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 the music of So Is Life and Beged Kefet," visit jonahmac.org/music.

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.


Jonah @ Kutz: Laura L. R. Kaplan

“Summer Camp” is The Jonah Maccabee Foundation’s summer fundraiser for 2015. Throughout June and July 2015, we’ll be remembering — through the writing of his friends as well as some who watched from the sidelines — experiences, both great and small, that were part of Jonah’s seventeen years (from age 1 to 18) at the URJ Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY. We’re hoping you’ll be inspired to help us help Kutz continue its wildly successful work of helping teens blaze a summer’s path to a whole, healthy life. Please consider making your tax-deductible gift at jonahmac.org. Thank you. You’re the best!


Laura Kaplan remembers …

Laura (on right) with adoring fan (Ellen) at the recent Kutz 50th Anniversary (Jul 2015)

Laura (on right) with adoring fan (Ellen) at the recent Kutz 50th Anniversary (Jul 2015)

It was the summer of 1977 that changed my life forever after attending Kutz Camp Academies 1 and 2. It was the summer of 1996 that changed my family’s life forever as I returned to camp as “Nurse Laura.” Having four children, I was housed in Cabin 42 and pleasantly sharing a wall with the Dreskin family. Katie was my son Joshua’s age, Jonah was the same age as Michael, and my two girls were both older and younger than Aiden. Not only was it a perfect match for the children, it was wonderful to have my old song leader, Ellen, as my neighbor. With the exception of one session, the Dreskins and Bernsteins spent the next ten summers as neighbors with only a wall to separate us.

It could not have been more than one week into my first session of camp, when the infirmary was a trailer home sitting behind Faculty Row, halfway up the path to the Hill cabins, that my first memory of Jonah Dreskin was carved into my consciousness forever. It was nighttime, and all the kids were tucked into their respective bunk beds. I too had fallen asleep when I heard this loud “thud” followed by the scream of a child and footsteps thumping through the cabin next door. The next thing I hear is, “Call Laura!” With that I jumped out of bed, opened our interior door to find Billy sitting on the floor holding Jonah as blood trickled down the little boy’s cheek. Jonah, not older than six at the time, had fallen from the top bunk hitting and cutting his forehead on the way down.

Jonah and the Bernstein kids!

Jonah and the Bernstein kids

Jonah was now screaming as any six-year old would, but at the same time I noticed the color of Billy’s face turning from pink to green. Perhaps Jonah had sensed his dad’s queasy stomach because he agreed to let me hold him in my lap and apply ice to his forehead while Dad sat close by. It only took a few minutes to realize that Jonah was going to need more help than even Nurse Laura could provide, and the night ended with Billy and Ellen driving Jonah to the Warwick Hospital for stitches.

The next morning while on our way to breakfast, I had the chance to tell Jonah how brave he was and how cool he looked with his new stitches. Jonah’s responded, “No big deal!” and continued on his way. Jonah was not one to draw attention to himself, but that night changed the relationship between the Dreskins and Bernsteins forever!


[Editor’s note: Thank you, Nurse Laura, for taking care of Jonah on one of the scariest nights of my life. Billy]


Do you have a memory of Jonah at Kutz? Share it as a comment below. And please donate to our “Summer Camp ‘15″ campaign at jonahmac.org/donate. Thanks!

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