Maimonides School: Middle School Matters
June 10, 2016                      Parashat Bamidbar                      4 Sivan, 5776    

Maimonides School
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Middle School Play
Poetry Slam
Field Trip Permission Slips
More Than a School
School Calendar
Absence Notifications
Handbook Online
Online Photo Galleries
Quick Links
Find Maimonides On:
Dear MS Families,   

As the 2015-16 school year draws to a close, we are finishing presentations and projects, and planning to end the year with a bang. Next week will include the sixth-grade field day at Larz Anderson Park, the seventh-grade trip to Canobie Lake Park, and the eighth-grade Aliyah ceremony!

Please read on for a d'var Torah from Rabbi Dov Huff, a thought from the works of Rav Soloveitchik, and some highlights from the week.

Shabbat Shalom, and we wish you and your families a wonderful Shavuot.  

Brian Cohen
Associate Principal, Middle School 
D'var Torah

by Rabbi Dov Huff

"This megillah does not contain [laws of] impurity or purity, or prohibitions or permits, so why was it written? To teach you how good is the reward for those who do kindness" 
(Ruth Rabba 2:14)

"I would not be surprised if this megillah were here simply to trace the genealogy of David, who was born from Ruth the Moabite" 
(Zohar Chadash, Ruth 25b)
These two sources try and identify the message of Megillat Ruth. The first focuses on the many acts of chesed in the sefer - the reciprocal kindness between Ruth and Naomi and between Ruth and Boaz, the tzedakah that Boaz extends to the poor in his fields, the limited chesed of Orpah, and the lack of chesed on the part of Naomi's nameless relative - teaching us that not recognizing the "other" can come at the expense of one's individual identity. 
The second source views the first three chapters as a preamble to the most important part of the sefer, found in the final few psukim - the lineage of David Hamelech.
Dr. Yael Ziegler, in her new book Ruth, says that these two separate approaches are actually one and the same. She sets the stage: The story of Ruth happens in the time of the shoftim - a chaotic, unstable time. A time of conflict both internal and external. A time of violence and civil war, of ethical and spiritual laxity. A time in which "there was no king in Israel. Each man did what was right in his own eyes." This recurring mantra, says Dr. Zeigler, is a cry for a stabilizing force, a steady leader who would bring peace, justice, and prosperity. Sefer Shoftim was a call for a king. 
And Megillat Ruth answers that call. What is the remedy for the immoral, religiously vacant status of the Jewish people in the times of the judges? A melech. But not just any melech. Am Yisrael needs a selfless melech. A king who puts the needs of his subjects before his own. A king who can revive a decrepit society with the only tool powerful enough - chesed. A king who models the behavior of Ruth, who put herself, her future, and her past aside in support of her mother-in-law. Ruth who retreated into the background, setting aside her own self and her own needs in order to build up others, until her identity diminished to such a degree that her own child is publicly recognized as "a son born to Naomi." Ruth, the most extreme in her selflessness, is the model for the king. He will follow in the footsteps of his ancestor. Chesed is in his DNA.
In this sense, the above sources are indeed one. Megillat Ruth is about chesed and about the ancestry of David Hamelech, because to be a great king is to be a selfless king. This is a message about leadership. For this reason Megillat Ruth is not included in Sefer Shoftim. Ruth is the remedy to that which ails the society of that time. Her story is the story of our transition to the monarchy. It sets the stage for the House of David, who are to lead us to religious, economic, and social prosperity. 

Thoughts of the Rav
by Rabbi Dov Huff
There are two sources for the Kriyat HaTorah we do on weekdays. The first is the commonly accepted one, which is based on the Gemara in Bava Kama. It states that Ezra Hasofer enacted 10 decrees, one of which was the reading of the Torah on Mondays and Thursdays. But the Gemara on the same daf (82a) also states that Moshe Rabbeinu decreed that we should not go three days without Torah, based on the pasuk in
Beshalach that "Bnei Yisrael walked three days in the desert and they did not find water" - and water is compared to Torah.
The Rav resolves this seeming contradiction by explaining that Moshe Rabbeinu and Ezra Hasofer were establishing different principals of weekly Kriyat HaTorah. For Moshe Rabbeinu, the purpose of this reading was to reenact Kabbalat HaTorah at Har Sinai. Not so much to understand, but to experience. Ezra Hasofer added the dimension of Torah study. For this reason he established the meturgaman - the translator - and set the standards for how many pesukim must be covered, to ensure that sufficient Torah was being learned.
On Shavuot we attempt to live both of these visions. On the one hand celebrating and reenacting Har Sinai, and on the other engaging in the critical mitzvah of Talmud Torah.
Middle School Play
The Maimonides Middle School Actor's Guild came through again with enthralling performances of the classic Twelve Angry Men, retitled for this production as Twelve Angry Jurors. Parents and audience members raved about the students' capable handling of this mature piece.

Thank you and congratulations to all of the cast and crew:
Meira Abraham, Jordan Avinoam, Chaya Baker, Chana Bension, Eliana Diamond, Ellie Klibaner-Schiff, Nathaniel Lesser, Esther Levin, Kayla Schechter, Noam Shapiro, Sam Stolarov, Aviel Taube, Devorah Wertheimer, and Ahava Winter.

Additional thanks go to four crew members who came in at the last moment and made the play even better than it would otherwise have been: Ayelet Bessler, Devorah Feder, Sam Herzlinger, and Shimon Thumim.

Kol HaKavod!

Poetry Slam
The Middle School was alive with excitement (and perhaps a few nerves!) this week as the students prepared for today's Poetry Slam.

The students have been practicing their favorite poems for weeks, and today they all gathered in the library to hear each other's performances - and  a few teachers' favorite poems as well - with Eliana Diamond, Miryam Farren-Greenwood, and Mrs. Baronofsky bringing down the house with their remarkable rendition of a rap from the musical Hamilton.

The eighth graders assembled into teams for the traditional Fox in Sox reading competition, judged by our very own Mr. Fidler, who paid close attention to any hesitation, stumbling, or giggling - and there was plenty of giggling. Congratulations to the winners!

Pictures will be available soon!

End-of-Year Field Trips
The sixth- and seventh-grade students can't wait for next Wednesday's field trips! If you have not yet sent in permission slips for them to attend, please find the slips here:

Sixth-grade slip to go to Larz Anderson Park:

Seventh-grade slip to go to Canobie Lake Park:

Both sixth graders and seventh graders should bring hats, sunscreen, water bottles, and bagged lunches that do not require heating.

So Much More Than a School!
Maimonides is so much more than a school -- we're a family and a community too! That's why your partnership in our annual campaign is so important.

We hope you will consider supporting Maimonides School with a gift to our 2016 campaign. Our goal is $1.7 million, and every single gift makes a difference. Your participation is essential and allows us to strengthen and improve our programming for all our students.

Please click here to donate now. For questions, please contact Ellen Pulda, Development and PR Officer at x423, or

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:
Shabbat Shalom,
and Chag Sameach!

Brian Cohen

MS logo, medium size



Maimonides School | 34 Philbrick Road | Brookline | MA | 02445