The goal of The Fifth Night Project is to encourage Jewish families with preschool age children to set aside the 5th night of Hanukkah- to skip the gifts for their children and instead teach them the importance of giving to those in need. We ask parents to go with their child(ren) to the store to select a toy or book that they think another child would enjoy and donate it to an organization for less fortunate children.

This year we brought the project to three different Bay Area preschools and are expecting to collect over two hundred toys, which we will then donate to the San Francisco branch of Jewish Family and Children Services. JFCS plans to distribute the toys to children in a variety of their programs, including The Dream House, which provides support and temporary housing for victims of domestic violence and their children.

We hope that more families around the country will join us in this project. Next year we plan to expand the project to Jewish Preschools across the nation, but for now families can begin the tradition in their own homes. During the holiday season there are numerous organizations collecting toys for those less fortunate; a quick trip to the local toy store can help teach your preschooler about the value of Hanukkah tzedakah.