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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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.

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Author Archive

Looking Waaaay Back

Dear Jonah,

Now that I’m in my sixties and you’re gone more than nine years, there’s a different kind of remembering going on. I’m getting “old man” nostalgic — that time in life when youthful memories, dimly recalled from years “long misprision rusted,” sneak up and remind me that many decades have passed and not so many more are waiting up ahead.

You, of course, always called me “old man” so this would be nothing new to you (except maybe the reality that it’s actually starting to come true).

Let me explain.

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Remembering: Is the Joy Worth the Pain?

Dear Jonah,

I doubt you ever attended a Yizkor service, the quarterly gathering during which we remember loved ones who have died. Nowadays, you sit there right next to me.

When I lead these services, I often share the story of someone else’s cherished memory. My hope is these stories will trigger others’ memories of their own loved ones so that their observance of Yizkor becomes a very personal tribute during the hour we spend together.

This week, for Sukkot-Simkhat Torah Yizkor, I shared a story that hit very close to home. It wasn’t about you per se, but elements of the young man’s life reminded me of you. I warned the folks gathered there that I might cry and indeed I did. Afterwards, I was asked if that was difficult for me. Difficult to remember you with tears? Not only is it not difficult for me to conjure up a good cry for you, I don’t mind doing so in public. I want people to know that I miss you, and that you’re still a very important part of my life. The only difficulty was putting away the tears so that I could continue telling the story.

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“You Will Be Found” (The Jonah Mac Theatre – Endpiece)

PGT's Jonah Mac TheatreDear Jonah,

When the Jonah Mac Theatre (I still can’t believe they named it after you!) was dedicated at One North Broadway in White Plains, New York, I wrote three notes to you about it. But yesterday, I noticed a fourth note that I’d never finished. And since the moment it describes moved me so deeply, I really needed to complete it. So I’m sorry it’s taken so long to write this one, but I’ll tell you this: On March 11, 2018, I cried for you at this particular moment during the theatre’s dedication, and I cried for you again as I put these words together.

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JMF Awards Grant to Refugee Center in McAllen, TX

As we continue watching refugees at our southern border be treated with cold-hearted animus, all of us want to try and be of help. Fortunately, we have friends who are lending a hand. Catholic Charities’ Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, TX, is frequently the 2nd stop for those entering our country. After processing at the U.S. Border Patrol immigration processing center in McAllen, men, women, children and infants are released to the Respite Center for food, a shower and other care until they move on to join their family or sponsor, awaiting their date in immigration court where they will be granted or denied their asylum claim.

It was Sister Norma Pimentel’s idea to create a place to welcome the immigrants to the border town of McAllen. She calls them “miracles,” as they flee poverty and violence in the hopes of finding sanctuary in the United States.

The Jonah Maccabee Foundation feels privileged to be able to support this most worthy work. Learn more by visiting the Humanitarian Respite Center online (or visit their Facebook page).

Thank YOU for making our support possible.

JMF Awards Grant to Post Bail and Reunite Immigrant Families

We are heartbroken here at The Jonah Maccabee Foundation as we watch families being separated at our nation’s border, with children experiencing grave trauma from the prospect of never seeing their parents again. As our summer campaign concludes, we know that this is exactly what Jonah would have wanted us to do with the money you’ve entrusted to us. 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). Given their proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, RAICES is uniquely positioned to help thousands of children find their way back home.

Learn more about RAICES by visiting raicestexas.org.

That Chromatic Critter on Our Campaign Banner

Did you notice the cute, colorful creature pictured on our summer campaign graphic? She’s a panther chameleon. We named her Prudence Chloe (it’s all about the alliteration, of course … Prudence Chloe, the panther chameleon).

Okay, that’s wrong. When I named her a week ago, I introduced her online but it was only a short while before Carol Steiger Stempel commented, “Beautiful, but your Prudence is a guy.”

Oops.

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The Jonah Mac Theatre – Part 3

PGT's Jonah Mac Theatre

Steven and Jill Abusch started Play Group Theatre (PGT) in 1995 and currently serve respectively as Executive Director and Artistic Director. While teaching their young charges to dig deeply into their creative reservoirs, they have never viewed “the production” as the be-all-and-end-all of their work but, rather, have always placed the greatest emphasis on how to nourish young hearts and spirits, using theatre as an excuse to help kids grow, as we say here at The Jonah Maccabee Foundation, healthy and whole. In designing the Jonah Mac Theatre, ever-so-lovingly dedicated to the memory of our boy Jonah, Steven and Jill paid obvious attention to creating a practical and beautiful theatrical space but, with a twinkle of mischief in their eyes, they incorporated into the room’s design elements that reflect who Jonah was, and what it was about him that Steven and Jill want young people to know: how his very essence embodied PGT’s mission and that the things he valued can (and will) continue to serve as a model for those who will come to PGT in the years ahead. These aspiring performers will think that they’re signing up to act in a play but, in actuality, they’ll be embarking upon a wonderful journey of life skills (and love skills!) training. On PGT’s website, Steven and Jill write, “Our work is focused entirely on the love of the craft and the life lessons that are a natural result of a healthy and non-competitive creative process.”

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The Jonah Mac Theatre – Part 2

PGT's Jonah Mac Theatre

Dear Jonah,

At the dedication of the Jonah Mac Theatre, before anyone could get in to see the new performance space (including us!), there were words that needed saying. Mom spoke about PGT’s years of wandering when there was no permanent home, and yet every kid in the program felt completely at home wherever Steven and Jill told them to show up. Having driven you and Aiden to my share of your auditions, rehearsals and performances (between you and Aiden, 22 shows), I have a pretty clear idea for myself what those years of wandering were all about.

So the words that I shared during the dedication are totally wrapped up in the point that mom was making. PGT took some work. You had to want to be there, wherever “there” was, because it was a constantly moving target. And Jonah, you certainly wanted that.

Here’s what I had to say:

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The Jonah Mac Theatre – Part 1

Dear Jonah,

Gordon Macrae & Susan Luckey in Carousel

For most of my life, I’ve carried a memory of Gordon MacRae playing the wayward carnival barker Billy Bigelow in the film version of Carousel, returning from the afterlife for a brief visit to help his daughter. I saw the film as a little kid and that scene has haunted me ever since, not in a frightening way but piquing my curiosity as to whether or not a person can breach that seemingly infinite divide between this life and the next.

After you’d gone, I held out hope for a few years that you might find a way to reach me from the great beyond. I saw you in my dreams a few times, but they were fleeting moments and always with you either facing away from me (so I couldn’t see your face) or moving away from me (so I couldn’t talk with you or get one of those trademark hugs of yours).

How’s that for frustrating?

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Summer Campaign 2018 Has Moved Into Its 2nd Week!

We’re really excited to be a week into this summer’s campaign. You’ve all been so generous through the years that each time we start a new campaign, it feels like we’ve invited our friends over for a tall glass of iced tea! Your gifts touch us so deeply because, again and again, you provide us with tools to increase goodness in our world and to do so in Jonah’s name. We can never thank you enough for that.

We hope you’ll join our Summer 2018 Campaign and share in the pride we all feel in our most recent work on behalf of The Penguin Project, the United Negro College Fund, the Camp OSRUI Kaye Center Fund, as well as efforts to reduce gun violence in America.

To help us with our next projects, you can make your gift right here.

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