Maimonides Upper School

Upper School Weekly Update: October 21, 2016     
Chol Hamoed
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Rav Thoughts
Simcha Dancing
Parent-Teacher Conferences
2016-17 Calendars
Parent Handbook
Maimo on Instagram
Vehicle Policies
Directory Online
Division Newsletters
Next Week
Sunday, October 23 Hoshana Rabba
ACT Tests
Monday, October 24 Shmini Atzeret
School Closed

Tuesday, October 25 Simchat Torah
School Closed

Wednesday, October 26
Volleyball @ SSCA (Var only 4:00)

Thursday, October 27
Girls' Soccer @ Pope John (3:45)

Boys' Soccer vs. Cathedral (TBD)

Friday, October 28
Regular schedule
In Two Weeks 

Having a


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D'var Torah 

by Rabbi Dov Huff
This time of year is a time of conclusions. With Sukkot we complete the agricultural cycle, and with Simchat Torah we complete the cycle of the chumash. As we reach a conclusion, the end of a cycle, we think about where we came from and to where we are about to return - the beginning.

On Simchat Torah we read both the end and the beginning. Is there a greater connection between the two beyond their relative placement in the chumash? Does the end somehow provide closure to the beginning? Do we arrive at a new understanding which changes our perspective on the Torah story? 

To answer, let us look back at the start. Hashem places man in Gan Eden, an idyllic existence. A close encounter with the Divine. But man sins by eating from the tree of tov ve'ra, and is banished. We are deprived of that closeness, cast away from that spiritually perfect state. Man is in crisis and abandoned. Perhaps the rest of the Torah is man's attempt to claw his way back - to return home to Gan Eden. 

And what is the shape that Gan Eden takes in this world - in the reality which we created through a lack of adherence to the tenets of tov and ra? Our Gan Eden is Eretz Yisrael. In the beginning, we are cast out, cursed that we will only get bread by the sweat of our brow. In the end, we are brought to a "land where you will eat bread without poverty," a land flowing with milk and honey. 

The Torah ends with Bnei Yisrael knocking at the door of Gan Eden. We have dreamt of this land promised to our forefathers - the promise of return. Return not only geographically, to the fertile crescent between the Euphrates and the Nile (see Bereishit 2:10-14 and Rashi), but a spiritual return as well - to a place where we can reconnect to our Creator, who placed us in the gan at the beginning of time.  And this time, as we break through the gates of Gan Eden, we are armed with the lessons we learned from the avot, the national character forged in the "iron furnace" of Mitzrayim, the training of the desert, and most importantly, the guide to the understanding of tov ve'ra - the directions to ensure we do not get cast out of Eden again - the Torah. 

And the focal point of our Gan Eden is the mikdash. A place whose most precious possession is also guarded by kruvim. A place in which our role echoes that of man in Eden - לעובדה ולשומרה - the kohanim tasked with the avodah, the service, and the leviim tasked with the shemirah, care of the mikdash and its keilim.  The mikdash at the epicenter of our Gan Eden is where we reconnect to the idyllic existence of Adam and Chava in the gan. A level of exceptional purity, innocence, and connection. 
Rabbi Leibtag suggests that Sefer Devarim is not only our preparation to enter Eretz Yisrael, but also Moshe Rabbeinu's thesis on how to return to and remain in Gan Eden. He points to several textual parallels between the description of our banishment from Gan Eden as a result of sin, and the warning of banishment from Eretz Yisrael detailed in the tochacha. This is how the Torah ends: Moshe Rabbeinu reminding us of what we once had and all we had to do to get it back. Pleading with us to not repeat the same mistakes.  

With all the conclusions that Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah bring, may we renew our appreciation for Eretz Yisrael as the fulfillment of our quest from the time of Adam and Chava - the quest for home. And may we celebrate the Torah, our key to returning to, and remaining in, our modern day Gan Eden. 

Questions for the Shabbos table:

  1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning? 
  2. In what ways is our existence in Eretz Yisrael different than that of Adam and Chava in Gan Eden, and why do you think that is?
  3. Which item of the bigdei kohen reminds us of the Adam and Chava story? (same word)
Thoughts of the Rav
by Rabbi Dov Huff
The Gemara in Brachot tells us of the rabbinic mitzvah of SHMoT - shnayim mikra v'echad targum. This involves reading each pasuk in the weekly sedra twice, and then a translation or explanation of that pasuk. This mitzvah helps us to deepen our understanding of the parsha, and certainly enhances our joy as we complete the cycle on Simchat Torah.

The Rav says that this mitzvah is ideally performed on Shabbat, as it enhances the Shabbat experience to delve deeply into the parsha of the week. He explains that this is why the Shulchan Aruch codifies the halacha in hilchot Shabbat.

Simcha Dancing 
The entire school celebrated Sukkot together this morning as we danced and sang in the Saval campus gym.


Sign Up for Parent-Teacher Conferences

Get ready to sign up for Parent-Teacher Conferences!  The registration website will open on Monday, October 31 at 9:00 p.m. and close on Monday, November 7 at 10:00 p.m.

Fall Parent-Teacher Conferences will be taking place:
  • Thursday, November 10: Grades K-12 from 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., ECC from 1:00 - 7:00 p.m. (no classes)
  • Friday, November 11: Middle/Upper Schools only, from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (no MS/US classes)
  • Sunday, November 20: Grades K-12 from 12:00 - 7:00 p.m., ECC from 2:00 - 7:00 p.m.
The registration website can be found here.  Please note that the link will not work until the website opens for conference registration.

Instructions for accessing the website will be sent out after Simchat Torah.  If you do not receive an e-mail with your student(s) ID and registration information, please contact the division office.

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.

Handbook Now Online

The Parent/Student Handbook is available 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 being distributed, but parents can also 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