Maimonides Upper School

Upper School Weekly Update: November 11, 2016     
Lech Lecha
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Rav Thoughts
Mock Election
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Shabbat Project
Yom Chesed
Collecting Donations
Basketball Tournament
2016-17 Calendars
Parent Handbook
Maimo on Instagram
Vehicle Policies
Directory Online
Division Newsletters
Next Week
Monday, November 14
No changes
Tuesday, November 15
No changes
Wednesday, November 16
No changes
Thursday, November 17
Begin Advisory Thursday Schedule
Friday, November 18
Begin 1:05pm Dismissal

10th Grade Boys' Shabbaton (No classes affected)
In Two Weeks 

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D'var Torah 

by Rabbi Dov Huff

This week's parsha ends with Avraham Avinu's brit milah. There is a disagreement among Chazal in the Midrash Rabbah (39:9) as to whether or not Avraham experienced any pain or discomfort. Rabbi Abba Bar Kahana takes the position that Avraham felt significant pain during the milah, which increased his level of s'char - reward.
Rabbi Levi, on the other hand, brings textual evidence that Avraham felt nothing. He points out that the pasuk doesn't say "Avraham circumcised himself" in the active voice. Instead it employs the nifal, the passive form - "nimol" - meaning he was circumcised. Rabbi Levi learns from this that Avraham "found himself circumcised" - he did not even notice as it happened.
The Midrash records that upon hearing this position, Rabbi Abba attacked Rabbi Levi, calling him a liar and reemphasizing that Avraham underwent significant pain. Perhaps we can suggest that Rabbi Abba's visceral response to the idea that Avraham felt nothing results from the unconscionable suggestion that one could enter a brit, a covenant, with G-d, passively - that there is no hard work involved in rising to this lofty challenge, and ascending to the profound ideal and beautiful vision of humanity that G-d has detailed for us in the Torah. Rabbi Abba seems to reject Rabbi Levi's suggestion that we can just wake up one day and find ourselves meeting the demands of the Brit E-lokim.
Being part of the covenant which Avraham Avinu made with Hashem demands hard work. It requires that we take on new challenges and new responsibilities; that we always strive to grow and be better, to bond ourselves to Rabbi Abba's vision of a covenant, whose reward corresponds to the effort invested.
Questions for the Shabbos table:
  1. What might we answer in defense of Rabbi Levi's position?
  2. Can you think of commitments you have made which are stronger because you had to work at them?
Thoughts of the Rav
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.

Mock Election
There was a lot of interest in the voting results from Tuesday's mock election in grades 7-12. Interestingly enough, the tally mirrored the Massachusetts results!

Students supported the Democratic over the Republican ticket by a margin of 63 to 27.5 percent, with third-party candidates totaling 9 percent of the votes. Students also favored protection for animals being raised for food (72 percent) and legalization of recreational marijuana (56.5 percent) and opposed an additional gambling facility (83 percent). The only discrepancy was on the question of adding charter schools. That measure was favored by a little more than half of the school voters, but opposed by 62 percent of those in the commonwealth.

The mock election was coordinated by Upper School social studies teacher Christopher Dore.

Parent-Teacher Conferences in process

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 in full swing today with conferences from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

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

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.

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!

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

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 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