Maimonides School: Middle School Matters
Dec. 11, 2015        Parashat Miketz   30 Kislev, 5776    

Maimonides School
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Chanukah Events
Day of Learning
Geography Bee
Running Chug
Hour of Code
Basketball Tournament
Taam China Lunch
School Calendar
Absence Notifications
Handbook Online
Online Photo Galleries
Quick Links
Find Maimonides On:
Dear MS Families,    

Chanukah in the Middle School is always a sight to behold, and this year has been no exception! From musical hallels in the morning to candle-lighting at mincha, from latka sales to sufganiya distribution, we've had a wonderful chag.

Please read on for a d'var Torah from Rabbi Dov Huff, a thought from the works of Rav Soloveitchik, and an update on this week in Middle School.
Shabbat Shalom, and happy Chanukah!

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

The Rav draws a parallel between Chanukah and the Yosef Hatzadik narrative in the role Hakadosh Baruch Hu played in both. The Rav explains that Hashem interacts with the world either by guiding the course of events as we watch with wonder as spectators (Yitziyat Mitzrayim) or by stepping back to allow for man to steer the course of history. It is the latter approach which Hashem employs in the story of Yosef. Yosef Hatzadik must decipher the messages of Hashem found in dreams; it is up to him to execute the visions, to make them a reality. He builds himself up to a position of great power, and then masterfully orchestrates the reuniting of his family and bringing them down to Mitzrayim as the first step in the eventual geulah. The same is true of the story of the Maccabim, a family of priests who rose up on their own initiative to battle an attempt to wipe out Jewish identity. In both of these events, as the Rav puts it, "man is apparently the central figure... in such cases, G-d demands from man heroic action." And indeed, heroism is what both Yosef Hatzadik and the Chashmonaim displayed while driving the course of Jewish history.

Thoughts of the Rav
by Rabbi David Saltzman

In Days of Deliverance (pages 155 - 166), the Rav makes a connection between Yosef and the Chashmonaim. Yosef's dreams represented two areas of greatness to which he aspired. The sheaves in his first
dream represented economic and material prosperity. His second dream - of the stars, moon and sun - revolved around spiritual greatness. Yosef aspired to both; he wanted to be powerful in a political sense, to attain wealth and prosperity and be respected by the people. But he also wanted great spirituality, to be loved by the people and revered because of his wisdom and kindness. This synthesis is exactly what the Chashmonaim stood for. They were excellent warriors, but the very moment they laid down their swords, their interests centered around kedusha.

We need to synthesize both goals as well. We should live our lives aspiring to be prosperous while also becoming great spiritual beings. 

Parent-Teacher Conferences Rescheduled
The Parent-Teacher Conferences that were originally planned for Friday, November 20 and Sunday, November 22 have been rescheduled to Friday, December 18 (MS/US) and Sunday, December 20 (K-12). 

All of the previous Friday and Sunday conference times are being transferred to these new dates. It is our hope that most parents will still be able to use their old meeting schedules.  If you will not be able to keep your original meeting schedule on these new dates, please send your schedule requests to Elka Tovah Davidoff ( for assistance.

Rescheduled Parent-Teacher Conferences will be taking place:
  • Friday, December 18: Middle/Upper Schools only, 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. (no classes)
  • Sunday, December 20: Grades K-12, 12 - 7 p.m.
Please note that the Early Childhood Center (ECC) will be rescheduling its parent conferences to another day.  If you have a child in the ECC and have not yet had your conference, your child's teachers will be in touch with you to discuss rescheduling.

Middle School Celebrates Chanukah

The 2015 Middle School Chanukah Banquet was a hit, with songs, skits, sufganiyot, and silliness! We always enjoy celebrating with your children and seeing their enthusiasm and creativity.

We've also been lighting the school menorah in the shul each day at mincha and singing the brachot together as a school. The cohesiveness of our student body is beautiful to see!

Day of Learning Sponsored by Schorr Family
Thank you to the Schorr family for sponsoring a Day of Learning on Monday, December 14.  They sent the following message from Israel:

"In appreciation of our faculty and friends at Maimonides School with special recognition to the 7th, 4th, 2nd, and ECC-4 teachers, principals, and staff.  We will miss you all and hope to see you soon in Jerusalem." 
--Yonit and Raphi Schorr, Gavri, Noam, Talya, and Eliana
For more information about sponsoring a day or week of learning, please contact Ellen Pulda at, 617-232-4452, x423.
Geography Bee

The 2015 Maimonides Geography Bee is about to get started! A preliminary round will take place on Thursday, December 17, during X-block. The sign-up sheet is up, and enthusiasm is in the air!
Running to JP Licks

As though Chanukah wasn't exciting enough, the running chug with Mrs. Samuels ran all the way down to JP Licks for its semiannual ice cream trip! The run was invigorating and the treats delightful.

Hour of Code
Every Tuesday at 12:35pm, the Coding Chug meets in the Middle School computer lab. Students in this chug ranged from beginners to experts when the semester began. Beginners started by working through an hour of code at and moved on to programming games at, such as this project made by 6th grader Eitan Bashan:
Other students have been using Code Academy and Coding Ground websites to take their coding to the next level.

"The camaraderie of the chug is excellent," says chug supervisor Aliza Baronofsky. "Students help each other work through obstacles and challenges to achieve their objectives. Together, they problem solve and find work-arounds in the code to make their games do what they want them to do. Even the students who were newbies in October have made extraordinary progress and are now adept at programming complicated programs using Scratch. I can't wait to see what they design next."

Students who are not in Coding Chug are also invited to learn about coding, in particular because this week is being marked as the Hour of Code, an effort to encourage all humans to at least experiment with coding, explains Science Program Director Brian Palm. Links to recommended websites follow below. Mr. Palm encourages all students who participate in the Hour of Code to fill out the following survey. 
Recommended websites to begin the Hour of Code:

Maimonides Invitational Basketball Tournament
Preparations continue for the annual Maimonides Invitational Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton, scheduled for Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 28-31, 2016 and hosted by the M-Cats and Lady M-Cats.  Participating men's and women's teams will be from Robert A. Beren Academy in Houston, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy in Overland Park, KS, and Hebrew Academy of Montreal. Persons interested in assisting as a volunteer during planning and over the weekend may contact Ahron Solomont at

Taam China Lunches!
The next round of the popular eighth-grade-run Taam China lunch program will continue on Monday, December 14! 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 in the Middle School office.

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!
Chanukah Sameach
Shabbat Shalom!

Brian Cohen

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