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 our magnificent recording, "So Is Life," visit jonahmac.org/so-is-life.

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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The Music Goes On and On

Dear Jonah,

We’re working on the 10th Jonah Maccabee Concert, and it’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this now for a decade. After you died and we began thinking about how we wanted to honor and remember you, the concert was an easy choice. You loved music. You loved Jewish music. You loved your temple. You loved doing good for others. And despite how much you tormented Aiden through the years, you loved doing nice things for your family.

The concert – which brings contemporary Jewish music to Woodlands, and helps kids get to URJ summer programs whose families wouldn’t otherwise be able to send them – seemed like a perfect avenue for carrying your memory forward.

It was, and it still is. Ten years later, we continue making music and sending kids to camp – because of you. Not because you died, but because of what you loved while you lived.

Read the rest of this entry »

Play Ball!

Dear Jonah,

During Hanukkah 2015, when you were fifteen years old, I did something unforgivable. I gave you a deck of Jewish baseball cards. What in the world was I thinking!? Dreskins don’t care about sports. And Jewish ones, to boot?! What kind of father treats his son this way?

But there they were. Maybe a hundred cards highlighting the careers of Jewish major league players from the 1870s forward. At best, a modest trivial pursuit. And at worst, a rabbi-dad imposing his stilted view of the universe on his growing, resentful, teenaged son.

And what did you do? Well, you didn’t laugh at me. You didn’t make fun of the gift. And you didn’t make it disappear forever. Instead, you asked me if I would get you card protectors. Card protectors?! Perhaps you were making fun of me.

Read the rest of this entry »

Making Light Work of Giving

Dear Jonah,

I don’t know when you figured out that your old man would love you giving him gifts made by your own hands. Possibly, you really took to heart your parents’ message that it’s the act of giving that counts. Possibly, you liked saving the money. And possibly, it was making anything that involved fire.

We’ll never know. But when you were 13 years old and in the afterglow of becoming a Bar Mitzvah, you made me a birthday present that consisted of a cardboard box, one side of which you had replaced with a watercolor depiction of a night sky. You’d poked small holes in the stars so that the candles you placed inside, when burning, would light up the heavens.

I was euphoric. Read the rest of this entry »

First Gifts

Dear Jonah,

Gift-giving was a big thing in our family. Especially on Hanukkah. As a kid, my family lit candles each of the eight nights but only exchanged gifts on one of them. So perhaps in parenting you and your siblings, I was reacting to a choice my own parents had made. Wherever my motivation came from, I looked forward to doing the meticulous research that would ensure each of you (mom included) receiving at least one gift each night. I loved piling them all up before Hanukkah began and watching each of you select the gift you wanted that night (you gravitated, of course, toward whichever was largest).

When you were younger, you were likely to display your disapproval should I be so thick-headed as to get you something you didn’t like. But as you grew older, you began to understand it was the act of giving that counts; quality was welcomed but not crucial in eliciting true gratitude. You got very good at that. Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing: “Gifts Given and Received”!

We hope your Thanksgiving was filled with love, gratitude, and just enough good eating. It’s time for our December 2018 Campaign and we hope you’ll give generously. If you’re ready now, you can make your gift right here.

We’ve named this campaign “Gifts Given and Received” because we’ll be remembering gifts that Jonah received for birthdays and holidays, but also the gifts he gave to others, some material, others from his head and his heart. Our hope is that these stories (posted online throughout the month of December at jonahmac.org) will inspire you to make your own gift at jonahmac.org/donate and help us help kids build whole, healthy lives.

Wanna know what we’ve been up to? Here’s a short list of our most recent projects. We hope they inspire you to join us in our efforts to help kids build whole, healthy lives: Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

“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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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