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.


Author Archive

“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.


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“Jonah-Inspired” … here’s just how much he inspired us in 2019



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!

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Turning Love into Action



As we enter our 2nd decade here at The Jonah Maccabee Foundation and kick off our December campaign, we’re excited to share with you one small but profound change.

Throughout our first ten years, the words “Helping young people build whole, healthy lives” have comprised the brand tagline on all of our materials. It helped to convey our family’s passion for how we wanted to pay tribute to the beautiful gift of Jonah’s life.

Today we enter a new era as those words become “Turning love into action.”

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Thank you … to everyone who has supported our immigrant sanctuary project!

Chuck and Nancy Fishman

Jeanne and Murray Bodin

Ora Elber … in memory of my father

Sally Winter

David Cohen

Sharol Brickman

Beth Sher

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If You Build It, You’ll Hear Some Fine Music!

Greetings! We’re so very delighted to invite you to stop by our home in Ardsley, New York, on Sunday, December 22 at 7:00 pm for a wonderful evening of good company, great music, tasty desserts and a Hanukkah candle lighting.

When we learned that our old friend, Larry Milder, was coming to town, we knew we had to give y’all an opportunity to meet him and enjoy him as much as we always have.

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Thank you … to those who, in 2019, have provided funds so we can make a difference in young people’s lives


Wendy Jennis and Douglas Mishkin

Sue Bensadon … in memory of my parents

Beged Kefet (Leon Sher, Beth Sher, Cantors Riki Lippitz, Benjie-Ellen Schiller and Ellen Dreskin, and Rabbis Les Bronstein and Billy Dreskin)

Deb Hall … in memory of Jonah

Corey Friedlander

Karen Steele … “you can keep the dime”

Harriet Levine … in memory of Len Levine

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JMF Awards Grant to “Jewish Star”

Jewish Star is a North American talent search competition designed to find and encourage the next generation of singer-songwriters in the Jewish community. Celebrity music artists judge and select winners based on vocal, instrumental and performance skills, as well as their passion for impacting the Jewish world.

Jewish Star is a project of Jewish Rock Radio, a high-caliber, 24-7, Jewish rock internet radio station that broadcasts contemporary Jewish rock music and pieces of related interest.

The Jonah Maccabee Foundation is delighted to support Jewish Star with a grant from our Jewish Life Fund. Learn more by visiting Jewish Star and Jewish Rock Radio online.

Thank you for making our support possible.

680 Arrested in MS … JMF Awards 6 More Grants to Help Immigrant Kids

With 680 undocumented workers arrested in a record-setting immigration sweep on the first day of school in Mississippi, The Jonah Maccabee Foundation felt the need to do something.

United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led community in the country. They create welcoming spaces for young people – regardless of immigration status – to support, engage, and empower them to make their voices heard and win! Read the rest of this entry »


Dear Jonah,

I often find myself wondering where your life might have taken you. What career would you have chosen? Would you have found a partner with whom to share the empire? With a life that ended at age nineteen, you were nowhere near resolving these or many other questions. And while that was fine then, it leaves me pretty much at a loss filling in the details of the life that might have lay ahead.

Every now and then, I see something I’m sure would have caught your eye. But sometimes I see something and I’m definitely not sure what you would have thought about it. I think of you anyway.

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JMF Awards 5 Grants to Help Immigrant Kids Down South

Photos are not allowed in U.S. Immigration Court, but you can imagine what it’s like for a young child to go through a deportation hearing. Of children who enter Immigration Court without a lawyer, 9 out of 10 are deported. When provided legal representation, half are able to remain in the United States.

With the successful completion of our summer campaign, The Jonah Maccabee Foundation is honored to direct grants to the following five organizations:

  • 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).
  • The Florence Project: The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project provides 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.
  • KIND: Kids in Need of Defense works to: a) ensure no child appears in immigration court without high quality legal representation; b) secure legislation that ensures children’s protection and their right to due process; and, c) promote in countries of origin solutions to child migration grounded in the best interests of the child, to ensure that no child is forced to involuntarily migrate.
  • Families Belong Together: As we continue to witness America’s betrayal of its long-standing passion for being a nation of refugees, some 250 organizations representing Americans from all backgrounds have joined together to fight family separation and detention, seek accountability for the harm that’s been done, and to reunite all families who remain torn apart.
  • 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.

The Jonah Maccabee Foundation feels privileged to be able to support this most worthy work. Learn more by visiting these organizations’ website or home on Facebook.

Thank YOU for making our support possible.