Jan 10, 2017
School Aims for World Record Latke
Students of Hebrew Academy of Long Beach used 90 pounds of potatoes and 208 eggs in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the biggest Latke.
Children cheered and sang as the smell of frying potato pancakes wafted across the Hebrew Academy OC campus on December 23, but it wasn’t lunch time – this was a school-wide science and mathematics experiment.
Educators at the private Jewish day school engaged their community and student body in a giant end-of-semester project and attempted to break a Guinness World Record for frying the world’s largest latke (potato pancake). And, while an error in the calculations might have prevented the school from setting the record, they achieved the ultimate goals of bringing their community together on the eve of Hanukkah and made learning fun.
“This is a really special day and I’m so proud of all of you,” said Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R, CA-48) told the children.
350 K-12 students made the calculations and mixed ingredients while adult volunteers and school staff labored over the giant, custom 7-foot, 7-inch diameter aluminum skillet – while others monitored a bank of propane tanks that would give the most grizzled firefighter instant heartburn.
“We wanted this to be the world’s biggest and best latke,” said Rabbi Yitzchok Newman, the head of the school. “We wanted it to last for eight nights.”
90-pounds of potatoes, 208 large eggs, 42 cups of flour, 84 teaspoons of salt, 30 teaspoons of pepper and a seemingly endless supply of shredded onions resulted in a tasty treat that more closely resembled a soufflé than a contiguous latke.
Still, the rabbis say the activity was an undeniable success.
In fact, one could argue that the miracle of Hanukkah more closely parallels the story of this latke than a successful frying attempt might have. Had the oil of the Israelites behaved as expected, the Temple’s light would have burned out in unremarkable fashion – yet, in the oil’s unexpected behavior, the Jews of Israel were reminded of Hashem’s greatness.
“We want our students have incredible learning experiences,” Newman said. “And we want them to grow into pillars of our community… leading and inspiring the world with their intelligence, emotional sophistication, a love for Judaism and unshakable character.”
Undeterred and armed with data, the school is committed to taking another whack at the record. For science and learning are the byproduct of failure while the metal of character is forged in fire … or, sometimes, in boiling oil.
Enrollment for the year 17/18 is open, please call Nelli at 714-898-0051.