Maimonides Elementary School

ES Update
 November 11, 2016 - 10 Heshvan 5777 - Lech-Lecha
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Shabbat Project
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Family Learning
First Grade Principals' Coffee
Upcoming Principals' Coffees
Arvut Update
Grade-Level Newsletters
After-School Activities
Yom Chesed
Collecting for the Needy
In the Art Studio
Basketball Tournament
Lost and Found
Hebrew Birthdates
PTA Girls' Clothing
2016-17 Calendars
Handbook Online
Vehicle Policies
Online Directory
ECC/MS/US Newsletters
Maimonides LinkedIn Group
Maimo on Instagram
Check us out on Facebook
ES Calendar
Tues, Nov. 15
3:00 p.m. Dismissal

Wed, Nov. 16
Grade 2 Principals' Coffee
8:00 a.m.

Sun, Nov. 20
Family Learning 
10:15-11:30 a.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences
12:00-7:00 p.m.

Tues, Nov. 22
Grade 3 Principals' Coffee
8:00 a.m.

Wed, Nov. 23
12:00 p.m. Dismissal

Thurs, Nov. 24- 
Fri, Nov. 25
No School

As always, please see the Kol Rambam Weekly for the all-school calendar, events and PTA notes.
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Dear Parents,

We had another wonderful week at school!
Please read on for the latest Elementary School news and information about upcoming events. 

D'var Torah

by Rabbi David Saltzman

וַיְהִי רִיב בֵּין רֹעֵי מִקְנֵה אַבְרָם וּבֵין רֹעֵי מִקְנֵה לוֹט וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַפְּרִזִּי אָז ישֵׁב בָּאָרֶץ:
And there was a quarrel between the herdsmen of Avram's cattle and between the herdsmen of Lot's cattle, and the Canaanites and the Perizzites were then dwelling in the land.

What were the shepherds of Avraham (then known as Avram) and Lot fighting about?

The Seforno comments that both Avraham and Lot had so much cattle that
וְלא נָשָׂא אתָם הָאָרֶץ. מִרְעֵה הָאָרֶץ לא הָיָה מַסְפִּיק לִשְׁנֵיהֶם, לְפִיכָך,ְ וַיְהִי רִיב בֵּין רעֵי מִקְנֵה אַבְרָם וּבֵין רעֵי מִקְנֵה לוט. הָיְתָה בֵּינֵיהֶם מְרִיבָה לִרְאות מִי נִדְחֶה מִפְּנֵי מִי מִן הַמִּרְעֶה שֶׁיִּמְצְאוּ.
And there was not enough food in the land for both of them to graze, so they began to argue to determine which flock would eat the found fodder and which would have to forage further.

The Netziv adds that Avraham was fearful that the argument would work its way up to the actual owners of the flock, namely Avraham and Lot themselves, and therefore took precautionary measures to ensure their peace. After all, as Avraham himself attests,כִּי אֲנָשִׁים אַחִים אֲנָחְנוּ - we are brothers and we need to have a good relationship.

However, Avraham's next suggestion seems to insinuate the opposite. He says to Lot:
הִפָּרֶד נָא מֵעָלָי אִם הַשְּׂמֹאל וְאֵימִנָה וְאִם הַיָּמִין וְאַשְׂמְאִילָה
Please part from me; if [you go] left, I will go right, and if [you go] right, I will go left.

Avraham's idea sounds harsh! What happened to the brotherhood? What about their relationship and their kinship?  

Rashi writes that Avraham had something else in mind.
אם השמאל ואימנה - בכל אשר תשב אני לא אתרחק ממך ואעמוד לך למגן ולעזר
If you will go to the left then I will go to the right - wherever you settle down I will not go far from you, and I will stand by you as a shield and as a helper.

According to Rashi, Avraham asked Lot to leave, but Avraham was still going to watch over Lot and keep him safe. Avraham understood that he was still responsible for Lot's well being and promised to care, help, and shield him. Even though they were living apart and did not separate on positive terms, Avraham still felt a sense of arvut towards his nephew. In the end, Avraham does rescue Lot and demonstrates his arvut - caring and responsibility to another person.

Let us also behave like Avraham. Even when we don't agree with another person, we should still make sure not to escalate an argument, and if we opt to go our separate ways we can still act with a sense of arvut to all the people involved.  

Thoughts of the Rav on the Parsha
by Rabbi David Saltzman 

The Rav zt"l wonders: why did Avraham go to Egypt at the beginning of his journey? He answers that Avraham was in a hurry to spread his message of morality, his new doctrine, and his new belief in monotheism. What better way than to visit a large city and spread the message? The plan in Egypt did not work out as Avraham had hoped.
According to the Rav, Hashem was tasking Avraham with the following: There is no need to spread My name, morality, or norms. I have one job for you - raise a family. Whatever you had in mind to teach Pharaoh and his nation, teach to your child. Build a Beit Avraham and I will be satisfied, and your mission will be complete. This message was passed on to Yitzchak, then to Yaakov, and so on.
The Jewish home is the mission with which Avraham was charged. It is the mission with which every Jew is charged. Every Jew is a little Sarah or Avraham, and will pass on the Torah, to be perpetuated forever.

Fifth Grade Returns from Teva

After many weeks of great anticipation, the fifth graders returned yesterday evening from their 4-day, 3-night "Shomrei Adamah" (Keepers of the Earth) Teva Learning Alliance
 experience.  The students gained awareness of nature and the environment; learned about conservation and preservation of resources; developed a closer feeling of connection towards their classmates and teachers; and grew in their appreciation for how Hashem is the source of everything, and how Torah upholds these values.   

Some highlights included
instructional hikes and exploration of the forest; playing educational games; singing songs and eating s'mores around the campfire; creating and performing skits based on midrashim; singing and dancing with ruach; davening beautifully; eating delicious, nutritious, and environmentally-friendly vegetarian food; and watching the results of the Presidential election.

The students are looking forward to fulfilling their individual Brit Adama goals in the weeks to come and earning their Keepers of the Earth beads. The fifth graders are planning a "Bring Teva Back to Your School" project which will combine an eco-fair and arvut in order to share their new learning with the rest of the Elementary School.

Many thanks to all our chaperones: Rabbi Reisman, Mrs. Portman, Ms. Brooks, Rabbi Saltzman, Mrs. Slovin, our shlichot Moriah and Chemdat, Mr. Hain, Mr. Malkin, and Mr. Tarlin.
Send pictures for the Maimonides Shabbat Project

This Shabbat, the entire Maimonides School community will display our arvut and unity with our brothers and sisters throughout the world by participating in The Shabbat Project. The concept of The Shabbat Project is simple: Once a year, Jews from all walks of life - religious, secular and traditional, young and old, from all corners of the world - unite to experience one full Shabbat together, in full accordance with Jewish law.

For this important project, we at Maimonides will express our solidarity with Am Yisrael, and our love for Shabbat, in a unique way. We will provide everyone with a glimpse into how each of our families honors Shabbat by lovingly preparing for, and creating, the holy atmosphere of Shabbat in our homes.

To make this a reality, please take a picture at home on Friday before Shabbat, or on Motzaei Shabbat during havdalah. It can be a picture of any and all family members setting the table, shopping, preparing the Shabbat meal, baking challot, setting the candlesticks, posing together in Shabbat clothing, or any other image that you would like. The pictures that you submit will then be combined to form a beautiful testament to our community's unbreakable connection to Shabbat and to the Jewish people.  This will be assembled as a slideshow and posted online.

Please send your pictures to by noon on Sunday.

May this Shabbat, kept by so many Jews worldwide, be a harbinger of peace and unity throughout the world.  
Parent-Teacher Conferences

Over 350 parents have signed up for over 2500 conferences with their children's teachers, which are happening over the course of three days this month.  Meetings ran from 10:00 - 7:00 p.m. yesterday, and are taking place today in the Middle and Upper Schools.

The last day of Parent-Teacher Conferences will be a week from Sunday, November 20, with meetings from 12:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Family Learning

On Sunday, October 30, over 30 people joined together to learn about netina - giving to others.  We learned what to do when someone does not want to give and how one can change their mind and attitude towards giving. We read The Rainbow Fish and then participants wrote their own stories using iPads. 
The next Family Learning will be on Sunday, November 20 in the Brener lunchroom from 10:15-11:45 a.m. We will be taking an in-depth look at the mitzvah of tzedakah
Bring your family and friends for a morning of learning! There will be breakfast with bagels, pastries, coffee, juice, and prizes! We hope to see you there!

First Grade Principals' Coffee

The first grade Principals' Coffee took place in the Brener library on Wednesday morning. Associate Principal Reena Slovin shared the systematic approach that the faculty have developed for collaboratively working with student data in order to better address the needs of all of our students. Grade-level teams meet for an hour weekly to review student data collected in the areas of Hebrew language, English reading and writing, and mathematics. The various sources of data looked at in first grade were reviewed, a sample meeting protocol was shared, and examples of instructional implications were discussed.
Parents then had the opportunity to ask questions and make comments. We discussed the weekly newsletters, which parents greatly appreciate, although some requested that more photos be shared. It was also suggested that the teachers include an "Ask your Child" section to spark home discussion about different areas of learning.  
The topic of homework came up, and as is often the case, some parents wanted more homework and some were very happy with less.  It was suggested that if parents are looking for additional practice work for their children to do at home, they can ask the teachers for suggestions. There are online options for students to engage in at home, such as Lexia and Dreambox, and reading is always recommended.  
One parent mentioned how much she appreciates the fact that Dani gives written reports about good work and behavior to the children, rather than just to parents.  All agreed that this was a great practice that benefitted their child.  Flexible seating was also popular among most parents, and in general, the parents expressed a high level of satisfaction with their children's first grade experience.

Upcoming Principals' Coffees

The next Principals' Coffee will be for second grade parents, and will take place 
Wednesday, November 16, from 8:00-8:45 a.m. in the library on the third floor. Principals' coffees are taking place for parents of students at each grade level on mornings from November through December. The coffees are an opportunity for parents to talk with the principals, ask questions, give input, and learn more about different aspects of Maimonides student life and learning at a particular grade level.
Come and meet other families from your child's class and ask the principals questions about the class, curriculum, or anything else!        
Upcoming dates:
  • Tuesday, November 22, from 8:00-8:45 a.m. (3rd Grade)
  • Wednesday, November 30, from 8:00-8:45 a.m. (4th Grade)
  • Wednesday, December 7, from 8:00-8:45 a.m. (5th Grade)
Arvut Update


As part of our ongoing exploration of arvut, first and second grade students visited Middle School classes to deliver presentations on the sub-theme of arvut beveit hasefer - our responsibility for each other's welfare here at school. Their presentations focused on the power of our words, and the tremendous impact that our words can have here at the school.
Posters made by Elementary School students on the subject of arvut are now on display outside the synagogue on Saval Campus.

 October Grade-Level Newsletters

Click on the links below to view the October newsletters with detailed information on the learning now happening in grades 2-5.
After-School Activities Begin

Woodworking, Chess, and Fencing... the After-School Program has begun! There are still spots available in some activities. For more details contact Deborah Mehl,

One more week left for Yom Chesed registration!

Registration is filling up 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 year-long 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 next Friday, November 18. Projects are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so please don't wait to sign up. 
Together we WILL make a difference!

Vital collections for those in need! Can you help?

In conjunction with Yom Chesed, we are collecting items for two local organizations that provide essential items for local families.

Full size toothpaste and deodorant are needed for Hope and Cure, a Newton-based organization that provides hygiene products for adults and children in need.

Family Table, the area's only kosher food pantry, is an organization that Maimonides supports throughout the year with donations of whole wheat crackers and canned salmon.

Collection boxes are located in the Brener (outside the Elementary School office) and Saval (outside the Upper School office) buildings. Your donations will be greatly appreciated! 
In the Art Studio

Last Monday, second graders practiced generating ideas for their artwork in the drawing and painting centers.


Many students were inspired by nature and the outdoors, while others were interested in details in the classroom, including artwork by Upper School students.


A few second graders began to use research as a part of their artistic practice, and borrowed books and images from the Internet for reference.

Invitational Basketball Tournament

The excitement is building for the annual Maimonides Invitational Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton, which is now less than five weeks away. The tournament is scheduled for Thursday-Sunday, December 15-18.

Participating boys' and girls' teams will be from Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy in Kansas, Melvin Berman Hebrew Academy in Maryland, and Rambam Mesivta and Yeshiva of Flatbush in New York. Games will take place in Fox Gymnasium and around the corner at Brookline High School's Schluntz Gym.

Organizers are recruiting volunteers for a variety of roles and responsibilities. Anyone interested in volunteering may contact Ahron Solomont at (914) 548-0365 or  
Lost and Found

Please retrieve your child's belongings. We will be donating all unclaimed items on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Hebrew Birthdates

We recognize student birthdays at Monday Morning Assembly each week, and in class on the actual day of each student's birthday. While most of our students celebrate on their English (secular calendar) birthdate, some children celebrate on their Hebrew (Jewish calendar) birthdate.  If your child celebrates their Hebrew birthday exclusively, we would appreciate your sending us their birthdate information, as we don't have a record of Hebrew birthdays in our database.

PTA Partnering with Girls' Clothing Store

The PTA is very excited to announce a new partnership with Maya's Place, a clothing store for women and girls in Great Neck, NY. As we know that many parents struggle to find appropriate skirts for their daughters to wear to school, we have decided to partner with Maya, who offers many great options for women and girls on her website at reasonable prices. So please click on the link below and shop! 5% of all purchases made through this exclusive Maimonides link will go back to our PTA. Be advised that any purchases must be made using this link and not directly through the website or our PTA will not receive credit. If you have any questions, please contact the PTA. 
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 can be found 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.

Online Access to Directory

We know many of you are eager to connect with each other! The printed Maimonides School 2016-17 Directory has been sent home, 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 LinkedIn Group

Maimonides School is rapidly expanding the LinkedIn group called Maimonides School Community. The far-reaching connections through LinkedIn can not only enhance professional opportunities but also serve as a resource for new ideas and conversations.


The link to join is


Follow Maimo on Instagram

   We're expanding our social media network! Please follow us   

   on Instagram at @Maimobrookline
Check us out on Facebook!
Let's be friends... on Facebook! 
Fans of our Maimonides School Facebook page get an insider's view of all that's going on at Maimo, with the latest photos taken in the classrooms, on the playgrounds, and all around the Brener and Saval campuses. If you'd like to be in the know, just click here to "like" us on Facebook.

!שבת שלום
Rabbi, Reena, and the Maimonides ES Faculty  

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