While some knew him as Jonah and others as Mac, we all loved and respected him. And we miss him dearly.

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To purchase our magnificent recording, "So Is Life," visit jonahmac.org/cd.

The Jonah Maccabee Foundation, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) organization. Gifts are deductible to the full extent allowable under IRS regulations. Our Federal tax ID # is 45-1736178.


JMF Brings Palestinians and Israelis a Tiny Bit Closer

We recently learned about a beautiful Israeli project called “The Road to Recovery” in which more than 750 volunteers drive critically ill Palestinians (mostly children) to receive medical treatment in Israel. 10,000 recovery trips now happen each year!

There are so many ways that we see Israelis and Palestinians coming together. We’re touched by them all. This one, saving lives one at a time by making sure patients can get from the West Bank and Gaza to hospitals throughout Israel for treatment, is simply fantastic.

We are touched and honored to support this worthy program.

Learn more about “The Road to Recover” — watch a 6-minute video here. You can learn more about “The Road to Recovery” at roadtorecovery.org.il.


Thank you … to those who, in 2017, have provided funds so we can make a difference in young people’s lives


Rabbi Micah Greenstein … yehi zichro baruch … thank you for continuing to spread Jonah’s light to the world

Sarah Sagner … this follows up on my tzedakah statement … please use it for other kids like me

Rabbi Larry Hoffman … in memory of Jonah …  it is an honor and a pleasure to help you help others

Dorothy Walrond

Louis Bordman

De Herman … in honor of Cantor Rosalie Boxt

Sheila Linderman

Cantor Linda Ecker

Marlene Kohn

Jim Dowdle … in honor of William

Solly Zisser … in honor of my and Jonah’s shared birthday

Carol, David, Jade and Sofia Sank … you continue to be in our hearts and thoughts

Linda and David Altshuler

Joel and Adriane Belmont … in memory of Ida Dreskin

Rabbi Angela Buchdahl

Rabbi Peter Rubinstein

Sandy and Rich Spilka … in memory of Ida Dreskin

Cantor Julie Yugend-Green

Liz Okin Gabay … in honor of Rabbi Billy

George and Chris Markley

Mark Kaufman and Rachel Wineberg … in honor of Noah Aronson (whose music moves me, and whose concert is preempted by my wife’s theatrical endeavors)

The Dreskin family … in honor of Lisa Linn and her incredible Jonah Maccabee Concert Committee

Michael Skloff

Ina Plotsky

Kathy Glatter … in honor of Ellen Dreskin

Cantor Mo Glazman

Cantor Bradley Hyman

Barbara and Peter Cerf … in memory of all wonderful pets

Martha Rosen

Todd Gordon and Susan Feder

Madelyn Mishkin Katz

Mitchell Feldman … in memory of Manny Feldman

Ramie and Merri Arian

Phyllis Opochinsky … in memory of my mom, Ruth Polikoff … she walks with me everyday of my life

Cantor Barbara Ostfeld … in honor of the wedding of Mark Horowitz and Tom Staebell

Diana and Henry Asher

Marilyn Price … in memory of Renee Price … she would have loved your mission!

Dr. Gary P. Zola

Faye Roth … in memory of Susan Sirkman

Judi Amsel


… and growing!

What We Accomplished In 2016

Dear friends,

Happy new year! Our winter campaign has ended and we thought you might like to know how we spent your money in 2016. Here’s the rundown of the grants we made:

1) IsraAID is an Israeli-based humanitarian aid agency that responds to emergency crises and engages in international development around the world. Our grant supported their work with Syrian refugees.

2) Treehouse Shakers provides teacher trainings and residencies for students that focus on the art of dance and storytelling.

3) The American Indian College Fund supports Native student access to higher education. The Jonah Maccabee Foundation believes that every American has a profound responsibility to assist our nation’s indigenous peoples in building whole, healthy lives for themselves and their children. Read the rest of this entry »

What Won’t Be Erased

Dear Jonah,

I was in the backyard today with Charlie where, while usually it’s only a quick pass-through as he makes his way from the back door to the front door and outside again, he found lots to interest him. So I got to linger a bit too.

My attention was drawn to the grass we tried to grow this summer in the well-worn spot that was at the bottom of the slide which was part of your recently-removed childhood swing set. It was time for the swings to go. It had been many years since you and your siblings had played there, and the play set itself was no longer trustworthy for a new generation.

One of my favorite pix ever, taken atop the slide (circa 1998).

Knowing all that, I still feel a tug from its absence. As kids, you and Katie and Aiden had spent some nice times out there, whether as a threesome or during backyard birthday parties. Even as you entered your teens, the swing set became an outdoor retreat for time alone or with friends.

So removing the play set erases one more source of my memories of you. Sure, I have pictures. And I love the pictures. But there’s emotional power to still having the real thing around. More likely, however, it’s part of my ongoing battle to prevent the universe from erasing you. Read the rest of this entry »

JMF Gives Shakespeare an Encore

Logo.01Once again, The Jonah Maccabee Foundation is thrilled to provide a grant to Mainestage Shakespeare of Kennebunk, Maine. MaineStage Shakespeare is a nonprofit theater company made up of  young, passionate theater artists from around the country who believe in the benefits of the resident repertory theater company, actors who can develop their craft together to produce a creative nucleus that enriches their community-at-large. Also, through the MaineStage ShakeSTARS, MSS offers summertime training that combines actor training, theatre fun, and personal growth development that’s so important to for children growing healthy and whole.

Twelfth Night (2015)

The JMF believes passionately in the arts and their potential to help minds and spirits grow. We’re delighted to partner with Mainestage Shakespeare in bringing repertory theatre and arts education to the 23rd state.

Visit Mainestage Shakespeare to learn more. Watch their new video here.

JMF Helps Reduce Stigma Surrounding Suicide

We just donated to Rethink The Conversation’s end-of-year appeal. Won’t you help reframe conversations about mental health and suicide?

Click here for more info or, better yet, click here and make your donation right now!


Missing My Mom

1957 … Mom and I are just getting to know each other

Ida F. Dreskin lived for 93 years, and was well on her way to 94. She was my mom and I really thought she had an excellent chance of seeing a hundred. But one month ago, her extraordinarily terrific life reached its conclusion as Ellen (my wife who, amazingly, happened to have been teaching for a weekend at my mom’s temple down in Florida) held her hand and sang to her as Mom departed this plane to go wherever it is that beautiful mothers go to when their time with us is complete.

But I miss her. This morning, with snow covering New York, I’m homebound with Charlie (Ellen is once again out of town) and the feeling washed over me that this would have been a great time to give my mom a call and say hi. But while I can certainly speak to her, I can’t speak with her. And that makes me sad.

1998 … so happy to have been able to take Mom to Israel with me

Having been my mom’s youngest, we shared a pretty special bond. Probably because she pitied me, being the youngest and the weakest and the most pitiful of her children. (I’m hoping I grew out of much of that sentiment.) Whatever the reason, she was pretty important in my life. And while I  didn’t visit her enough, and I didn’t even call her enough, our relationship was always solid and loving.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thanks to all who have contributed to our Winter 2016 Campaign!

2016-12-wintercampaign16Our Winter 2016 campaign’s a little different. You’re invited the honor and/or remember parents and/or grandparents who inspired the life you’re living. It’s a sweet and poignant way to give credit where credit is due, and to help a whole lotta kids along the way.

We are so grateful that you take the time and dollars to support our work. This list of donors is a small but earnest way to thank you. May our efforts bring ever-increasing goodness into young lives!

The campaign continues through December 31, 2016. Please give generously at jonahmac.org/donate.

Ellen, Billy, Katie, Mark and Aiden


Naomi Dreskin … in memory of Helen and Oscar Dreskin (because as members of Jonah’s extended family, they would have been proud, as I am, of your efforts in his name, to enrich the lives of others through the arts– also their passion.)

Rachel Kalmowitz … in honor of my Mama, whose current experience fighting breast cancer reminds me how strong and capable this gentle, compassionate woman is.

Julie Newman … in memory of Bernard Newman, my father — for singing with me in the car

Phyllis Opochinsky … in honor of Hy and Ruth Polikoff, my parents in the best sense of the word

Rona Oberman and Deb Franzblau … in memory of Jonny Franzblau

Robin Brigmon … in memory of Paul and Ruby Brigmon

Beth Sher … in honor of Bobbie Kraus, Choir Member and Grandmother Extraordinaire

Leona Paul … in memory of Susan Paul Sirkman

Nancy Paul … in honor of Leona Paul, my best friend and mother

Read the rest of this entry »

In Memory of Ida F. Dreskin

Ida Dreskin: (l-r) 2008, 1957 and 1942

Ida Dreskin: (l-r) 2008, 1957 and 1942

My mom was born in Perth Amboy, NJ, in 1923. She raised six children (me being the youngest) in Cincinnati, OH. Following her eldest (and only) daughter first to Boston and then to Florida, she died peacefully last week at the pretty grand old age of 93. At a sweet, beautiful funeral, attended by five of her six kids and loads of kids-in-law and grandchildren, we sent her on her way to the next part of her journey.

So many of you have donated in her honor and we want to take a moment here to say thank you. I was so deeply touched by all of your gifts. My mom adored Jonah and was utterly bereft when he died. She loved seeing the good work we’ve been doing in his name. Now, with your help, we can do that work in honor of them both.

With humble thanks,

P.S. Throughout December 2016, our winter fundraising campaign is called “Honoring Our Parents and Our Grandparents.” Donate today in honor of someone that YOU love.


Rabbis Bernard Mehlman, Ronne Friedman, Elaine Zecher and Cantor Roy Einhorn

Ellen and Billy Dreskin

Mitchell Feldman

Lois and Bernie Bacharach

David and Joanne Sapadin

Read the rest of this entry »

Noah Budin: Another Good Guy Award!

noah-budinThis week, we send love and thanks to our good pal, Noah Budin, who donated 100% of the proceeds of CD and songbook purchases following a Shabbat Evening spent with Billy at Woodlands Community Temple this past August. As if it weren’t enough that we were given a most delightful and moving evening of singing and storytelling by this gentle, talented man, he then turned around and said, “Hey, do some good with these dollars, will you?”

We will, Noah. And we’re so pleased to offer you this week’s Good Guy Award and induction into the Order of Stalwart Friends of The Jonah Maccabee Foundation. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!

What, you don’t know who Noah Budin is?! Well, get yourself over to noahbudin.com and meet him today. The guy writes some mighty nice tunes!

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