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

Want to receive posts via email?
Subscribe here.

If you see the “bell icon” in the lower-right hand corner of your screen, you can sign up for screen notifications that will appear when we post something new.Image result for onesignal

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.

Tweets

Responding to Adversity with Our Very Best

I was interested in listening to the score of that new musical about the airplanes that got diverted to Gander, in Newfoundland, on September 11, 2001. Because I entered the wrong name for the show, Google pointed me to a Twyla Tharp musical about Frank Sinatra. And although Ol’ Blue Eyes had indeed spent some time in Gander, I was looking for something else.

Finally, I found it. The musical’s name is “Come From Away” and just listening to snippets of its songs on iTunes sent tears rolling down my face. Having now purchased the entire recording and been listening to it for two days, I think my eyelids are chapped from all the crying.

“Come From Away” is not a sad story even though it emerges from the devastating events of 9/11. It’s a side-bar tale of 7000 passengers on 38 international flights that were diverted to this little Canadian town of only 10,000 residents when the U.S. closed its airspace. The musical revels in the storm of kindness unleashed by the townsfolk during those three days when their population nearly doubled. Picketing bus drivers got back behind the wheels of their buses as bakeries, restaurants, stores, medical personnel, therapists, and virtually everyone else in town did whatever they could to help the stranded while they waited to go home. Even two great apes had to be tended to!

Read the rest of this entry »

Know What We’ve Been Up To?

JFM's Summer Campaign is now on!

As we begin this summer’s campaign (throughout the month of June), here’s an update on what we’ve been doing lately.

When we created The Jonah Maccabee Foundation, we began inviting you to donate to one of three “buckets” —  areas of communal importance that we thought were also important to Jonah. Since then, we’ve committed ourselves to raising funds and to help finance projects in these three areas:

  • The Arts Fund – offering young people dynamic learning experiences in visual and/or performance arts
  • The Social Justice Fund – making the world a better home for young people in need
  • The Jewish Life Fund – offering young people compelling opportunities to deepen their passion for living lives that are steeped in Jewish ideas of kindness and compassion

Through your incredible generosity, in the past six months we’ve supported the following projects which we feel not only fit into Jonah’s “buckets,” but inspire us as well. Through the foundation’s work, we can lend them a helping hand and maybe inspire you to nurture your own friendship with one of them.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Song From the Heart

Dear Jonah,

Yesterday was your yahrzeit. I spent the day sitting quietly at home reflecting on the eight years that have passed without you in them. Well, you’re in them, kid. You’re always in them.

Age 18 (Aug 2008)

Last night, we held the 8th annual concert in celebration of your life. I’m still amazed how powerful these evenings are for me. Part of it is that so many people in attendance want to surround our family with love and support. So while I was ready to just jump in and enjoy the concert, their strong emotions nudged me into a more reflective state than I might otherwise have found myself.

That was okay. More than okay. With your smiling, black-and-white-checked-fedora-topped face on the screens above the performers, you were powerfully present anyway. Again, my visceral response to your photo took me by surprise but that was a fine, comforting way to move through the evening.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Leap of Faith

Dear Jonah,

Faith is a commodity I’ve spent most of my life peddling. It’s kind of what rabbis do. On this your 8th yahrzeit, I’m thinking about faith. Not mine (although losing you has certainly put that to the test).

I mean yours.

Because the Buffalo medical examiner was unable to prove the cause of your death, the police wanted to label it a suicide. But in canvassing your friends on campus, they found what I’d felt all along. You were not a candidate for suicide. You had far too much faith – in you, in others, and in life.

Read the rest of this entry »

JMF Awards Grant to HUC Soup Kitchen

“I will never forget the sight of Jonah leading a group of tenth graders into the Manhattan subway system to find where the homeless were and to offer them food and a kind word” (Billy Dreskin, Jonah Maccabee Foundation).

That’s why we feel especially good about making this grant. For nearly 30 years, the common room of Hebrew Union College (Reform Judaism’s rabbinical/cantorial seminary in New York City’s Greenwich Village) has been transformed each Monday evening into a dining room where students prepare and serve dinner to 100 people who might not otherwise get a meal that evening. NYU law students offer free legal aid, and there are clothes and supplies available to help these folks get by. There’s live music by professional jazz musicians and free flu shots at the Duane Reade down the street. Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 14, 2017 (your 27th birthday)

Dear Jonah,

Special Investigator Jethro Gibbs brings a full complement of law enforcement skills to his job heading up a crew of officers at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. NCIS. Yep, one of my favorite TV shows. One of America’s favorite TV shows. I enjoy it because of the storylines that are frequently accompanied by a humor (okay, often corny humor) that makes me smile. I’m not sure if you’re responsible for this, Jonah, but between losing you and the ugliness in the world today, I have absolutely no desire to see unabating corruption and violence on television. Unless it’s about the good guys winning. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Jonah.2008.04.#008a.NFTY-NAR.SpringKallah

Rabbi Micah Greenstein … yehi zikhro barukh … 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

Joan Funk … in memory of my father Dr. O. Herman Dreskin on his yahrzeit … and to honor the memory of my nephew Jonah

Rabbi Dan Geffen

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Archives
Recent Comments