With end-of-the-year celebrations approaching, many holiday plans have been altered or canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this commentary, KUNR Youth Media reporter Hudson Heimerman explains why Hanukkah holds a place in his heart and how the pandemic is impacting this special time of the year.
Usually, around this time of the year, I'm very happy because Hanukkah has always been my favorite holiday throughout the year, for the reasons that I get to see family and eat some very delicious home-cooked food.
But this year, everything's starting to feel a bit more mellow, I guess, for lack of words, only because I can't see my family. I can't see my friends, who I've spent every single Hanukkah with for my whole entire life. Usually, Hanukkah, at least for me being Jewish, is a time to get together with community.
Usually, I'm sitting around a long dinner table, probably with 40 people at it. If it’s with our neighbors, family, friends, whoever it may be, we're all here just to celebrate Hanukkah, to share some laughs, and to think about our ancestors and what they have done for us.
It's still hard for me to grasp that I won't be getting to dive into all that matzo ball soup, challah bread, brisket, latkes and all the other traditional fixings that you would see at a Hanukkah supper. I just really miss it because every single Hanukkah, it's just full of cheers [and] laughs. We play games like spinning a dreidel for gelt, which is just chocolate coins. I don't know, as a kid, it's always been a part of my childhood. Especially with COVID kind of putting a stop to everything, I'm starting to feel everything to a more personal and emotional level.
This year, I'm trying to have a really good celebration with my family. Also, I really want to focus on the religious aspect of Hanukkah. Growing up, I've never really fully known the history and the origins of why Hanukkah was actually established as a holiday.
For all I know, Christmas is coming up as well, so I wish everybody happy holidays. For everybody else that’s celebrating Hanukkah out there, mazel tov!
Hudson Heimerman is a junior at Reno High School. KUNR’s Youth Media Program is a special partnership with Washoe County School District to train the next generation of journalists.
KUNR's Jayden Perez adapted this story for web.