Maimonides Elementary School

ES Update
 December 2, 2016 - 2 Kislev 5777 - Toldot
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Understanding Our Differences
A New Holiday
Principals' Coffee
Upcoming Principals' Coffees
In the Art Studio
Collecting Donations
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
Sun, Dec. 4
Yom Chesed

Tues, Dec. 6
3:00 p.m. Dismissal

Wed, Dec. 7
Grade 5 Principals' Coffee

Sun, Dec. 18
Family Learning

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

The parasha opens this week with Rivkah and Yitzchak unable to have children. The Torah tells us that in response to their barrenness, a prayer was offered to Hashem:
וַיֶּעְתַּר יִצְחָק לַיקֹוָק לְנֹכַח אִשְׁתּוֹ כִּי עֲקָרָה הִוא וַיֵּעָתֶר לוֹ יְקֹוָק וַתַּהַר רִבְקָה אִשְׁתּוֹ:
And Yitzchak prayed to the Lord opposite his wife because she was barren, and the Lord accepted his prayer, and Rivkah his wife conceived.

Looking closely at the pasuk, it seems to accentuate that Yitzchak was the one who prayed on behalf of his wife. Although nowadays we take for granted that one should pray for another's well-being, health, or needs, Yitzchak praying for Rivkah to bear children was somewhat revolutionary at the time. Back then, if a couple was unable to conceive, the man would marry another wife or concubine (like Avraham and Yaakov did). We also don't have any evidence that Avraham prayed for Sarah to have a child. Therefore, Yitzchak's act is not the usual course of action.
What prompted Yitzchak to daven for Rivkah and not try to find someone else to carry on his legacy? Look at the following Radak:
ויעתר יצחק - הרבה בתפלה על אשתו שתלד לפי שהיה אוהב אותה אהבה יתירה כמו שפירשנו, ומאהבתה לא רצה לקחת אשה אחרת עליה ולא אחת מנערותיה, לפיכך הרבה מאד בתפלה עד שנעתר לו האל.
He increased his prayers on behalf of his wife because of his exceeding love for her. And because of this love he did not want to marry someone else. Therefore, he multiplied his prayers until G-d answered him.
The Radak explains that it was because of Yitzchak's deep love for his wife (see Parashat Chaye Sarah, where Rivkah and Yitzchak meet for the first time!) that he wanted her to have children, and he wanted his children to be from her. Motivated by this deep love, Yitzchak was able to feel the pain of his wife's infertility, and he understood her anxiety that he would take another wife in her stead. This understanding, flowing from the love that he had for her, made Yitzchak sympathetic to her plight and inspired him to daven on her behalf.
When we delve into the concept of arvut, one facet that helps promote our feeling connected to, and responsible for, another is unconditional love for that person. When one has feelings of deep attachment and affection for another, by default they are going to be empathetic and sensitive to the other person's emotions. Ahavah, love, is one of the first steps in attaining arvut. Through his love for his wife, Yitzchak demonstrates this attachment and connectedness to her. 

Thoughts of the Rav on the Parsha
by Rabbi David Saltzman   
The Rav explains, in Worship of the Heart, that prayer is a dialogical medium by which we can communicate with G-d. It is a conversation between finitude and infinity, with G-d being the listener and man being the speaker. As opposed to some other contemporary conceptions of prayer, Judaism considers this "selfish" petitionary prayer as the central theme of the service.
Looking at the beginning of the parasha this week, we see that Yitzchak prayed to G-d and implored Him to grant him offspring. We incorporate this aspect of tefilla in the middle part of the weekday Amidah, which contains 13 of the 16 berachot which are totally devoted to thoughtful petition. The reason for this centrality lies in our philosophy that prayer is avoda she-be-lev - namely, the feeling of unqualified dependence.
Therefore, the understanding of Jewish prayer must give a place of prominence to the idea and to the experience of petition.
Fifth Grade Understanding Our Differences

Yesterday the 5th graders participated in the first Understanding Our Differences program of the year.  The subject was Autism, and specifically Asperger's Syndrome.  After watching an introductory video on the topic, the students split into two groups to participate in an activity. One group played Emotion Charades while the other assembled a puzzle together without talking. The students learned how challenging communication can be when you don't have the use of words to help guide you. 

After recess the students were treated to a visit by a young man who has Asperger's.  He shared his experience as a student with Asperger's Syndrome, as well as how his life is impacted as an adult.  After he spoke, the students respectfully asked him well thought-out questions to learn more about Aaron and his life.  The students enjoyed the program and look forward to the next in the series. 
A New Holiday

This week our students learned about the Ethiopian Jewish holiday of Sigd from our 
shlichot. It is observed on the 29th of Cheshvan and in 2008 became an official holiday in Israel. The tradition in Jerusalem is to celebrate on a mountain with a view of the city, and pray for the rebuilding of the Beit Ha'mikdash.
Grade 4 Principals' Coffee

At the fourth grade Principals' Coffee Rabbi Saltzman delivered a short d'var Torah, which was followed by Reena Slovin sharing some information about the collaborative work the faculty have been engaged in this year around student data collection and analysis.
Grade-level faculty teams meet for an hour weekly to review student data collected in the areas of Hebrew language, English reading and writing, and mathematics. The purpose is to gain a better understanding of our students, how they learn best, and where we need to improve our instruction.  The various sources of date looked at in fourth grade were reviewed:
English Language Arts
  • Spellography Inventory and Placement Test
  • Lexia Rapid Assessment in Phonetics, Word Reading, Vocabulary, Syntax and Comprehension
  • Self-Regulated Strategy Development pre-and post-writing assessments
  • Formative assessments collected during phonics lessons, writing dictations, progress monitoring measures, student work samples, etc.
  • FASTTMath for fact fluency
  • Post Assessments for each unit  - paper and pencil and individual interview
  • Dreambox Learning online ongoing assessments on Common Core Standards for Mathematics at each grade level.  Measures time on, progress, etc.  
  • Informal assessments of students' letter-sound knowledge, nikud, word, sentence and passage reading
  • Writing samples
A sample fourth grade meeting protocol was shared, and examples of instructional implications were discussed. Parents then had the opportunity to ask questions and make comments, to which the principals responded with further information.
Upcoming Principals' Coffees

The next Principals' Coffee will be for fifth grade parents, and will take place 
Wednesday, December 7, 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!        

In the Art Studio

On Monday, second graders working at the sculpture center had the opportunity to work with 6th grader Dina Nemirovsky and practice using hot glue safely. They used heat gloves to protect their hands while building sculptures with a variety of materials. They also experimented with different ways to balance and attach the different parts of their structures.
Help those in need with these vital donations!

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. 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

Here are the latest Lost and Found items. PLEASE LABEL EVERYTHING. Some 
students don't seem to notice their own belongings, so it's best to label everything so that we can return any lost items to their owners.
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