North London mum bringing light of Chanukah to Israel’s kids

Mother hopes members of the community will donate 700 gift bags for Israeli children affected by October 7 attacks


A north London mother has launched The Chanukkah Gift Project and is hoping members of the community will donate 700 gift bags for Israeli children displaced by the atrocities of October 7.

For the project, which will also mark Mitzvah Day on Sunday, Katie (who asked the JC not to use her surname) is collecting both donations and gifts to be transported to Israel.

The Chanukkah Gift Project follows a successful initiative that Katie ran for eight years in Israel at Christmas, organising, in partnership with the founder of British group Mothers Make a Difference, 1,000 present boxes to be sent to refugees around Israel.

“I’ve always done gifts for non-Jewish groups because in Israel, I felt they were neglected. But after the atrocities of October 7, I felt a responsibility as a Jew to look out for other Jews. It doesn’t feel like anyone else will right now.

“This year I thought: ‘How can I help and do something as part of Mitzvah Day?’ I know it won’t heal the world, but hopefully it will help them at a time of such loss and devastation.”

Already three Jewish schools are involved as well as the RSY-Netzer youth movement, and Katie is hoping to get more people on board. Her aim is to create a community event where people can decorate the bags together.

“It’s also about community and teaching charity to children,” she said, adding that toys too big for a gift bag will be distributed to play centres and nurseries for children from areas affected by the attacks.

Suggested contents include water bottles, colouring books, packs of colouring pens or filled pencil cases. Other ideas are for small gifts such as a cuddly toy, books, Slime, yoyos, bubbles, hair accessories, toy cars and balls for ages three-plus.

Katie recommends people decorate the gift bag with a Chanukah theme and include a hand-written card and a label with an age range of three to six, six to nine or nine to 12.

They should also indicate if the gift bag is gender-specific. All gift bags should be received by 1 December and donations by 30 November. For more information, contact

In the meantime, GIFT UK has launched the Menorah Mitzvah Mission — Gift a Gift Campaign, where people can donate money to buy gift cards for Israeli children. The campaign is being launched on 22 November.

For more information, email:

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