Maimonides School: Middle School Matters
Oct. 16, 2015        Parashat Noach       3 Tishrei, 5776    

Maimonides School
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Sixth-Grade Navi
Seventh-Grade Chumash
Chugim Sign-up
Taam China Lunch
Yom Chesed
Admissions Events
Cradles to Crayons
Family Table
PTA Hat Show
School Calendar
Absence Notifications
Handbook Online
Online Photo Galleries
Quick Links
Find Maimonides On:
Dear MS Families,    
We had an extraordinary full week here, full of promise for the coming months!

Please read on for a D'var Torah from Rabbi Dov Huff, a run-down on this week's activities, and notes for the upcoming weeks.
Shabbat Shalom,

Brian Cohen 
Associate Principal, Middle School 
D'var Torah
by Rabbi Dov Huff

I have been hearing from alumni, and from their yeshivot and seminaries, in Eretz Yisrael about the increased safety restrictions in place, given the almost daily attacks of the past two weeks. Some programs are in total lockdown,
insulating their talmidim and talmidot in the safety of the
dorms and batei midrash. Speaking to them reminded me of the two accounts of insulation from outside forces and influence in this week's parsha.
The first is the teiva. We are told that the land was filled with chamas - with violence. Hashem designs an ark whose walls will protect Noach, his family, and everything still precious in the world from the raging violent storm of mankind and the flood. 
The second is the migdal bavel. The people attempt to build "a city, and a tower... to make a name for ourselves lest we be scattered all over the world." This generation tried to hold their community together. They were building a tower to protect them from outside influences, and to preserve and maintain the integrity of their society. Why does Hashem facilitate the first and intervene against the second?
We certainly know the reason. Both instances were trying to protect an ideology. But the teiva was a fortress, shielding and preserving the precious values of truth, ethics, humanitarianism, and love from the cruel external barrage of chamas.
The migdal, however, was self-serving. The midrash paints a picture of the values migdal bavel wished to preserve. This culture was trying to wage war with Hashem. The midrash tells us that when a brick would fall during construction, everyone would mourn. When a person would fall, no one even noticed. This tower's function was to "make a name" for a culture founded on the perversion of ideals - on cruelty, materialism, power, and disregard for human life. So Hashem intervened. 
May Hashem afford our brothers and sisters in Israel the same protection He did for Noach. May He fortify them with a teiva - shielding them from those who would have us destroyed. And may our Torah learning serve as a reinforcement of the values for which it stands, and in their merit bring a speedy end to this violence against Am Yisrael.   
Discussion for the Shabbos table:
  1. What was your takeaway from this morning's d'var Torah?
  2. How can we contribute to the safety of our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael?
  3. Without the midrash, how else could we explain the problem with the migdal bavel?
New Feature: Thoughts of the Rav on the Parasha
We are excited to introduce a new feature which will appear in the division newsletters each week. The founder of Maimonides School, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
z"l, was a renowned talmudist, scholar, thinker, philosopher, and leader. In recent years, much of the Rav's Torah has been brought to the public through books and publications based on his shiurim.
In order to disseminate the Rav's ideas, and make them easily accessible to our families, our weekly newsletters will include a short idea culled from his writings. These snippets will be timely and relevant, based on the week's parasha.
Our purpose is to provide our parent body with a stimulating Torah thought each week based on the Rav's teachings, and to share the Rav's Torah, values, and ideas with our entire school community.  
This week's Torah thought is by Rabbi David Saltzman:
Rabbi Soloveitchik writes that a major transformation in human beings occurred after the flood. He tells us that the Zohar states that Noach was partially to blame for the flood, because he did not daven for the people of his generation to be saved from the oncoming storm. Noach held that the generation was so entrenched in sin that they could never be removed from it. The pasuk describing man before the flood seems to validate Noach's thinking. When G-d decided to bring the flood, the pasuk states:
וַיַּרְא ה' כִּי רַבָּה רָעַת הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ וְכָל יֵצֶר מַחְשְׁבֹת לִבּוֹ רַק רַע כָּל הַיּוֹם:
And the Lord saw that the evil of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of his heart was only evil all the time.
The Rav explains that the words מַחְשְׁבֹת לִבּוֹ רַק רַע mean that all of man's thoughts and instincts were rak ra - only evil. Before the flood, a person could become totally, irretrievably impure.
After the flood, however, G-d said about the people:
כִּי יֵצֶר לֵב הָאָדָם רַע מִנְּעֻרָיו
for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth
The Rav points out that the word רַק was removed. The Torah is teaching us that since the Mabul, from now on, man always has a chance to repent. There is always something good remaining in man, and the gates of repentance are never closed.
Inspired by The Rav Thinking Aloud on the Parsha: Sefer Bereishis by David Holzer, p. 109 - 112.

Sixth-Grade Navi
by Mrs. Samuels

Sixth-grade Navi students wrote and performed "dialogues" between Chana and Penina, based on the story in the first chapter of Shmuel Alef.  The dialogues demonstrated how Chana was tormented, but also
showed what Penina could have done which would have made Chana feel better about not having children.
Seventh-Grade Chumash
by Mrs. Samuels
Korbanot Come Alive!

The 7th grade learned about the famous makhloket Rambam - Ramban (the disagreement between Maimonides and Nachmanides) about the reason why korbanot were instituted.  In order to demonstrate their understanding of the
makhloket, the students wrote scripts of a tour of the Beit HaMikdash and included in their tour a description of this debate, in addition to Rabbi Liebtag's view that korbanot are for us, so that we don't "show up empty-handed" to the holy Temple.  The students then performed their "tours" for each other.

Chugim Sign-up!
The first session of Middle School chugim begins Tuesday! Make sure your favorite Middle Schoolers have signed up for the chugim of their choice.

We're offering everything from Art, to Hockey, to Literary Magazine, to Ping-Pong, to Computer Programming, so there's sure to be something for everyone!

Taam China Lunches!
The popular eighth-grade-run Taam China lunch program will continue on Monday, October 19! The eighth-graders are looking forward to providing lunches to the students who have ordered them. If you or your child do not remember the dates for which he or she ordered a lunch, a confirmation sheet can be provided at the Middle School office.
Yom Chesed Registration Now Open!

Yom Chesed - together we will make a difference

Registration is still open for Yom Chesed, our all-ages community service initiative, which will take place on Sunday, November 1 from 9:00 a.m - noon. Our Yom Chesed web page has a complete list of projects, as well as all the information on how to sign up. The registration deadline is Monday, Oct. 19. Projects are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  
The event will kick off at school with davening, breakfast, and a rally. Then groups will fan out to a wide range of chesed programs and activities, both here at school and throughout the greater community.
Would you like to get involved? In addition to volunteering for Yom Chesed projects, you can help prior to the event with planning and coordinating activities. Please contact parent coordinators Risa Gewurz or Stephanie Mishkin, or Ellen Pulda in the development office, if you'd like to learn how you can help out.

Upcoming Admissions Events
Spread the Word: Admissions events coming up
We would love your help in spreading the word about Maimonides School!  It's as easy as sharing information about our admissions events with others. 
Coming up on Sunday, October 18, is Good Morning @ Maimo. This program will allow families to discover the joy and warmth of our Kindergarten and Early Childhood Center and will feature Shabbat-themed crafts and cooking. The event takes place in the Brener building from 9:15-10:45 a.m.
On Tuesday, October 27, we will offer an informational evening for K-12 prospective parents. This event will take place in Steg Library in Brener from 7:00-8:30 p.m. and will offer an overview of our K-12 program, with Q & A and a chance to speak with administrators and faculty, as well as current students and parents.

Donations for Cradles to Crayons

In preparation for a Yom Chesed project on November 1, Cradles to Crayons donation bins have been placed in both Brener (on 1st floor outside main office) and Saval (in lunchroom) to collect items for this non-profit organization, which provides essentials to children in low-income and homeless situations.

Cradles to Crayons is looking for new and gently-used clothing, shoes, baby essentials, books, and toys. Click here for a detailed guideline for donations.

On Yom Chesed, families who have pre-registered for the Cradles to Crayons project will travel to the organization's headquarters to sort and pack items for needy children.

Wanted: Canned Pumpkin for Family Table
In preparation for one of our Yom Chesed projects, we will be collecting 
canned pumpkin(NOT pie filling) for a Thanksgiving-themed project for Family Table. Please deposit the canned pumpkin in designated Family Table bins in the Brener and Saval buildings. We will appreciate receiving these donations by Monday, October 28th. As a reminder, we also collect canned salmon and whole grain crackers for Family Table.
PTA Fall Hat Show and Boutique

Calendar PDF Online

The 2015-16 academic calendar is available in PDF form for easy printing. Please click here to access it.


Absences and Tardy Notifications

We wish that none of our students ever felt ill -- we'd love to have 100% attendance every day -- but we know that germs don't always listen to our desires!

However, we do need to know where our students are.
If your child needs to miss a day of school,
or will be tardy or leave early, please be certain to inform Sharona Vedol in the Middle School office
by email:

Please note:
We will not be using the absence hotline this year!
All absence notifications must come in via email. 
We ask that you e-mail the office for safety reasons -- it allows for far more efficient accounting of student absences.

Parent and Student Handbooks Online
This year's Parent-Student Handbooks are all linked to the Maimo website and are password-protected.  

Username: maimoparents 
Password: horim

You can find the handbooks online in two places:

(1) All handbooks are linked to the "Getting Ready for School page.

(2) The handbooks are also linked to each division's section under the "For Parents and Students" menu: 

On behalf of the entire Middle School:
We'll see you next week!
Shabbat Shalom!

Brian Cohen

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