Forget the hot dogs, chicken wings and pizza eating competitions. Long Island is now home to the first-ever International Kosher Latke Eating Contest.
The competition will be featured on the 17th annual live Chanukah Telethon on Sunday, organized by Rabbi Perl, who heads the Chabad of Mineola and fried up the latkes for the contestants himself.
Eight contestants will have three minutes to eat as many latkes as they can while a “Latke-ette” will keep score. The top three winners will receive Chanukah gelt, Yiddish for money, in the amounts of $360 for first prize, $250 for second and $180 for the third.
“I created the Kosher Latke Eating Contest to bring lightheartedness and joy into people’s lives that is part of this happy holiday,” Perl said.
Also on hand will be celebrity Chef Jeff Nathan, of Abigail’s restaurant in New York City, who taught Perl how to perfect his latkes. Viewers will see the latke recipe.
The latke, which originated from the Ukrainian potato pancake, is the dish most associated with Chanukah in the U.S. Foods fried in oil symbolize the miraculous burning of a small amount of pure oil in the Menorah for eight days, that should have only lasted for one day, in the Holy Temple until new oil was prepared, according to Perl.
“Our goal is to continue helping those who need money due to foreclosures, bankruptcy, job loss and further expand our charitable work,” said Perl, whose shul who targeted by an anti-Semitic attack earlier this year. “Parents of our Hebrew School children call us every day asking for help and moral support, and we want to be there for them.”
The rabbi aims to raise $500,000 to further expand the charitable programs. Some of the programs supported by the Chanukah Telethon include Good Deed Awards for Teenagers, Drug and Aids Prevention Outreach, Toys for Hospitalized Children, Hospital Visitation to the Lonely, Children’s Matzah Factory, Bar/Bat Mitzvah for the Unaffiliated… and many others.
The telethon will include Rocking DJ Mickey B, and entertainers including the Chassidic “Dancing Rabbis, juggler, comedian, mentalist David Levitan and others. A free raffle drawing with many prizes will be awarded to those who send an e-mail with their name, address and phone number to: [email protected].
For more information on the telethon, contact Rabbi Perl at 516-739-3636. Anyone interested in participating in the contest should send an email to: [email protected].
The telethon will air 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on WLNY TV 10/55 with a simultaneous web cast at: www.chanukahtelethon.com.