What’s Happening?

Thank you for donating to our Ukrainian Relief Fund

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Please note: This list only reflects donations to our Ukrainian Relief Fund as part of our 10th Anniversary Event. All others are acknowledged elsewhere. Thanks for understanding.

Wendy Deuring

Carol Scharff

Beth Sperber Richie

Ellen and Billy Dreskin

Ilene Berger

Corey Friedlander

Michael Mellen

Nicole Roos

Mark Kaufman

Phyllis Opochinsky

Rabbi Eddie Schecter

Carol Scharf

Sally Winter

Sarah Stein

Matt Grob

Carol Scharff

Richard Stoerger

Jeanne and Murray Bodin

Don Jones

Ilene Berger

Beth Sperber Richie

Tracy Friend

Judy Adams

Madeline Hendricks

Eve Rudin Kleinman

Rene Katersky

Malcolm and Ali Weisman McDowell

Liza Pincus

Margot Serwer

Beth Sher

Lisa Stone

Mark and Mara Young

Jeff Kagan

Geri Pell

Roberta Roos


BillyThank you for donating to our Ukrainian Relief Fund
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Honoring Evan Friedman

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Evan Friedman, ULC MinisterThe NY Alliance — an organization of New York City business owners, c-level executives, firm partners, and senior level decision makers who are committed to fellow leaders’ growth, success, and happiness — announced that Evan Friedman (a longtime friend and partner to the Dreskin family) has been named recipient of the Roy Hoffman Pay It Forward Award, named in memory of Roy Hoffman as a reflection of Roy’s giving nature and commitment to the Alliance.

Roy was a believer in “paying it forward,” the idea being that you can’t always pay back, so instead you pay it forward; you help someone else. This was how Roy networked, paying it forward, helping others as a means of paying back those who helped him.

In recognition of Evan’s receiving the alliance’s most prestigious award, a cash prize has been donated to Evan’s charity of choice: The Jonah Maccabee Foundation.

First and foremost, congratulations to Evan on receiving this wonderful honor. Second, how honored WE are to call Evan our friend. And third, woo hoo! We’re going to do some wonderful work out there with this gift. Thank you, Evan, for loving us, for remembering Jonah, and for paying it forward through the foundation that bears his name.

BillyHonoring Evan Friedman
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Thank you … to those who, in 2022, have provided funds so we can make a difference in people’s lives

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David and Beth Fine … in honor of Ellen Dreskin

David Saperstein

Joan Dreskin Funk … in memory of Ida Feldman Dreskin, my dear mother, on her 6th yahrzeit

Craig Taubman

Cantor Jenna Mark … in honor of Cantor Ellen Dreskin and her romper

Cantor Suzanne Bernstein

Emma Mutter

David and Mattie Paul

Steven Selenfriend … in honor of Noah Budin

Danielle Rodnizki

Rick Lupert

Cantor Bradley Hyman

Lauren Furman

Mark Kamins

Cantor Jenna Mark

Mickey Milbauer … in memory of Richard Milbauer

The NY Alliance … in honor of Evan Friedman, recipient of the Roy Hoffman Pay It Forward Award

David Lewis … in honor of Evan Friedman for his ongoing support

Melissa Wishner … thank you for the music!

Todd Gordon and Susan Feder

Virginia and Michael Fineberg

Corey Friedlander

Geri Pell

Madelyn Katz

Jamie Cohn and Jimmy Dreskin and family … in memory of Molly Meltzer

Karen Steele

Rabbi Jonathan and Susan Stein

Ellen Brodsky Gaber … in memory of Jonah Dreskin and in honor of Billy Dreskin’s retirement

Roberta Roos … in memory of Lloyd Roos

Molly Rodriguez

Tom Schaeffer

Phyllis Opochinsky

Marilyn and Jeff Bilsky

ARJE … in honor of Cantor Ellen Dreskin

Maurice Salth

Bonnie Friedman

The Pomers … in honor of the AMAZING Ellen Dreskin

Congregation Ahavath Chesed

Irv and Angela Adler … in memory of Feige Adler

Fran and Frank Feigert … in honor of Victoria Feigert

Roland, Tina, and Daniel Roth … in honor of Ellen and your incredible family


Barb and Jerry Wishner family

John H. Planer

Faye and Evan Friedman … in honor of Miriam Benjamin

Ira and Julia Levin

Nicole Roos … in honor of Billy and Ellen Dreskin, for their immense kindness and for being the very special people that they are

Ilana Matteson


BillyThank you … to those who, in 2022, have provided funds so we can make a difference in people’s lives
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FROM JONAH’S DAD: Hope Smiles — this is it!

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Hi. December and 2021 are just about over. And so is our Hope Smiles campaign. If you don’t mind, we’re going to try one last time to get you to part with a few dollars and send them along to The Jonah Maccabee Foundation.

It’s been a challenging couple of years, hasn’t it? And the Omicron variant has reminded us we’re not yet out of the woods. But here’s our promise: The Jonah Maccabee Foundation will keep its eyes open for ways we can be of help in the year ahead, whether it be through acts of communal kindness, making sure the arts don’t get lost amidst our scrambling to keep the virus at bay, or enhancing Jewish life in a few worthy places that we encounter. Your gift to Hope Smiles will help us make that happen.

Before 2021 concludes, a little something about Jonah …

In the summer of 1998 when Jonah was all of 8 years old, he spent a week at Cub Scout Day Camp on the other side of the county. After the first day, he was nearly thrown out of the program for grabbing a camper and talking back to several (!) adult counselors. This was not an unfamiliar sequence of events as Jonah had a pronounced sense of justice that would likely have served him well in adulthood but, as a child, simply made him appear to be a misbehaving kid. That evening, Jonah and I talked it through and we came to an understanding about what society wants of us and, more importantly, what real injustice is all about. He returned to camp the next day and everyone enjoyed his presence for the remainder of the week. He was, after all, a pretty fun kid.

At eight years old, Jonah didn’t necessarily understand all the textures and dynamics of right and wrong. But he was learning. And I always loved that it mattered to him. I also loved that he was always watching and listening. Sometimes that caused him to punch another kid, but sometimes it helped him to understand why he should think about refraining from punching another kid. As Jonah grew into adulthood, I marveled at the lessons learned. He had become a really fine human being, and I couldn’t wait to see what his mark would be on the world.

That didn’t get to happen because at age 19 Jonah’s life ended. But not the difference he was making. When our family created this foundation, we did so to try and bring into the world a bit of what Jonah might have brought to it himself if he’d had the time. We’re endlessly grateful for each gift that empowers us to do this for Jonah. Together, your and others’ donations “help us turn love into action.”

That same week back in 1998, Jonah and I went to Rye Playland, an amusement park in our area. We did not ride The Spider. There was no way Jonah was going anywhere near that thing, mostly because he’d heard about my experience from when I’d taken Katie earlier that same summer. But Jonah did want me to go on it by myself so he could watch me throw up afterwards.

I didn’t oblige him. But hope has to begin somewhere, doesn’t it?

Despite our loss, despite the coronavirus, despite so many other disappointments and challenges the world keeps throwing at us, let us continue insisting upon hopefulness, preferring to build something good rather than regret what’s been loss. Our family loves that so many of you have been joining us in this unlikely project. That’s Hope Smiles!


BillyFROM JONAH’S DAD: Hope Smiles — this is it!
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Hope Smiles — you’re darn tootin’ it does!

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Hi. Our Hope Smiles campaign is going really well. So many of you have stepped up — stop by and see the names for yourself. If you’ve not yet made your own gift, might now be just the right time?

If you’re triple vaccinated and you’re careful, the Omicron surge, God willing, should pass you by. Hopefully, this is going to persuade more and more of our neighbors to get their shots which, of course, will make the world safer for everyone.

Meanwhile, here are a few more quick snapshots of our grant recipients, so you’re in the know about what happens to any money you donate to Hope Smiles.

First up: MindLeaps uses the power of the creative arts (specifically, dance) to bring hope into the lives of extremely vulnerable children in the developing world, mainly Africa. Their unique program (a short video about which you can view here) uses a special curriculum of free dance classes to teach these kids key life skills, such as memorization, teamwork, discipline, grit, language, creativity and self-esteem, enabling them to transform that hope into tangible success in life. Once their skills reach the proper level, MindLeaps helps the kids — many of whom are refugees, or homeless, or otherwise extremely vulnerable — enter the school system, where they usually perform in the top tier of their academic classes. Without a doubt, where MindLeaps offers its programs, Hope Smiles. With jubilant gratitude for their efforts, the foundation awards grants to MindLeaps from The JMF Arts Fund. Visit mindleaps.org to learn more.

And then: Throughout the pandemic, so much of America has struggled and suffered through loss of income, loss of health, and loss of communal connection. Whether due to shuttered workplaces, understandable fear, or actually contracting Covid, getting food on the table has often been a challenge for even the middle class. Imagine how hard it became for families that have lived near or below the poverty line before the coronavirus hit. One of the foundation’s projects has been to get food to these families in as many places as we could. With heartfelt sympathy for the difficulties these families experience everyday, the foundation awarded grants from the JMF Social Justice Fund to local and statewide food programs from Wyoming to Maine, and New Mexico to Oregon. It is our hope that with each box of supplies, Hope Smiles and optimism endures. Visit feedingamerica.org to learn more and to send food to a community of your own choosing.

We continue insisting upon hopefulness, preferring to build something good rather than regret what’s been loss. You are always invited to join us along the way. You’re darn tootin’ that Hope Smiles!

Thank you.


BillyHope Smiles — you’re darn tootin’ it does!
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Hope Smiles — what’s that all about?

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Dear Jonah,

I don’t think I’ve ever written you about the foundation we created in your name. Sometime after you died, we decided it wasn’t enough to cry for you. We wanted to do something that would honor who you were, keep your name around in more than just a sad way, and maybe preserve your spirit in the world a little bit.

So in your name, in your memory, in your honor … we raise money. And then we give it away. We try to support projects and organizations we think you’d have loved, you’d have supported yourself (assuming you ever decided to get a job).

Every June and December, a lot of very nice folks send dollars our way. This current campaign is called Hope Smiles. Timing is everything, of course, and we designed the campaign just prior of Omicron’s appearance. We’d wanted to celebrate our gradual emergence from the pandemic which engulfed the world twenty-one months ago. Omicron, tho we don’t yet know how dangerous it is, reminds us there is still much to fear. The economy has taken a hit. And many of us wondering if our vaccines will hold.

But hope smiles, Jo. It’s incredible what the medical community has achieved these past two years, heroic doctors and nurses risking it all and saving countless lives tending to us. That so many Americans still refuse the vaccination (87% of those with Covid right now in Michigan’s overflowing ICUs are unvaccinated) and these healers don’t just walk off their jobs? Hope smiles. That big pharma (frequently a not-so-nice term) has nearly miraculously developed the vaccines and medicines that are saving billions of lives? Hope smiles.

And it all makes me think of you. Your seemingly unceasing goodness. Your kindness. Your hopefulness. Amidst my ongoing worry about the pandemic, and you are one of the lights that help me steer my ship.

Here’s an example of what I mean. There is a persistent mystery that you left to us. It concerns a burn mark on the bathroom counter that teaches us something about hope (or so I insist upon believing). In this case, hope that you wouldn’t get caught. Here’s an excerpt from my “Fireworks” letter to you back in July 2009:

On the first floor of our house is the bathroom you shared for fourteen years with Aiden. In that bathroom there is a Formica countertop. The countertop had been there for probably a decade or more before we moved into the house in 1995, and had always been pretty much in pristine condition. Formica is fairly impervious to abuse, so the sudden appearance one evening of a prominently positioned two-inch charred hole in the countertop caught my attention. I had my suspicions as to who caused the burn mark, but felt it important to perform my fatherly due-diligence and questioned Aiden, who was maybe four or five years old at the time and, thus, not a very likely culprit. Moving on to my older son, I tried to use gentle but firm persuasion to draw the truth out of your (I was hoping) guilt-ridden soul. Wasn’t gonna happen, though. In fact, in all the years since the burn mark appeared, I never managed to get you to admit anything about it. And the fact that, in succeeding years, you amassed a collection of matchbooks, eleven Bic and/or Zippo lighters, a container of lighter fluid (!), eight boxes of sparklers, and even more boxes of incense … well, let’s just say I held out hope to one day get a confession. This past Hanukkah (Judaism’s fire holiday, always a good time to discuss arson with your child), I actually came close to connecting you to the crime when I mentioned the burn yet again and suggested that enough time had gone by, that the statute of limitations on punishment had run out, so wouldn’t you please just tell me what happened in there. You paused what you were doing, looked over at me, peering deeply into my eyes, smiled that amazing smile of yours, and then walked away. You walked away! I never did get the story of how that burn mark got there. It will remain a mystery forever.

This makes me think, JoJo, of how we – your family – have chosen to live our lives in your absence. I often tell people, “Rather than always be mourning his loss, we celebrate that we had him with us.” And while that doesn’t mean the tears have stopped falling, it does mean that we try to focus on what we loved so deeply about you. Included in that list is your perpetual hope that things would be okay, that problems can be worked out, that people can make it through hard times, and that love and an exuberant, powerful bearhug never hurts (much).

So I’ve written you a song. Okay, not for you per se, but I’ve dedicated it to you. For a specific reason. Hope. You were so good at conveying that to others, this piece just reminded me of you.

It’s called “Hope Smiles (Neilah Conclusion).” The title references its placement as the last prayer of the long day of atonement we call Yom Kippur. The ancient imagery of the Neilah service is about asking God to forgive us for all the times we’ve messed up during the past year. With sunset and the end of Yom Kippur fast approaching, we stand with great urgency before the open Ark promising to do better in the year ahead, hoping God will grant us a boon: the blessing of an inscription in the Book of Life.

In my new retirement status, I had a gig this past High Holy Days being the musical voice (rather than the rabbinic one) on the bimah and there was no way I could pull off one of the old settings of Neilah’s final prayer. So I wrote a new one.

My objective (besides being able to actually sing the piece myself) was inspired by the writing of Alfred Lord Tennyson, who penned the following: “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’” I wanted to convey (because this is what I feel at the end of Yom Kippur) a confidence that the year ahead will be a good one, that each of us can do better at living our best selves, and we have every reason therefore to write ourselves into the Book of Life.

Here’s the song. It’s only a minute and a half long. It features three of me singing, plus a number of accompanying instruments.

Focus on the clarinet, Jonah. In the opening bars you’ll hear echoes of Kol Nidre, which started the Day of Atonement only twenty-four hours earlier. These opening notes remind us, I hope, that we have gathered here to sincerely prepare for a better year ahead. As the opening notes give way to the ancient words acknowledging God as God, we reaffirm a very real desire to do better with our lives, to make a difference, and to make life mean something substantially meaningful and good.

The clarinet follows along for the minute-and-a-half of this musical ride and then, in the final bars, offers its own final thought. With a jubilant flourish that some will likely frown upon, the piece ends on a celebratory note affirming that our promise to do better is not only a sincere one but one that gives reason to smile at our neighbor and to head home to that bagel and a shmear with unbridled confidence that we will make a difference, that we will, in whatever ways we can, make the world better for everyone.

Which is precisely why I’ve dedicated “Hope Smiles” to you, Jonah. This is how you lived your life: doing what you could – lending a hand, giving comfort, and simply sharing that beautiful smile of yours – to make the world in which you lived a little better for your having been here.

And what if it isn’t true? What if you had your sour moments too? What if you weren’t always there to lend a shoulder? Well, to that I have two responses:

First, in the years since you left us, so many acts of kindness have been offered because of you, in your name, and inspired by you, your impact in the universe has been exponentially increased. Maybe you weren’t a perfect angel, but you were good enough for us to want to remember you in these ways.

And second, there’s an old hasidic story I love which goes like this: The Hafetz Hayyim (Lithuania 1839-1933), renowned for his saintly character, had a student who was falsely arrested. The prosecution, hearing the Hafetz Hayyim would testify on his student’s behalf, said to his colleagues, “Do you know what they say about him? That he came home one day and, finding a thief ransacking his house, ran after him, even while he could plainly see the thief was clutching the rabbi’s possessions, and shouted, ‘I declare all of my property ownerless,’ just so the thief would not be found guilty of stealing anything.” When asked if the attorney actually believed that was true, he replied, “I’m not sure. But they don’t tell stories like that about you or me.”

In life, Jonah, you offered people hope. In death, you continue to remind us that each of us can be a force for good in the world.

And if that isn’t a hopeful conclusion, I don’t know what is. Thanks for the inspiration, boy. Keep smiling, wherever you are.

Love you forever,

P.S. How cool is it that so many people are contributing to Hope Smiles because you once walked this earth?!

BillyHope Smiles — what’s that all about?
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“Hope Smiles” … yes, Virginia, it really does

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As Omicron begins its chapter in the coronavirus storyline and we await its outcome as to whether or not life will continue opening up or head back into shutdown, we thought we’d share with you a few of the projects we’ve learned about that give us reason to believe that, yes, Hope Smiles.

First up: The American Indian College Fund, assisting our nation’s indigenous peoples in acquiring access to higher education. The Jonah Maccabee Foundation believes every American has a profound responsibility to acknowledge that, while we can never pay them back for injustices perpetrated through the centuries, we can do something. With only 14% of American Indians earning college degrees (less than half the national average), AICF empowers 4000 American Indian students annually to start and stay in school, complete degrees and launch careers. With admiration for their great heritage, as well as our heartfelt apology for all that they’ve lost, the foundation awards grants to the American Indian College Fund from The JMF Social Justice Fund. Their sacred labors honor us all, and Hope Smiles with every Native American we and they assist together. Visit collegefund.org to learn more.

And then: 6 Points Creative Arts Academy, a summer camp program sponsored by the Union for Reform Judaism, which means its spiritual practice is contemporary, pluralistic, and open to the vast tapestry of positive human choice and expression. Housed just outside of Philadelphia, 6 Points Creative Arts Academy uses theatre, writing, dance, music, and the visual arts to provide a summer’s worth of personal and spiritual exploration. Jonah adored the arts. He loved Jewish life. And summer camp was the only place to look for him in July and August. 6 Points Creative Arts Academy is one of those very special places where children know that Hope Smiles, which is why the foundation awards it grants from the JMF Jewish Life Fund. Learn more by visiting 6pointscreativearts.org to learn more.

Yes, we may be idealistic but we believe that’s a good thing. With organizations like the American Indian College Fund and 6 Points Creative Arts Academy out there working each day to make life better for one young person, and then one more, and still one more, hope really does smile.

Please give generously to Hope Smiles. We promise to continue helping out on your behalf.

Thank you.

Billy“Hope Smiles” … yes, Virginia, it really does
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Thanks to all who have contributed to our “Hope Smiles” Campaign

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We are so grateful that you take the time and dollars to support our work. It’s incredibly gratifying and this list of donors to our “Hope Smiles” Campaign is a small but earnest expression of our thanks. May our shared efforts bring ever-increasing goodness into a world that so desperately needs it.

The Dreskins and Boonshofts


Lloyd and Roberta Roos

John H. Planer

Carol and Matthew Scharff … in honor of Ellen and Billy and in memory of Jonah

Ilene Berger

​Jamie and Joey Carroll … in memory of Jonah Dreskin

Louis and Kathy Bordman

Mary Ann and Gary Shamis

Dan Nichols

Roberta Grossman

Jeremy Michael Wolfe … in honor of Ellen Dreskin

Paul Flexner

Cantor Danielle Rodnizki

Rabbi Hillel Cohn

Susan and David Berger

Susan and Steven Schwartz

Ari and Oren Hoffman

Marc Margolius

Al ‘n Sara Dreskin

Rabbi Larry Milder

Molly Rodriguez … in memory of Robert D. Rodriguez, our son who died in 1994

Helen Meltzer-Krim

Cohn-Dreskin Family

The Leon Family

Louise and Craig Taubman … in memory of Jonah

Kathy Tuchman Glass … in memory of my beloved mom, Charlene

Rabbi Zachary Plesent and Jenna Mark

Emily Selinger … in memory of Jonah

Bari Ziegel

Adam Farber

Matt Murnane


Ruth Rugoff and Joe + Annie Potischman … in honor of Jonah Dreskin

Jane Emmer

Nurse Laura

Tracey Scher … in memory of Jonah (I didn’t know Jonah but I love his parents and his siblings)

Jeanne and Murray Bodin

Sarah Stein

Sally Winter

Julie and Scott Stein

Nicole Roos

Jay and Jeanne Weiland

Robbie Harris

Janet S. Elam

Nir Topper

Carol Ochs

Michael A Swit … in memory of Larry Cooper

Cantor Jill Abramson

Lisa Stone and Scott Cantor

Rabbi Jeffrey Sirkman and family … in loving memory of Susan Sirkman

Jessica and Chuck Myers

Beth Sher … in honor of Robbie and Jamie (because l’dor vador)

Vivian and David Singer

Edwards Dowdle Funeral Home … in honor of Christopher Casario

Rabbi Larry Hoffman … in loving memory of Gayle Hoover

Lois and Bernie Bacharach

Danny Siegel

Jay and Lois Izes

Neil and Denise Weinstein

Stacey Silverman … in memory of Harold Silverman

Shari and Jonathan Turell

Cantor Julie Yugend-Green

Bonnie Denmark Friedman

Josh Perlstein

So Is Life

Wendy Grinberg

Merri Rosenberg

Rabbi Aaron M. and Janese Petuchowski

Renni Altman … in honor of Daniel Wender, a belated Hanukkah donation

Rabbi Maya Glasser … in memory of Jacob Zvi Bayer

Pietra, Alan, and Ben Greenberg … in memory of Sylvia and Arthur Greenberg

Kyla Schneider … in honor of the Dreskin family

Elliott and Phyllis Rosen

The Dreskins from Albuquerque

Norman E Friedman

Ellen G. Kreiger Rubin … in honor of Billy Dreskin

Eileen and Peter Reiter

Rabbi Marc Rosenstein

Naomi and Richard Binenfeld

Barry and Joanne Citrin

Rabbi Jonah Pesner and Dana Gershon

Rabbi David Saperstein

Mark S. Anshan and Brenda Spiegler … in honor of Ellen and Billy

Rabbi Susie Moskowitz

Cantor Julie Newman

In memory of Aidan Silitch

Cantor Lisa Levine

Karen Steele

Michael Mellen

Madelyn Katz

Jeffrey Nakrin

Rabbi Lester Bronstein and Cantor Benjie Schiller

Rose Snitz

Dan and Kelly Kaskawits … in memory of Tammy Kaskawits

Rabbi Craig Axler

Herb Friedman … in memory of Elaine

Liz Kanter Grosskind

Don Jones

Margo and Charles Wolfson

Mrs. Marilyn Bilsky

Sharon Rich

Steven Turell

Patti Linsky

Jordy and Beth Sperber Richie

Rabbi Joan and Andy Farber

Judith and Bernard Kimberg … in honor of Ellen and Billy

Harry Heiman and Abby Friedman

Margot Serwer

Ramie and Merri Arian

Rabbi David Komerofsky

Rob Weinberg and Joy Wasserman

Richard and Marsha Cohn

Ilene Berger

Jane Emmer … in honor of Billy Dreskin

Rabbi Susan Marks

Anonymous … in honor of Dan Kaskawits

Father Robert Godley

David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik

David and Mattie Paul … in memory of Susan Sirkman

Harvey Feldman … in memory of Marian and Nathan Feldman

Sue, Michel and Gabriel Bensadon … in memory of Betty and Herb Kaplan

Melissa Kaye-Swift

Eileen Reiter

Peter and Sandy Rosenthal

Steve Klaper

Dale Glasser

Daniel Pliskin

Patti and Robert Mittelman

Jody and Michael Weinberg

Rabbi Debra Robbins

Rabbi Larry and Rhonda Karol

Corey Friedlander

Tom and Susan Schaeffer

Steve and Terri Levin

Marian Milbauer

Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

Anonymous … in honor of the Dreskin family

Addie and Rick Lupert

Cantor Riki Lippitz … in honor of Ellen and Billy Dreskin

Cantor Danielle Rodnizki

Andy Katz and Susannah Sagan …  in honor of your work in Jonah’s memory, with additional tribute to Billy for teaching Andy how to play Riders on the Storm

Sue Shankman and Michael Namath

Ann Sterman

Steve D

Sarah Reines and Rich Bornstein

Gloria and Barry Meisel … in memory of Jonah Dreskin

Rabbi and Mrs Norman Cohen … in honor of Rabbi Billy Dreskin

Andy and Susan Sterling

Glynis Conyer

Harriet Levine … in memory of Len

Cantor Stephen and Marjorie Richards

Carol and Matthew Scharff

Wendy Jennis and Doug Mishkin

Steve and Donna Sorrow


BillyThanks to all who have contributed to our “Hope Smiles” Campaign
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Hope Smiles (our December campaign) Has Begun!

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We write with guarded optimism (fully vaxed and mask-enthusiastic). It’s been a sobering, wild ride since March 2020. More than 260 million have contracted Covid, and five million have died. Yet all this is punctuated by the countless acts of love and heroism which, inside and outside the medical community, have defined these two years, giving us the hope we yearned for.

Now we turn to a brighter future. Hopefully the new variants will be tamed alongside all the others, and we can resume living full, active, and interactive lives.

We’ve named our December campaign “Hope Smiles.” We’ve based it on a bit of writing from the great poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson: “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’”

Perhaps not more than a whisper, but real enough. From the depths of these past two years, we may be entering 2022 seeing the light of a new day in the distance. Anticipating our gradual reemergence from our homes, from our illnesses, from our challenges and from our despairs, let us now join hands and renew our commitment to helping others, to turning love into action.

We hope that you’ll once again give generously, this time to Hope Smiles — in thanks for your own survival, and in hope for a better year ahead. We here at The Jonah Maccabee Foundation promise to continue helping out on your behalf.

You might like to know what grants we’ve awarded this year. Here we go:

  • Angela Gold Music Scholarship Fund … to help raise the next generation of song leaders
  • MindLeaps … working in developing countries using DANCE to improve school performance and create positive livelihoods for at-risk youth
  • The Reform Movement’s Racial Justice Campaign … combating voter suppression, addressing systemic racism by demanding policy change on both a state and federal level
  • 18 emergency food organizations across North America helping families get through the pandemic
  • Harmony Project … an inspiring organization that provides high-quality music instruction and social support to children at no cost year ’round. Harmony Project motivates young people to cultivate their human potential
  • American Indian College Fund … this was a Thanksgiving gift, supporting Native student access to higher education, assisting our nation’s indigenous peoples in building whole, healthy lives for themselves and their children
  • Jewish Star … a North American talent search competition encouraging the next generation of singer-songwriters in the Jewish community
  • National Diaper Network … provides basic necessities required to build the strong foundations all children, families, and individuals need to thrive and reach their full potential
  • HIAS … helping settle new immigrants in the USA
  • Play Group Theatre … “preparing kids for every stage in life,” PGT understands that the show isn’t what’s most important when kids do theatre. Learning collaboration, sharpening listening skills, embracing creativity, and treating one another with honor … these are what PGT is all about. We love that!
  • 6 Points Creative Arts Academy … a summer camp that strives to create holistic, meaningful experiences for young artists in a living laboratory for learning and performing
  • Youth Futures in Lod (Israel) … The Ramat Eshkol neighborhood of Lod, Israel, has seen far too much hate and violence. Youth Futures has established a trusting connection with the Jewish and Arab communities, providing all with emergency mental health care.

We’d be honored to have you join us in Hope Smiles, our December campaign to remember Jonah by helping make the world a little better for all.

Thank you.

BillyHope Smiles (our December campaign) Has Begun!
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Not An Ask … Just A Thank You

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You really came through for us. Well, not just for us. You came through for all of the organizations to which we will forward grants in the coming months. Because of you, and WITH you, we will bring help to hundreds, perhaps thousands, as America emerges from the pandemic year.

Thank you. Our “Silver Linings” campaign has been a great success. What a privilege to join with you in bringing a little more goodness into the world. What a humbling honor to have you help us remember our Jonah, and to transform our loss into blessing.

We hope you found our “Silver Learnings” readings worthwhile. Here are links to all of our guest writers: Molly RodriguezJoe Casario, Evangelo ManiotisMarta Kauffman, Keron SiririJill Abusch, The Levins, Drs. Chuck and Nancy Fishman, Paul FeinerJuliet Wishner and Laurel Dreskin. We’re so thankful for their contributions.

As we write each time, we will always miss Jonah. But we’re grateful to have had him in our lives and, to this day, he inspires us to do good in his name. The Jonah Maccabee Foundation is privileged to honor his life by “turning love into action.”

Thank you for supporting our work.

Very sincerely,
Ellen, Billy, Aiden, Katie and Mark
The Jonah Maccabee Foundation
BillyNot An Ask … Just A Thank You
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