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.

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Dani Cattan: Ten Years Later (Part 10)

Jonah’s death ten years ago commenced a journey for many of us that has been filled with sadness (of course) but also with love — so much love. With this campaign, “10 Years Later,” you’re invited to spend some time with some of Jonah’s best friends and teachers.

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Meet Dani Cattan.

Dani is 29 and just moved back to the United States after living in Uruguay for quite some time and is now looking to place roots down in PhiIadelphia with her husband, Diego. She has a B.A. in Latino Studies, Photography and Art Activism from Hampshire College, MA, and a Masters in Public Administration from CUNY-Baruch College, NY. She is extremely passionate about art, social justice, tango and tacos. Hiking and being outdoors is where she feels most at home.

Dani writes:

Sometimes it’s hard to believe it has already been ten years since Jonah physically left this world, while at other times it feels like a lifetime ago. I can’t hear his voice anymore, even though we used to sing and jam out together all the time. I remember during our Confirmation year, we’d go to Rabbi Billy’s office before the rest of the class got there, and Jonah would always pick up the guitar in the room, sit on his dad’s desk, and play the Beatles or Bob Marley. Even though I can’t hear his voice, I can see his smile so clearly that I can almost feel it. I can see his eyes closing slightly as he sings — I just can’t hear the song anymore.

Truthfully, for many years after Jonah’s death I couldn’t think of him without a tremendous amount of sadness. Not because Jonah made me feel like that, but his physical loss felt too sad and too scary. I actually disconnected from my own Judaism for the first few years, feeling my faith and Jonah were just too intertwined. Of course now, I’m so grateful that they are interconnected. Every time I hear the shofar, it feels like a communal calling out to Jonah. Every time I go to Woodlands Community Temple, I can physically feel him there. Jonah is forever connected to my spirituality. The beautiful thing about this is that by passing on my Judaism and spirituality to my (future) children, they will intrinsically be connected to Jonah as well.

Sometimes he comes to me right before I fall asleep — just for a moment, a quick flash of his face, of his smile. And after ten years, this smile continues to bring me a sense of comfort and safety. His memory is truly a blessing.

Dani

Dani & Jonah in Alabama (Dec 2005)

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We all miss that boy. It’ll probably always hurt that he’s gone. But he left us so much, and that’s what these writings express. Watch for them in emails and postings throughout the month. Our hope is that these stories will inspire you to make your gift at jonahmac.org/donate to help us help kids build whole, healthy lives.We continue to miss Jonah and to feel grateful: a) that we had him in our lives; and, b) that he’s inspired us to do good stuff in his name. We’re incredibly honored that you’ve joined us in our work and thank you in advance for donating to our Summer Campaign.

Very sincerely,
Ellen, Billy, Aiden, Katie and Mark
The Jonah Maccabee Foundation

ALSO ALSO ALSO … The Jonah Maccabee Foundation is so proud to now be the beneficiaries of the proceeds from four exceptional musical recordings:

“So Is Life” was recorded by (ta da!) So Is Life, which includes Dan Nichols, Josh Nelson, Cantor Rosalie Boxt and Cantor Ellen Dreskin. It’s a magnificent album and is available to you as a download and on CD (if anyone still has a CD player). You can order So Is Life right here.

And now, you can order the music of Beged Kefet (which, for you youngsters out there, was a Jewish performance group that Ellen and Billy were in for a good 20 years or so). Beged Kefet recorded three albums, all now available to you! Our thanks to the members of Beged Kefet — Beth Sher, Cantor Leon Sher, Cantor Riki Lippitz, Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller, Cantor Ellen Dreskin, Rabbi Les Bronstein and Rabbi Billy Dreskin — for allowing us to use the proceeds from their three recordings to help kids build whole, healthy lives. You can order your Beged Kefet digital downloads here. We’re also streaming, so check us out on Spotify, Amazon Music or wherever you listen to music!

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