Maimonides School: Middle School Matters

Oct. 28, 2016                         Parashat Bereishit                   26 Tishrei, 5777 

Maimonides School
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Eighth-Grade Save the Date
Sixth-Grade Hebrew
Seventh-Grade History
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Parent-Teacher Conferences
2016-17 Calendars
Handbook Online
Vehicle Policies
Maimo on Instagram
Directory Online
Absence Notifications
Online Photo Galleries

Quick Links
Find Maimonides On:

Dear MS Families,   

Following Simchat Torah, we are now enjoying the Simcha of a regular schedule here in the Middle School. We're heading into November excited to see what the autumn is bringing!

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! 

Brian Cohen
Associate Principal, Middle School    
D'var Torah

by Rabbi Dov Huff

On the fourth day of creation, Hashem makes the maor 
hagadol, the great luminary - the sun, and the maor 
hakaton, the small luminary - the moon. The Rav points out that what makes the sun great is not only its size relative to the moon, but also that the sun generates its own light while the moon merely reflects that of the sun. The Rav says that the sun is like the parent, the source and model of a way of life, and the moon is like the child, a reflection, emulating the morals and behaviors of the environment in which they have been raised. That, says the Rav, is what we mean when we say at a bris zeh katan gadol yihiyeh: This child - a small reflection of the middot of his parents, absorbing the Torah of his grandparents, mussar of his teachers, and chessed of his community - will grow to be a gadol, a generator of his own lessons, truths, and light, ready to take the light from his parents and ancestors and channel it through the prism of his unique personality.

This idea of our light being perpetuated through our children is one that Rabbi Sacks sees in our parsha this week. After Hashem tells Adam and Chava the consequence of their sin, we have a seemingly unrelated pasuk: "and man called his wife Chava, because she had become the mother of all the living."
Why was this Adam's response? Rabbi Sacks answers that after the punishment, man suddenly had to face his own mortality. Not only would his life bring struggle, but it would end. How would Adam continue his legacy? Would he build a tower, as man does in Migdal Bavel? No. He finds a silver lining, a reminder, in the curse of his wife - that she will give birth in pain, but she will indeed give birth, and mankind's legacy will continue. According to Rabbi Sacks, man finds comfort in the ability to pass on his knowledge and values to his offspring. At this moment, Adam realizes what it truly means to have an ezer kanegdo - a partner in the creative process - in the effort to sustain and perpetuate. And now Adam, realizing that he is not and cannot be alone, no longer sees his partner the way she has been referred to until now, just as the isha, but as Chava - an individual, an equal, someone whose name connotes the giving of life, "for she is the mother of all living things." 
With this realization, man knows that his legacy will continue through his children. To connect to the Rav's idea, his light will be reflected and eventually transformed by his children. And perhaps another level of meaning can be found in Rabbi Meir, the tanna's take on the very next pasuk: "And Hashem dressed Adam and his wife in garments of light" - a light that they now know will continue through their descendants.

Questions for the Shabbos table:
  1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning?
  2. Which aspects of your personality or belief system can you point to as resulting from different influences in your life?
  3. As you become a maor gadol, what are the types of messages you want to be giving off?
Thoughts of the Rav

by Rabbi David Saltzman  
The pasuk states that as G-d was creating man, He said:
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים נַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם בְּצַלְמֵנוּ כִּדְמוּתֵנוּ
And G-d said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."
Rashi explains that G-d took counsel with the angels:
ענותנותו של הקב"ה למדנו מכאן, לפי שהאדם בדמות המלאכים ויתקנאו בו לפיכך נמלך בהם,
From here we learn the humility of the Holy One, blessed be He. Since man was created in the likeness of the angels, and they would envy him, He consulted them.
The Rav asks: Why did Hashem need to address Himself to the angels? Did He need a license to create man? The Rav explains that man is a competitor to the angels, and when you introduce a competitor, you need to inform them beforehand.
The Rav then explains that they compete because angels are a uniform being, and man is versatile. Angels represent one idea and one event, while man represents all ideas, which are at times contradictory and conflicting. Man's life is a mixture of glory, adventure, failure and misery, while the life of an angel is very simple.
Recognizing that life is a series of ups and downs, that it is complex, and that we are constantly moving and working to improve will serve us well as we experience the emotional and physical rhythm of life.
Eighth-Grade Parents: Let's Talk

Parlor-Style Meetings Start Next Week!

Eighth-grade parents will soon receive an invitation to attend one of two parlor-style meetings for an evening of conversation with the Upper School principals. This will be an opportunity to learn more about the Upper School -- what we offer, of course, but at least as important, how and WHY we do what we do.

Wednesday, November 2

7:30-9:00 p.m.

at the home of

  Norah Mazar and Shmuel Weglein

7 Windsor Road


Sunday, November 6
7:00-8:30 p.m.
at the home of

Deena and Avi Traum

26 Ames Court


We hope to see you there!

Sixth-Grade Hebrew

by Dr. Mor-Li Hartman

We began the year by working on the first chapter of the first book of Bishvil HaIvrit. Using the lessons we saw there, we practiced introducing ourselves and discussing our homes and families. I hope the children had an opportunity to practice their Hebrew over the recent chagim!

We've also studied different places in Israel using map skills, and discussed the lives of different children in Israel.

Recently, we've begun using Chromebooks to have students work individually on a system geared to their Hebrew skill levels. After finishing Chromebook lessons, the students complete a worksheet relevant to what they have just learned to help them review and work on their writing, comprehension, and productive language.

Seventh-Grade History

by Hal Borkow 

The seventh-grade history students have been preparing for, and working on, an in-depth study of the causes of the American Revolution. We're taking a close look at the Declaration of Independence as a primary source, reading and dissecting it to learn about the ideas and ideals of the time period. Do the United States live up to these ideals? Is it possible for a country to live up to these ideals?

We'll be continuing this unit by each writing a letter to our illustrious correspondent, King George III, informing him of the decisions we have made. Will we be Loyalists or Patriots?

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 were sent out on Wednesday, Oct. 26.  If you did not receive an e-mail with your student(s) ID and registration information, please contact your division office.

Yom Chesed Registration Starts NOW!

Registration is now open for Yom Chesed, our all-ages community service initiative, which will take place on 
Sunday, December 4 from 9:00 a.m.- noon. This schoolwide community service initiative, which supports our all-year theme of arvut (mutual responsibility), is in its fourth year and is fun for everyone, including students, parents, faculty, grandparents, alumni, and parents of alumni. 
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 November 18. Projects are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so sign up early to be sure to be assigned to your first choice! 
The event will kick off at school with davening, a short program, and a light breakfast. Then groups will fan out to a wide range of chesed programs and activities, both here at school and throughout the greater community.
Please note that this year we will be collecting full-size deoderant and toothpaste items for Hope and Comfort, an organization that provides hygiene products to adults and children in need, as well as canned salmon and whole wheat crackers for Family Table, the area's largest kosher food pantry. You may drop off items at collection boxes in either the Brener or Saval buildings.
Together we WILL make a difference!

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 Online

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

Username is: maimoparents 
Password is: horim

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.

Follow Maimo on Instagram


   We're expanding our social media network! 

   Please follow us on Instagram at

. 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.

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).
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.

On behalf of the entire Middle School:

Shabbat Shalom!


Brian Cohen



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