While some knew him as Jonah and others as Mac, we all loved and respected him. And we miss him dearly.

Want to receive posts via email?
Subscribe here.

If you see the “bell icon” in the lower-right hand corner of your screen, you can sign up for screen notifications that will appear when we post something new.Image result for onesignal

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.

Tweets

Author Archive

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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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:

Read the rest of this entry »

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thanks to all who have contributed to our Summer Campaign 2018!

We are so grateful that you take the time and dollars to support our work. It’s so incredibly gratifying. This list of Summer Campaign 2018 donors is a small but earnest way to thank you. May our efforts bring ever-increasing goodness into young lives!

The Dreskins and Boonshofts

 


Jan and Alane Katzew … in memory of Rabbi Aaron Panken

Gwynne Ross … in memory of Brad Gaber

Michael Skloff … in memory of Jonah

Corey Friedlander … in honor of the Dreskin-Boonshoft Clan … I am in awe of the good you all do in the world!

Read the rest of this entry »

SO IS LIFE: The 9th Annual Jonah Maccabee Concert

2018 Jonah Concert @ WCTDear Jonah,

You should have been there.

Yes, I know that’s a preposterous proposition. But look who’s writing you letters!

Anyway, your concert is always a mixed bag, of course. The evening is always filled with incredible music, a ton of friends, phenomenal support from the URJ summer program staff, and even mouth-watering baked goods that you’d have loved. Actually, you would loved all of it. Even, in your own weird way, the whole idea that a concert’s being held each year in your name.

I think often of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn who were presumed drowned in the Mississippi River and snuck back to watch their own funeral. Believe you me, boy, if you’d like to surprise us all by opening up the second half of next year’s concert, please do!

Each year, I love watching your concert, even though the evening is always tinged with a quiet but persistent sense that you’re not there.

Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Campaign 2018 Has Begun!

It’s time for our Summer 2018 Campaign and we hope you’ll give generously. If you’re ready now, you can make your gift right here.

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:

1) The Penguin Project: In Peoria, Illinois, The Penguin Project offers opportunities for any kid with a disability, ages 10-21, to participate in the performing arts. As Penguin Project founder Dr. Andrew Morgan teaches, “Penguins may not be able to fly, but that does not prevent their spirits from soaring.” This awesome program has received a grant from The JMF Arts Fund.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thank you … to those who, in 2018, have provided funds so we can make a difference in young people’s lives

Jonah.2008.04.#008a.NFTY-NAR.SpringKallah

Madelyn Katz

Corey Friedlander

Caryn Roman

Phyllis Osterman

Ellen Rubin, in memory of Harold

Elisa and Rick Recht, in honor of Cantor Ellen Dreskin

Read the rest of this entry »

Flying High

Dear Jonah,

Yesterday, Mom and I attended the funeral service for Rabbi Aaron Panken. He died young, although not quite so young as you were. It was, of course, an incredibly sad gathering. And like many funerals, it was uplifting too. Aaron was a good guy. He was well-loved by his family and his friends. He loved his life and his work, and he loved living fully. So as we were grieving his death, we were reveling in Aaron’s good fortune to have lived such a beautiful life.

Remind you of someone? (Except for the work part.)

Aaron loved to fly. It was also how he died. Rabbi David Stern said it best, “He fell from the Sabbath sky, but oh how he loved the Sabbath sky.” At the end of the service, two cantors stepped forward and, inspired by Aaron’s love of flying, sang an Israeli tune written by Arik Einstein, “Uf Gozal – Fly Away.”

Fly, my chick
Cut the sky
Fly anywhere you want
But don’t forget
There’s an eagle in the sky
Fly away*

Read the rest of this entry »

JMF Acts to Support Gun Violence Prevention

With your generous donations, we’ve been able to make a grant from the Jonah Maccabee Social Justice Fund in support of the NFTY-Reform Movement Gun Violence Prevention Campaign. The North American Federation of Temple Youth has long been involved in gun violence prevention. Now, in the aftermath of the shootings at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and in response to the remarkable activism of the teen survivors there, NFTY has upped its game. We’re honored to serve as ally to every young person who is taking a stand in this difficult but crucial struggle. Jonah would have been right there beside you.

Archives
Recent Comments