="aligncenter" width="515"] Image source:[/caption]

Ricky Silberman, Matzo Ball King

Ricky Silberman ‘13 mobilized a significant proportion of the student body at Princeton to vote for him last month. He wasn’t in any of the contests that students typically spam listservs about: start-up ideas, USG elections, filmmaking competitions. Instead, Ricky needed votes to become the fifth and final contestant in the 6th Annual Man-o-Manischewitz Cook-Off. He got them, sending him to the competition in New York Wednesday, where he took away the $25,000 prize package.

To listen to University President–and Ricky’s thesis advisor–Shirley Tilghman respond to Ricky’s win, click here.


Photo by Sara Rich

Manischewitz is the icon of staple Jewish food, and sells Passover matzo, gefilte fish, and sweet Shabbat wine, among other traditional Jewish delicacies. Each year the company holds a cook-off, and this year Ricky entered. He was one of five finalists to compete in the final round at the JCC on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Ricky’s competition was stiff: a mother and educator, a dad and accountant, and two women who are “professional cooking competition-istas.” Ricky was by far the youngest competitor, with his “mod” matzo ball soup. 

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Committee on Women’s Leadership Seeks to Bridge the Campus Gender Divide

When the Steering Committee on Undergraduate Women’s Leadership was founded by President Tilghman in December 2009, its stated goal was to address an increasingly evident and concerning fact: women at Princeton were, in some way, flying under the radar. The number of women involved in leadership roles and the number winning academic prizes took a nosedive beginning in 2000. Somehow, the experience of women at Princeton was fundamentally different than that of their male peers.

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(From left to right) Figure 1: Representation of Princeton Undergraduates in Highest Profile Leadership Positions on Campus, 1970-2010, by Sex and by Decade; Figure 2: Winners of Pyne Prizes, 1970-2009, by Sex and by Decade

President Tilghman charged the committee to address “the critical question of whether women undergraduates are realizing their academic potential and seeking opportunities for leadership at the same rate and in the same manner as their male colleagues.” After a year of work in focus groups, committees, surveys, and conversations, here’s what the committee of 9 faculty members, 6 undergrads, and 3 administrators came up with.

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Breaking the Ice — “Shirley Tilghman: Not a Bro”

"Dick Van Buren" icing Prez Shirley Tilghman

"Dick Van Buren" '10 icing Prez Shirley Tilghman

That up there is Shirley Tilghman, President of Princeton University. Opposite her is “Dick Van Buren” ’10 (who asked we change his name for this article). In the photo, DVB is icing Shirley Tilghman. This is his story.

But, let’s backtrack for a second — if you haven’t yet heard of icing, well, I guess you’re not a bro, bro. Quoth the Times:

The premise of the game is simple: hand a friend a sugary Smirnoff Ice malt beverage and he (most participants have been men) has to drink it on one knee, all at once — unless he is carrying a bottle himself, in which case the attacker must drink both bottles of what [one bro] described as a “pretty terrible” drink.

The trend’s struck colleges across the country, and has even started to creep into everyday bro life. (Icing a bro when he gets to his office desk in the morning, icing a bro when he gets back from the gym, icing a bro coming out the bathroom — classic, all of them.) Unfortunately, the chronicler of the offline meme,, has stepped down. But if you stuck around for Reunions this year, you might have seen the wreckage of the beautiful game around campus — freshly downed bottles of Ice were strewn about campus much of the weekend.

And one of those Ices had Shirley’s name on it. DVB tells us how things went down.

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Week in Review (May 30 – June 6): Campus Diaspora Edition

Since it’s summer and we know you’re busy at your super-important [insert bank here]/[insert NGO here]/[insert research institution here] internship or backpacking across Europe or voraciously watching back episodes of Gossip Girl, we here at The Ink round up the week’s news so you don’t have to. Today we’ve got some graduations stuff, some art crime stuff, some reality TV show stuff, some fratty stuff, and generally, stuff.

First up this week: Alumni swarmed Princeton this weekend, as you might have guessed, for Reunions. There was debauchery, there was dunko (as per the Wall Street Journal), and good times had by old people. God reportedly attempted to smite the revelers, but only knocked out a few trees. Fun!

A tree near Dillon Gym faced the wrath of nature

A tree near Dillon Gym faced the wrath of nature

Also, graduation happened, which is weird to think because that means a quarter of the student body has moved on into the real world. At Baccalaureate on Sunday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ’86 told the Class of 2010 about his grandmother and to be kind.

And then NBC news anchor Charlie Gibson ’65 cracked some jokes, along with Class Day speakers Zach Zimmerman ’10 and Becca Foresman ’10. Reports indicate everybody had a good time. Too bad superstar student body commander-in-chief CDY wasn’t there, because he was racing with Jonathan Schwartz ’10 while filming an episode of the CBS reality show The Amazing Race.

The Class of 2010 marched on anyway, and 1,166 seniors passed through FitzRandolph Gates, with some special guests. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was given an honorary degree for a bunch of stuff, among them being a trailblazer for women’s rights and being pretty old.

Valedictorian David Karp (who had 29 A’s and A+’s!?) spoke, along with salutatorian Marguerite Colson, who gave her address in Latin to a bunch of people who couldn’t understand her:

Because few students today know Latin, the new graduates follow along using printed copies of the remarks. These include footnotes telling when to applaud (plaudite) and laugh (ridete). Guests and other audience members do not have the annotated copies, a practice dictated by tradition because the salute is directed to the members of the class.

Here’s a slick video Princeton made of the happenings. Money shot’s near the end, with the Class of 2010 on the steps of Blair Arch, doing the creepy Heil singing “Old Nassau.”

We’ll miss you guys!

And then, that huge sucking sound you heard on Wednesday? That was campus being evacuated for the summer. News grinded to a halt, but stuff still happened, apparently:

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IN PRINT: University to Consider Banning Frats & Sororities, Tilghman says

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="199" caption="John Burford '12, former SAE pledge"]John Burford 12, former SAE pledge[/caption]

The administration will consider over the summer banning fraternities and sororities outright from campus, President Shirley Tilghman said in an interview.

Tilghman said she was considering three options: 1) keeping the University’s current policy of non-recognition, 2) recognizing fraternities and sororities in the hopes of increasing regulation and University oversight, and 3) banning Greek life from Princeton outright.

“At the moment I am keeping an open mind about all options,” including retaining the University’s existing policy of non-recognition, Tilghman said in an e-mail to PAW. One way to ban Greek life, she said, would be to require matriculating students to pledge not to join fraternities or sororities, the same method used when fraternities were banned from Princeton between 1855 and World War II.

Tilghman’s comments came the week after John Burford ’12, a former Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) pledge, described allegations of serious fraternity hazing in The Daily Princetonian’s article, a story that had been recorded for a fall journalism class and posted on The Weekly Blog at PAW Online in February.

While most fraternity and sorority alumni said they enjoyed their Greek life experience, some alumni now say they have their doubts. The founding president of Theta, Mim Stokes Brown ’85, told the PAW: “My personal feeling is that the school doesn’t need them. Between the eating clubs and residential colleges, it just seems unnecessary… I can’t think what value is added by having fraternities and sororities.”

Read the rest of the PAW exclusive here.

(image source: Princeton Alumni Weekly)

CDY and Jonathan Schwartz ’10 are on the Amazing Race

Guess someone took our advice!  CBS’s globe-trotting reality show The Amazing Race kicked off the filming of its 17th season on May 26.  Among the 11 pairs of two vying for the show’s million-dollar prize is Team NassoonFormer Student Body President – and Pyne Prize winner – Connor Diemand-Yauman ’10 and Fantasticks star Jonathan Schwartz ’10 (check out our linked interviews with the two Racers).

Filming began in the Boston area on the morning of the 26th.  First came an introductory segment filmed in Gloucester Harbor (Connor and Jonathan are the “Green Team” — you can catch a glimpse of them at around 4:15 in this video).  Then the teams made their way to Logan Airport, where they were photographed by bystanders not affiliated with the show.  Here’s Connor and Jonathan at the airport en route to the first leg in England (more details after the jump):


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Eating Club Task Force Recommends Multi-Club Bicker

[caption id="attachment_6204" align="alignleft" width="249" caption="What do you call it when Tiger Woods and his caddy argue about which golf club to use? Multi-club bicker!"]What do you call it when Tiger Woods and his caddy argue about which golf club to use? It's multi-club bicker![/caption]

The Eating Club Task Force released its recommendations Monday afternoon, and as expected there are several calls for change (full list of recommendations here). One of its most interesting suggestions is an eradication of the current bicker process in favor of a multi-club bicker. Let’s go to the documents!

The Task Force recommended that the Eating Clubs:

  • Consider an alternative club selection process in which each sophomore interested in joining a club would submit a ranked list of preferences and each club that wished to do so could submit a ranked list of sophomores it would most like to admit. A computer program would make matches based on the preferences submitted by students and any preferences submitted by the clubs. The process would not preclude clubs (open or selective) from encouraging students to get to know them and list them as preferences.
  • This process would permit clubs to retain aspects of selectivity but would not require them to do so. By placing every student in his or her highest possible choice as part of a single process, it evokes a central feature of multi-club bicker. This method provides for greater privacy in the selection process and is much easier to describe to potential applicants and admitted students.
  • Encourage all bicker clubs to pick up new members at 1879 Arch (as Cottage and Cap and Gown did this year) or at the clubs, and to consider new or improved sections related to pick-ups and bicker in the clubs’ Best Practices Handbook.

Multi-club bicker?! Radical! But not necessarily new. It turns out the current system of only bickering a single club was only put in place during the 1980s. So really bicker would be going old school (except with women this time).

So what happens now? According to President Shirley Tilghman, “the ball is in everyone’s court.” Like you, we weren’t totally sure what exactly this meant, but here’s what we’ve come up with: the recommendations are meant to be the start of a discussion, on issues from financial aid to the role of Greek life in bicker clubs. Have an opinion? Read the report and let us know what you think in the comments section.

(image credit:

When the prefrosh weather machine breaks down

The prefrosh are coming this weekend, and in recent years, the little kiddies have enjoyed absolutely gorgeous weather. For those of you who don’t know, the weather was so consistently amazing on these preview weekends that people started suspecting Shirley Tilghman kept a weather machine for the occasion. I mean, we’re talking brilliant mid-70s sunny kind of stuff.

But have you checked the weather report for this weekend? Awful, to say the least:

Welcome, prefrosh!

Welcome, prefrosh!

But, maybe Shirley knows what she’s doing — a new Penn study shows that cloudy weather might actually attract prefrosh. Weird?

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Former Pres. Goheen: Greatest Man in the United States of America?

[caption id="attachment_4447" align="alignright" width="233" caption="Surprisingly, this is only partly Jim Leach. But I imagine it's pretty close. (Images from and"]Images from and[/caption]

President Tilghman might need to step it up.

Former Iowa Rep. James Leach ’64, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, received the Woodrow Wilson Award on Alumni Day last weekend. In his speech, he remembered former University president Robert Goheen ’40 as the Best President Ever. Ever ever.

From the PAW:

Before delivering his Wilson Award lecture, Leach recalled one of his first experiences at Princeton, a reception for freshmen held at the home of President Robert Goheen ’40 *48. Goheen welcomed each young man individually, offering personalized words of encouragement with every handshake. When Leach reached the front of the line, Goheen said, “Jim, pleased to meet you. I hope you continue with your math and your wrestling.”

Leach’s father, duly impressed, told his son that the Princeton president was “the greatest man in the United States of America.”

IN PRINT: Academic Neighborhoods and Budget Qualms

[caption id="attachment_4434" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Photo source: The Princeton Packet,"]Photo source: The Princeton Packet,[/caption]

Despite this year’s tighter budget and a slightly worse-for-wear endowment, President Tilghman is still thinking ahead towards breaking ground on new Neuroscience and Psychology buildings as part of an innovative Natural Sciences neighborhood (as The Ink reported earlier this week).  While the natural sciences project is has been deemed “shovel-ready” by the powers-that-be, plans for a series of new academic neighborhoods, including ones in arts and transit and the social sciences, have still had their share of difficulties in light of the recession:

“Many plans in our capital plan have been delayed, and the major factor is how we can pay for them,” said University Representative Cass Cliatt. “The plans for these buildings are ready as soon as we have the backing to pay for them.”

Read more in the Princeton Packet here.