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Fran Drescher

Latke-eating contest illustrates new life at synagogue

Latke-eating contest illustrates new life at synagogue

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...