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-Inspired” … a note from Ellen Dreskin



Dear friends,

As I reflect on The Jonah Maccabee Foundation’s re-articulated mission, “Turning love into action,” I am reminded how 19-year-old Jonah was evolving into someone who saw himself capable of making a big difference in other people’s lives. True to his “Maccabee”-ness, he was often champion to those whose voices were not being heard, and was known for bringing lights of friendship and inclusion to all of the communities of which he was a part.

If you didn’t get a chance to see last week’s note about our work in 2019, I’ve copied it below. I hope you are moved by reading about the ways in which your donations to the Foundation have made a difference in the last twelve months, and that you will donate to our December campaign, “Jonah-Inspired.”

Were Jonah alive today, I can easily imagine him soliciting funds for these organizations, and possibly even running one himself. I believe he is proud of us all.

Thank you again for enabling us to continue to bring Jonah’s light into the world these past 10 years and into the future as well.



We’ve kicked off our December campaign, sharing our brand new tagline, “Turning love into action,” to convey our family’s passion for how we want to continue paying tribute to the beautiful gift of Jonah’s life.

We want you to donate, but because we deeply respect the trust you place in us, here’s a list of our most recent projects. Immigration rights screamed for attention this year. Morally impossible to ignore the cries of children separated from their families, we made a whole bunch of grants to organizations we felt were doing important, significant work. We also made grants to folks who are doing great stuff in the arts and in Jewish life. Read on!

1) United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led community in the country. The Jonah Maccabee Foundation is humbled that we can assist kids and their families who are in this administration’s line of fire by directing grants to the following six organizations:

  • Southeast Immigrant Rights Network, lifting up voices and leaders of immigrant communities of the Southeast, promoting collaboration and exchange, as well as political education and collective action
  • El Pueblo, providing direct services to meet immediate needs of the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s immigrant population
  • Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, advocating, educating and organizing immigrant and allied communities to spread awareness of immigrant issues in housing, education, healthcare and the workplace
  • ACLU of Mississippi, opposing the violation of immigrant rights and helping those most affected to effectively advocate for themselves
  • Mississippi Center for Justice, responding to attacks on immigrant communities with rapid response legal teams to help locate detained loved ones, provide immigration legal assistance to those facing removal, and ensure care for children whose family has been imprisoned
  • MacArthur Center for Justice University of Mississippi, a knight-like roundtable of tireless, talented attorneys who are dispatched to address social injustice as counsel of last resort for those most in need

2)  RAICES: Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services is hard at work throughout the state or Texas providing free legal information, referrals and direct representation for unaccompanied children in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

3) The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project: Free legal services to men, women, and unaccompanied children in immigration custody in Arizona who are facing immigration removal proceedings. The Florence Project endeavors to ensure that each immigrant has access to counsel, understands their rights under the law, and is treated fairly and humanely.

4) KIND (Kids in Need of Defense): Ensuring that no child appears in immigration court without high quality legal representation, securing legislation that ensures children’s protection and their right to due process, and promoting country-of-origin solutions to child migration grounded in the best interests of the child so that no child is forced to involuntarily migrate.

5) Families Belong Together: 250 organizations representing Americans from all backgrounds joined together to fight family separation and detention, seek accountability for the harm that’s been done, and reunite all families who remain torn apart. FBT draws attention to the inhumane conditions of family detention, especially the appalling recent deaths of children after coming into U.S. immigration custody.

6) Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights: The Young Center advocates for the rights and best interests of immigrant children, from custody and release to the ultimate decision about whether the child will be allowed to remain in the U.S.

All of the above received grants from The JMF Social Justice Fund.

7) Assisted two Ugandan college students in completing their educations: Uganda is a poor country. And the Jews of Uganda are even poorer. Climbing out of the cycle of poverty is nearly impossible. The JMF Jewish Life Fund provided grants to help two young people beat the odds and not only matriculate but complete their college educations.

8) Judaism Alive: Jewish Rock Radio’s “Jewish Star Project,” designed to encourage young Jewish musicians to pursue their dream to write and perform new Jewish music. A panel of international celebrity music artists select winners based on vocal and instrumental skills, as well as passion for impacting the Jewish world. JMF is delighted to provide a grant from the Jewish Life Fund.

9) Eisner and Crane Lake Camps: One of our very favorite camp directors, Louis Bordman, retired this year. After the decades of loving effort that he put into helping kids grow true and strong (including our own!), we wanted to make a gift to offer our thanks and to continue building these incredible programs for the next decade. Eisner and Crane Lake have received a grant to provide camper scholarships from The JMF Jewish Life Fund.

10) Play Group Theatre: With the opening of the Jonah Mac Theatre, a “black box” studio theatre dedicated to training young people not merely in theatre arts, but in creative expression and fearless exploration, we love helping others benefit from PGT the way our boys did and have very happily made a gift to Play Group Theatre from The JMF Arts Fund.

11) The Religious Action Center (RAC) of Reform Judaism: These folks work tirelessly in our nation’s capital to help make our country and our world safer and more just for all. Recently, they created the Rabbi Marcus Burstein L’taken Fellows which helps college students participate in learning how to advocate for justice and how to teach it to high school students who come to Washington for the RAC’s L’taken Political Action Training Seminars. With this grant from the JMF Jewish Life Fund, we couldn’t feel prouder to support the RAC, to remember our dear friend Marcus, and to help young people build a better world.

We hope you like how we’ve been spending the money you’ve entrusted to us. We hope you’ll donate generously and support our “Jonah-Inspired” campaign. With your support and love, we promise to continue turning love into action, inspired by Jonah and all that his life was about.

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 “Jonah-Inspired” campaign.

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

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