Junior Julia Segal: Hanukkah

Kate Mallery, Copy Editor

The Jewish community has always been an integral part of junior Julia Segal’s life. She is currently the president of the Jewnion club at Gunn and has been celebrating Hanukkah and many other Jewish holidays for as long as she can remember.

For Segal, Hanukkah is about more than just having fun and getting presents: it’s a time to bond with family and remember the hardships her ancestors had gone through. “I feel like my perception of Hanukkah has really evolved over time,” she said. “When I was little I just liked it because my parents gave me presents and I got to light candles. Now, I have learned more of the history behind it and it makes me feel a lot more connected to my religion and culture.”

Hanukkah dates back to the second century B.C. when a group of Jews in Jerusalem were being persecuted for their beliefs by Antiochus, the King of Syria. The hero Judah Macabee and others formed an army tofight King Antiochus, reclaiming the temple of Jerusalem. When they en- tered the temple, they found only a small container of oil that should have lasted one night. However, the Menorah that they lit burned through eight nights and that is why Jews everywhere light eight candles on their Menorahs.

Segal still enjoys lighting the candles, but she now has a better un- derstanding of the holiday as a whole. Hanukkah is also a time where families come together. “High school is really busy and Hanukkah is just a fun time to relax, bond with my sister and exchange gifts,” Segal said. “No matter what my family is doing for winter break, we always come together to celebrate it.”

Segal enjoys exchanging gifts with her family. When she was younger, her parents gave her a karaoke set and that later inspired her passion for singing. “Singing is such a big part of my life and I don’t know if I would have the same level of passion for it if my parents hadn’t given me that ka- raoke set,” she said. Segal likes to give special gifts to her family members to see the joy that it brings them.