Hanukkah, Challah, and Volunteering
Celebrating Hannukah with my family is notably one of the most important events that have helped shaped my Jewish identity. Huddled around the Menorah, singing the blessing, and lighting the candles. Judaism has always connected me to the value of family and caring for one another. I have such fond memories of Hannuakh and watching the candles burn and shine in my kitchen. Last Spring, during quarantine, I tried making Challah for the first time. Even though it didn’t turn out great, Challah was a way for me to connect with Judaism and it brought me back to when I would eat Challah at Sunday School.
More recently though, I think JUF has truly helped shape my Jewish Identity. For the last two years, I have volunteered through Camp Tov and this year participated in Voices. Being around other teens with the same values and beliefs as me was powerful. Those camps also introduced me to how much I love volunteering. It connected me with so many amazing organizations that I have continued to work with. This past summer, I participated in a program called “jaywalking” which was started by a fellow teen and raised money for food insecurity in Chicago. I am now an active volunteer with Cradles to Crayons which is one of my favorite organizations. Those are just two examples of how JUF has shown me how important volunteering is. I am so excited to be a Peer Ambassador this year because I will be working with other Jewish teens and connecting them to educational and exciting programs. I am looking forward to planning my event and connecting it with a lot of my interests.
Talia is a junior at Francis W. Parker School of Chicago, where she is an active leader and member of her community. Through her work with Cradles to Crayons and the Anti-Creaulty Society, her Jewish identity has become central to her passion for volunteering