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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Archive for the ‘Jonah’ Category

9/11 Twenty Years of Remembering

Dear Jonah,

StoryCorps recently posted a piece about twin brothers who’d been extremely close their entire lives, sharing their childhoods, sharing their livelihoods, and even their employment at the World Trade Center. As I listened to one of them speak, I wondered if this had been recorded prior to 9/11 and that the brothers had perished there together. I soon understood that the recording was recent, and that he was recounting how it was that his brother was gone but he is still here.

I cried.

2600 innocent souls were stolen on that lovely fall morning in 2001, gone long before their time, families and friends having to learn to live life around a gaping hole still filled with love but empty of the person who should be there.

I appreciate crying. It helps me to feel more fully human. I was deeply saddened by the brothers’ story, but grateful to have heard it and been moved by it. The tears didn’t feel good, but they felt right.

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Bring Him Back, and Then I’ll Let Him Go

Dear Jonah,

It’s twelve years now and you’re still not back. So I guess this is going to be a thing, huh?

So much changed for me the day you died. I never know where or when, but things can affect me quite differently from the way they used to. Invariably it’s because a moment brings sudden, unexpected connection to you. I’ve certainly learned to live my life, and I’m doing pretty well at it. But then, without any warning, grief just sort of pours itself right back in.

Here’s an example.

A few months after your death, Ellen and I were back at Play Group Theatre (where you’d pretty much grown to maturity and adulthood so, needless to say, we’ve never wanted to see it leave our lives). It was painful to go back, of course, but we have so many loving memories that were born there, how could we not?

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George

G’ma Ida with a very little you and a very new Curious George (Jul 1991)

Dear Jonah,

I’ve been thinking about George — Curious George — that pervasive little imp who entered your life when you were only a year old, and who’s still very much here, living with us simply because stuffed bedtime friends don’t ever have to die. George continues to reside in your bedroom, which is now Mom’s study. I like to think that George is watching over your domain until you return but, hey, what do stuffed dolls know?

Curious George came into your life when your honorary grandparents, Fran and Gerry Weingast, gave him to you. They’d hoped that he would become one of those toys that a child won’t ever let out of their sight, which is precisely what occurred. From the moment you boys laid eyes on each other, you became the best of friends. George would follow you around for quite literally the rest of your life, so much so that even when you were still very young, while we were pretty sure you liked us, we knew without a doubt that you loved your monkey.

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“Jonah-Inspired” … a letter to Jonah from his Dad

Dear Jonah,

So we’re running this campaign for the foundation. We call it “Jonah-Inspired.” The premise here is that when we award grants with the money that people donate, we’re selecting organizations and projects we think you yourself might have chosen, whether to donate money or to volunteer your time.

But where does that come from, this inspiration? Well, frankly, you’re kind of legendary. From the moment you disappeared, the stories about you began to surface. I mean, I knew you were a nice guy and all, but I had no idea how many individual lives you had touched in seemingly unforgettable ways.

Here are just a few of the notes that people left for you when they’d learned you were gone:

“You’ve been my hero since the day I met you.”

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Slackline

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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Jill Abusch: Ten Years Later (Part 18 … and our final writing)

Jonah’s death ten years ago commenced a journey for many of us that has been filled with sadness (of course) but also with love — so much love. With this campaign, “10 Years Later,” you’re invited to spend some time with some of Jonah’s best friends and teachers.

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Meet Jill Abusch.

Jill is co-founder, Artistic Director, Camp Director and resident second mommy to many students and alumni of The Play Group Theatre. Along with directing many of PGT’s stage productions, Jill teaches a variety of classes from Little Theatre to Advanced Acting Technique, and has gone into schools and camps to train teachers on the use of drama in the classroom.  She studied acting and directing at the Stella Adler Conservatory and the Classical Studio at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where she earned a BFA in Drama. She adores working alongside her husband and partner, Steven, and is especially proud of their best productions, by far, Aviva and Ilana.

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Ale Rabellino: Ten Years Later (Part 17)

Jonah’s death ten years ago commenced a journey for many of us that has been filled with sadness (of course) but also with love — so much love. With this campaign, “10 Years Later,” you’re invited to spend some time with some of Jonah’s best friends and teachers.

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Meet Ale Rabellino.

Ale is a graphic designer at McCann Erickson in New York. After graduating from the Portfolio Center in Atlanta in 2017, she moved back to her native New York (albeit New Jersey this time around). When she’s not working, you can find her at the Biergarten with her 95 year old grandma, at a Broadway show or concert, or enjoying her family’s delicious Mediterranean cooking.

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Andrea Zlotowitz: Ten Years Later (Part 16)

Jonah’s death ten years ago commenced a journey for many of us that has been filled with sadness (of course) but also with love — so much love. With this campaign, “10 Years Later,” you’re invited to spend some time with some of Jonah’s best friends and teachers.

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Meet Andrea Zlotowitz.

Andrea lives in Brooklyn with her husband and currently works at the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards setting up exhibitions of student work across the country. She finds joy in cooking, seeing art and spending time outdoors, some of which she was able to enjoy with Jonah.

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Jamie Rubin: Ten Years Later (Part 15)

Jonah’s death ten years ago commenced a journey for many of us that has been filled with sadness (of course) but also with love — so much love. With this campaign, “10 Years Later,” you’re invited to spend some time with some of Jonah’s best friends and teachers.

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Meet Jamie Rubin.

Jamie currently lives in New Jersey, after moving from Chicago to New York City in April of 2016. She has been a nanny for a family of four rambunctious boys for the last two and half years, while also going to school full time. On top of that, she began a weight loss journey, saw 80 pounds disappear and is still going. She never saw herself as a gym goer but is now obsessed with one called Orange Theory Fitness. Jamie graduated two weeks ago having earned her BA in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Special Education and is going to start teaching in the fall. She’s also going to start the masters program at Montclair State University this fall. Aside from all this, Jamie is also getting married in November!

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Simone Woolis: Ten Years Later (Part 14)

Jonah’s death ten years ago commenced a journey for many of us that has been filled with sadness (of course) but also with love — so much love. With this campaign, “10 Years Later,” you’re invited to spend some time with some of Jonah’s best friends and teachers.

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Meet Simone Woolis.

Simone is a barista/bartender living in Brooklyn. She spends her free time writing, listening to music, walking around the city, and taking way too many pictures of her cats. She’s working on becoming a Peer Mentor to youth struggling with mental health issues, and hopes she can help others as much as Jonah helped her.

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