I am not done with latkes yet, Beautiful People! In 1989, the Supreme Court ruling upheld displaying Chanukkah menorahs in public places as a symbol of “universal religious freedom.” Last night, on the last night of Chanukkah, our Rabbi invited the entire community to light the menorah outside, at Miami Beach Marina, with festive music, latkes, and sufganiyot (doughnuts).
On the foreground of this photo, right in front of Rabbi Mann, stands his oldest son, Mendele, a very special boy, a miracle child, as he is known in the community. Without disclosing the diagnosis, I can tell you, Beautiful People, that the doctors’ opinion was that Mendele would never walk, never talk, and never look like “normal people.” It’s only through the heroic efforts of his parents and siblings, as well as support of the entire community, that he has proven the doctors wrong! Mendele not only walks – he runs! He is a veritable social butterfly who welcomes every newcomer to services, circulates among crowds, and never forgets to invite guests to the table – yes, he talks, and quite legibly! Mazal Tov! – Mendele has just been Bar Mitzvah, and as you see, he stands upright and looks like any other boy his age. He is still very special in our hearts, as is Chabad in South Beach, under the leadership of Rabbi Shraga and Mrs Devorah Mann, whose message is clearly expressed on the shirt of their son Chanan, known as Honey: BE HAPPY, BE KIND!
Before we get to the recipe, here is a story about both latkes and sufganiyot.
Hershel from Ostropol, the famous prankster, was traveling during Chanukkah. He stopped at an inn and asked for some traditional Chanukkah food.
“Sure, -said the innkeeper, – We have three kinds of latkes (pancakes), and sufganiyot (doughnuts) with four different fillings! What’s your pleasure?”
“Bring me the latkes first,” requested Hershel.
A plate of hot, golden brown latkes, accompanied by sour cream and apple sauce, appeared in front of him in no time.
“Well, I changed my mind. Takes these back and bring me some sufganiyot.”
What could the innkeeper do? The customer is always right, so latkes were taken away, and sufganiyot brought in, two with jelly and two with jam. They looked and smell heavenly, and Hershel quickly emptied the plate, got up, and headed for the door.
“Wait, Reb Yid, – the shocked owner ran after him, – you have to pay for the doughnuts!”
“I gave you latkes for them, didn’t I? – replied Hershel and kept walking.”
“But… but… you didn’t pay for latkes either!”
“My good man, but did I eat them?”
Let’s assume, for the sake of Hershel’s good character, that it was all a joke, and eventually he did pay!