Maimonides Upper School

Upper School Weekly Update: September 23, 2016     
Ki Tavo
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Rav Thoughts
New Parent Event
Student Activities Fair
PTA S'chach Sale
2016-17 Calendars
Yom Chesed
Parent Handbook
Maimo on Instagram
Vehicle Policies
Directory Online
Division Newsletters
Next Week
Monday, September 26 
Girls' Soccer @ Gann (4:15)
Tuesday, September 27  
3:00pm Dismissal
Volleyball @ Ursuline

(JV 4:00, Var 5:00)

Girls' Soccer @ Ursuline 4:00 Boys' Soccer @ SSCA (4:00)
Wednesday, September 28
Volleyball @ Cathedral 

(JV 4:00, Var 5:00)
Thursday, September 29
Volleyball vs. Cats Academy (JV only 5:30)

Girls' Soccer @ SSCA (4:00) Boys' Soccer @ Gann (4:15)
Friday, September 30
Regular schedule
In Two Weeks 

Having a


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D'var Torah

by Rabbi Dov Huff
In Sefer Devarim, Moshe Rabbeinu faces a great challenge. It is the challenge of connecting this new, young generation to the Jewish way of life in general and to Torah specifically. This is a relatively new challenge for Moshe Rabbeinu because the previous generation, the one he took out of Egypt, saw Matan Torah with their own eyes and heard the thundering voice of G-d delivering the Covenant with their own ears. That intense encounter with the divine, the seminal moment in Jewish history, was seared in their hearts and minds forever. Not so with the next generation - their kids. The generation about to enter Eretz Yisrael certainly heard about Matan Torah from their parents but never experienced it themselves. And now Moshe Rabbeinu, the master teacher, is faced with a challenge that we also face as parents and educators: How do we get our kids to connect to a Torah that seems often distant and inaccessible, and to a G-d who is all the way up there while we are all the way down here? The answer is in the messaging that Moshe Rabbeinu delivers in his final speech in Sefer Devarim.

In this week's parsha, Moshe says hasket ushema Yisrael, hayom hazeh nihiyeta leam - "Listen Israel - today you become a nation." The Gemara at the end of Brachot identifies three messages that Moshe Rabbeinu is conveying in these words.

  1. The Gemara asks why Moshe says "today you will become a nation." Didn't they become a nation 40 years before at Har Sinai? The Gemara answers that for those who love Torah learning, every encounter with Torah is like reliving Har Sinai. Learning Torah is a privilege and an opportunity, a chance to experience Har Sinai and take our rightful place in the chain of the Mesorah. It is our opportunity to probe the depths of the artifact that the Divine G-d left behind for us in the physical world.
  2. The Gemara then turns its attention to the word hasket, which we do not find in other places. Focusing on the last two letters, it derives the phrase kit etu atzmeichem al divrei Torah - "grind yourselves over the words of Torah." The Gemara connects this to a statement of Reish Lakish that Torah only lasts in someone who puts their entire being into it - who gives it their all. This is a message about commitment. A message about resilience, attitude, and grit. A message about growth. That growth does not come easily, but is the result of determination and effort. One does not grow in life, and certainly not in spirituality, by sitting passively on the sidelines.
  3. Another interpretation of the word hasket is asu kitot kitot - make classes - because she'ain Torah niknait ella be'chaburah, Torah is only acquired in a group. Because the Torah one learns with someone else is fundamentally and qualitatively different than the Torah one learns on their own. The message here is that spiritual growth is not a lonely pursuit, and that the Torah education of a child is the responsibility of the community. That we are all in this together.

These three messages also parallel a teacher's mantra. A message that we communicate to our students -
This is important, you can do it, and I won't give up you.

This is important - because you are taking part of limud Torah, the highest, most profound of spiritual activities.

You can do it - because with the right amount of effort, the right attitude, and effective strategies, you can accomplish anything. 

I won't give up on you - because you are not on your own. We are with you and invested in you.

May we all have a great year of messaging, where we successfully communicate the messages of hasket and our students do their part of shema Yisrael, of hearing and internalizing our message.

Questions for the Shabbos table:
  1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning?
  2. What do you think is the most effective way of connecting people to Torah and Judaism?
  3. Which of the three messages above do you find most compelling?
  4. Find an example of an encouraging message from Moshe Rabbeinu in next week's parsha.
Thoughts of the Rav
Devekut, Part Three
by Rabbi Dov Huff 

Last week we discussed thathalacha is a tool that allows us to proactively cleave to Hashem, rather than a contemplative, actionless approach to spirituality. Our ideal is not the individual in solitude, disengaging from the world, but an active community revolving around the halacha
The Rav zt"l, in his essay "The Community," describes this community as a singular autonomous entity. Not as "an assembly of people who work together but... a living whole." 
For this reason, we are all responsible for one another. Not only does this relationship help us cleave to Hashem, but it also connects us to one another.
Next week, we are going to roll out our theme of the year to our students. It is the theme of arvut - responsibility towards one another. As the Rav writes in his essay, "once I have recognized the thou and invited him to join the commnunity, I ipso facto assumed responsibility for the thou. Recognition is identical with commitment." This is the message of arvut
New Parent Event Tomorrow Night

All parents who are new to Maimonides this year are invited to enjoy An Evening of Wine, Cheese, and Dessert tomorrow night, Saturday, September 24, from 8:30 - 10:00 p.m. at the home of Debra and Eitan Milgram.  For more information or to RSVP contact Chantal Lawrence, Director of Admissions, at

Student Activities Fair
The Upper School Student Activities Fair showcased 35 (yes, 35!) student-run clubs and organizations on Tuesday. It was very informative and everyone had a great time. And if a student has an interest that is not met by a current club, he/she is encouraged to start a new one!


PTA S'chach Sale

Order fresh-cut cedar s'chach for your Sukkah from the Maimonides School PTA!  For details and to place an order, click here:

Printable and Electronic Calendars Online

The printable school calendar for this year is now online at
The electronic calendar for 2016-17 is also online!  You can visit throughout the year for the most up-to-date information on everything that's happening, both throughout the school and in each individual division.

The online calendar can be customized to show only the divisions and events you wish to see.  See for more detailed information on how to use the calendar.

In addition, you will be able to subscribe so that school events and alerts will appear on your personal calendar.  More information will follow soon.

Volunteer for Yom Chesed

Yom Chesed is December 4 -- Would you like to get involved?

Our third Yom Chesed is scheduled for Sunday morning, December 4, 2016Yom Chesed is an all-ages community service initiative for our entire Maimonides community.  Our past Yom Chesed events have each involved over 500 participants helping a broad range of community organizations. 

Registration will begin later in the fall, but in the meantime, we are looking for volunteers to help with this event. Even if you can't attend Yom Chesed, we would love your help prior to the event with planning and coordinating activities, shopping for supplies, or making phone calls. 

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact one of our parent coordinators -- Risa Gewurz, rzgewurz@gmail.comStef Mishkin,, or Alissa Muzin, -- to learn how to get involved.

Handbook Now Online

The Parent/Student Handbook is now on the Maimo website!  Read it online here.

Username is: maimoparents 
Password is: horim

Follow Maimo on Instagram

expanding our social media network! Please follow us on Instagram at @Maimobrookline. If you're new to our community, note that we're also on Facebook 
(Maimonides School, Maimonides Early Childhood Center) and Twitter (@kolrambam). You'll find all the latest news and activities from school posted on our social media outlets. 

Vehicle Policies and Procedures

Please see this link
for current information on the school's parking policies, as well as updated drop-off and pick-up procedures.
Online Access to Directory
We know many of you are eager to connect with each other! The printed Maimonides School 2016-17 Directory is in production, but parents can access the directory information online via MyBackpack.  

In order to locate family or classmate contact information, follow these steps:
  1. Log into My Backpack
  2. To find a single family, search by last name in the Directory box
  3. To generate an entire grade list, click on "Advanced Search Options" and follow these steps:
    • Click on the "Search for Student" tab
    • Select the grade you want and click on "Search"
    • Click on "Detail" to see email address information         
NOTE: In order to return to the entire grade list, do NOT hit the browser back button. Instead, click on the "Back to Search Student/Parent" button, found above the student name (at top left).

See What's Happening in the Other Divisions

Lots of wonderful things are happening at Maimonides School!

If you'd like to take a peek at the other divisions' newsletters, please click here.

If you would like to contact a specific school office, please use these emails:

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