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Hanukkah 'Dough for Doughnuts' Raises NIS 150K for Charity

Two of the greatest competitive eaters in the world cannot compare to doughnut devourer Elie Klein. But a friend says the bib's gone bust.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 12/17/2012, 5:00 PM

Elie Klein digs into a donut
Elie Klein digs into a donut
Israel news photo: Josh Hasten

Kobayashi and Chestnut are world champions in the competitive eating arena. Both are able to consume enormous amounts of food in timed competitions, and both have won the famous annual Coney Island Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest, held every Fourth of July.

But one must now add a new eating  champion to the list.

Meet Eli Klein, competitive doughnut devourer.

Klein is a public relations consultant working in Jerusalem who immigrated to Israel from Baltimore, Maryland. For the past three years, however, Klein has particularly made a name for himself on the eating circuit.

He spent the Hebrew month of Kislev, including the holiday of Hanukkah, consuming what some have called an “obscene” amount of traditional “sufganiyot” – those puffy Israeli fried doughnuts usually injected with oozing red jelly.

While not eating as part of a timed competition, during his campaign known as “Dough for Doughnuts,” Klein instead has raised funds for hundreds of charities around the world with every bite.

This year he packed away 125 doughnuts, raising more than NIS 70,000 for 111 causes.

Over the past three years, Klein has consumed a total of 300 doughnuts – and has raised NIS 156,133 for charity.

Have the added calories remained on his normally slender frame?

"Klein is far from overweight,” said his friend, Josh Hasten. And the marathon eater's father, a doctor, assured him that his annual 30-day doughnut binge would not cause him any damage.

Nevertheless, Klein has decided to hang up his “bib,” making this his final food frenzy for charity in deference to the demands of his wife, who feared for his long-term health.

The restriction is unlikely to stop him for long, however, his friend said.

"Based on his dedication and enthusiasm for contributing towards worthy causes, there is little doubt that Klein won't come up with yet another creative strategy to do some good to make the world a better place,” assured Hasten.