About a dozen kids sat around a long table Sunday afternoon, waiting for the signal.
Before each of them was a plate loaded with latkes, the potato pancakes of Hanukkah. Whoever cleaned his or her plate first could claim the title: Champion Latke Eater of 2011.
The contest began and ended in a pan-fried blur, with parents cheering, cameras clicking and a lot of determined chewing. The ultimate champ was a curly-haired youngster who, taking the event seriously, had pushed his sleeves up past his elbows.
But the real winner, some congregants might say, was the synagogue itself, a once-fading institution that is enjoying a renewal after an infusion of youth and whimsy and a...