ECC Weekly Newsletter 
December 9, 2016 - 9 Kislev 5777

Parashat Vayeitzei

ECC Highlights
Robin's Message
Dvar Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
New School Logo
Yom Chesed
Collecting Donations
2-Year-Old Class Newsletter
3-Year-Old Class Newsletter
4-Year-Old Class Newsletter
Basketball Tournament
2016-17 Calendars
Vehicle Policies
Handbook Online
Maimo on Instagram
ES, MS, and US Newsletters
Check us out on Facebook

Please check the Lost and Found table and coat rack outside the Elementary School office if you are looking for a missing item.
For the boys: Every day during davening we say the bracha for tzitzit, please make sure your son wears or keeps in his backpack a pair of tzitzit and a kippah.

If you have any recyclable materials, please send them in for our classes to use. Examples are:
-Paper towel/toilet paper rolls
-Paint color samples
-Scraps of contact paper, wallpaper, or cloth
-Small pieces of tile
-Any other crafty loose parts!
Please send in dress-up clothes, especially authentic doctor clothes and supplies. Thank you!
Whether you are a parent, alumni or faculty member, your Maimo Moments are welcomed and appreciated.
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From Robin Meyerowitz

Dear Parents,

Today was a wonderful day. I got to watch the 4-year-olds and kindergarten students with their talented and dedicated teachers - along with Chantal Lawrence, our Director of Admissions - divide into groups and create original and innovative Chanukah art projects. It was wonderful to watch the students of different ages interacting and enjoying being with each other.

One of my favorite things about being in Maimo is the opportunity for students of all ages to work together. The Upper School students are making us a Chanukah carnival on December 22. Benji Hain's Middle School advisory group comes every week to read us stories and help us get ready for naptime. All of the teachers in the school smile, say hello, and show so much love for our students. It is wonderful to be a part of the Maimo family!

This Wednesday, December 14, at 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., we will be holding a Parent Coffee for the 4-year-old class parents to meet the Elementary School principals and share information about the transition into Kindergarten.

We can't wait to share our Chanukah fun with you! Our class Chanukah parties will be during the week of December 19. Each party will begin at 8:45 a.m. and last for about 45 minutes.
  • 3-year-olds' party: Monday, December 19 (Note change in date)
  • 2-year-olds' party: Tuesday, December 20
  • 4-year-olds' party: Wednesday, December 21
Shabbat Shalom,


Dvar Torah - Rock On

by Rabbi David Saltzman
This week's parasha opens with Yaakov running away from his brother Eisav and on his way to find a wife (or 2 or 3 or 4!). The Torah says that he reached a place as it was getting dark and he took some stones to place under his head. 
וַיִּפְגַּע בַּמָּקוֹם וַיָּלֶן שָׁם כִּי בָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וַיִּקַּח מֵאַבְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם וַיָּשֶׂם מְרַאֲשֹׁתָיו וַיִּשְׁכַּב בַּמָּקוֹם הַהוּא:
And he arrived at the place and lodged there because the sun had set, and he took some of the stones of the place and placed [them] at his head, and he lay down in that place.
Yaakov has a dream, and in the morning:
וַיַּשְׁכֵּם יַעֲקֹב בַּבֹּקֶר וַיִּקַּח אֶת הָאֶבֶן אֲשֶׁר שָׂם מְרַאֲשֹׁתָיו וַיָּשֶׂם אֹתָהּ מַצֵּבָה וַיִּצֹק שֶׁמֶן עַל רֹאשָׁהּ:
Yaakov arose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had placed at his head, and he set it up as a monument, and he poured oil on top of it.
Rashi points out that the word אַבְנֵי, many stones, changed to אֶבֶן, one stone, in the singular. Rashi comments that:
התחילו מריבות זו עם זו, זאת אומרת עלי יניח צדיק את ראשו, וזאת אומרת עלי יניח, מיד עשאן הקב"ה אבן אחת, וזהו שנאמר (פסוק יח) ויקח את האבן אשר שם מראשותיו:
They [the stones] started quarreling with one another. One said, "Let the righteous man lay his head on me," and another one said, "Let him lay [his head] on me." Immediately, the Holy One, blessed be He, made them into one stone. This is why it is stated (verse 18):"and he took the stone [in the singular] that he had placed at his head."
According to Rashi, the rocks began to argue with each other, and G-d miraculously fused the separate stones together to form one large rock (and an uncomfortable pillow!).
Obviously stones don't talk or fight. What does Rashi mean, and what can we learn from his explanation?
Rabbi Moshe Taragin, in a talk on, quoted Rabbi Yehdah Amital and explained Rashi's explanation as a metaphor with two lessons.
One lesson is that each of these arguing rocks represented the different competing goals and interests that a person struggles with during life. Life is complex, and we constantly need to decide and determine how much time we designate for our children, our job, and our community. It's impossible to be everything for everyone at the same time, and having to make these decisions can cause conflict within each individual. The merging of the rocks into one teaches us that the human condition is tangled, and we need G-d's assistance to help us focus and prioritize.
The second lesson is that the Jewish people are made up of many different types and personalities. Each rock represented a different philosophy, a distinctive way of thinking, various abilities and dissimilar backgrounds. A true leader is sensitive to the individual needs, desires, and dreams of each person. The leader strives to include all and fuse everyone together towards a common goal and purpose. As Yaakov was about to embark on his life and become the father of 13 divergent children who would grow into Am Yisrael, he learned that his modeling of leadership would keep the nation connected as one for all eternity.
Achdut, oneness and togetherness, breeds arvut, feeling connected to and responsible for each and every person.
Thoughts of the Rav - The Nature of Tefillah 
by Rabbi Dov Huff

There is a general machloket between the Rambam on the one hand and the Ramban on the other about tefillah. The Rambam believes there is a biblical obligation to daven every day, while the Ramban believes that the biblical obligation applies only in times of crisis and the obligation to daven every day is rabbinic in nature. In classic Brisker style, the Rav sees a much deeper fundamental disagreement here. Not on the nature of tefillah, but on the very nature of existence. 
The Rav suggests that both the Rambam and Ramban actually agree that tefillah is prompted by a state of crisis. The difference is that from the Ramban's perspective, we daven when threatened by an external crisis. When we find ourselves in peril, or in a time of difficulty, we turn to Hashem to pray.  The Rambam, however, feels that the human experience is one in which we are always in a state of existential crisis. Lowly and lonely man, in his quest to understand a G-d who is beyond his capacity to grasp, is perpetually in a fragile state. For the Rambam, says the Rav, tefillah is ever present in our lives to help us navigate the human experience. 
New School Logo Introduced 
Maimonides School's new logo was introduced at the start of Yom Chesed on Sunday. The dual arch symbolizes many things, according to Head of School Naty Katz, including "not only the richness of our heritage but also the promise of possibilities," as well as "the school's foundation in both Judaic and general studies," which "evokes encountering the modern world and its dynamic educational challenges and rewards, while always rooted in the eternal truth of Torah."


Once Again, We Made a Difference!
Last Sunday over 500 students, parents, alumni, grandparents, faculty and staff joined together for our 4th Yom Chesed. This group -- our largest ever -- participated in 15 projects here in school and throughout the community, putting chesed into action and sharing our learning about arvut. In addition, a group of young alumni volunteered at a food pantry in Jerusalem, making Yom Chesed a truly global event.

To see more about Yom Chesed, click here for our video, and here for a photo album.


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!

2-Year-Old Class Newsletter

Dear Parents,
As we finish up the first week of December, we focused on this week's Parshat Vayeitzei. This is where Yaakov leaves his hometown, and on the way, he sleeps and dreams of a ladder connecting heaven and earth. He also gets married to Leah and Rachel. We made our own ladders with small sticks and 12 stones, and we got to hear Morah Tzipi tell us the story of Yaakov's life. We even climbed our own first ladder! On Thursday, the four-year-olds invited us to their very own ceremony, where Yaakov got married.
We are surrounding the students with the beauty and light of Chanukah. We have lots of chanukiyot in our room, and are building our own as well. At lunchtime, we dim the lights and use flickering tea lights on our tables. One morning, we even used different colored cellophane on our flashlights, turned off the lights in the gym, and then ran around, flashing color. It was amazing watching the little splashes of blue, green, yellow, red, orange, and purple light reflecting off the walls!

In Morah Linda's Music class, we are learning Chanukah songs. We are looking forward to singing with you during our Chanukah party on Tuesday, December 20th at 8:45 a.m.! We will also eat a snack together and make a holiday project.
In Yoga class, Morah Hadassah also uses music while she teaches the students how to breathe, relax, and stretch.

Ms. DiOrio, our Art teacher, read us a beautiful book about traveling leaves, and then let us paint using the colors of fall.

Morah Dayse continues to share with us her gentle singing voice and her instruments. In Morah Dayse's class, the students play games while holding hands and singing together.

Just a reminder as the cold weather approaches, please make sure to label all clothing, from boots to mittens and hats - it really helps us out. Also, because of limited space in our room, please place your child's lunchbox on the bench outside the classroom when you drop them off in the morning.

We hope you enjoy this week's photos!
Thank you and Shabbat Shalom,

Morah Laura and Morah Tzipi


We got two new chairs on Monday. Here we are washing them! 
Bella thinks that this was a very enjoyable project!

One morning we put stones in one bowl, play dough in another, and sea shells on a tray. Here's what we ended up with: a beautiful mixture!

We opened up a toy delivery, and ended up making a couch out of its box. Who needs toys when you have a cardboard box to play in?

Ellie and Elhanan putting "pencil candles" in one of our chanukiyot.

Look, so much royalty! Hayim, Julia, Bella, and Noa loved walking around looking like little kings!
Here's Morah Tzipi telling the story of Yaakov falling asleep.

Here Yaakov is climbing the ladder along with the angels. 
Naomi got to the top of "Yaakov's ladder."
Ellie, Julia, and Noa are making their own ladders.

Hayim knows that squeezing the glue is half the fun.
Noa and Elhanan make a chanukiyah out of blocks.
Avishai and Daniel read about some of their favorite things, vehicles!
3-Year-Old Class Newsletter 
Dear Parents,
We started introducing the upcoming holiday of Chanukah. The students used a pestle and mortar to crush olives. They noticed that when they crushed the olives, there was oil in the bowl. We discussed how this oil was the same type of olive oil that they buy in the grocery store. They also examined whole olives with magnifying glasses.
We also started reviewing the story of Chanukah. The students dressed up as kings, Maccabees, and elephants, and acted out scenes from the story. We sang Chanukah songs such as "Sevivon," "Banu Choshech," "How Many Candles," "Who Fought Antiochus," "Lichvod Hachanukah," and "I Have a Little Dreidel." We will continue singing these songs until Chanukah. You will be getting a song sheet with the words at our Chanukah celebration on December 19th.
We introduced the concept of light and dark. The students explored with opaque and translucent objects, both on our light table and on an overhead projector. They especially loved seeing how the shapes were displayed on the whiteboard in our room. Some of the students even created shadows on the wall. We will continue to do activities involving light over the next couple of weeks. If you have not already done so, please send in a labeled flashlight with your child that can be left at school.
For parsha, we talked about how, in Vayeitzei, Yaakov took such a long trip to run away from his angry brother, Eisav, that he had to rest. Hashem performed a miracle, turning the small rocks that Yaakov was using as a pillow into one large rock. Yaakov had a dream that malachim (angels) were going up and down a ladder. When Yaakov woke up, Hashem spoke to him, and he knew the land where he was was holy. We also discussed how, when Yaakov came to the well, he saw shepherds and sheep. He saw Rachel and liked her. Hashem gave Yaakov the strength to move the large rock that was on top of the well. Rachel went home to tell her father. After seven years of working for him, Yaakov got tricked by Rachel's father Lavan into marrying Rachel's older sister, Leah. He had to work for seven extra years to marry Rachel.

Over the course of the week, the students acted out the parsha, including going up and down a real ladder! During provocations, the students used the wells they had decorated earlier in the week. They pulled up buckets filled with "water."
Parsha Questions:
  1. What miracle did Hashem do for Yaakov when he got small rocks to use as a pillow? (Hashem turned the small rocks into one large rock.)
  2. What was Yaakov's dream? (Malachim going up and down a ladder.)
  3. What bracha did Hashem give Yaakov? (That Yaakov's descendants would be as many as grains of sand.)
  4. How many years in all did Yaakov have to work to marry Rachel? (14 years)
Shabbat Shalom,
Morot Leisa, Shayna, Tanya, and Marggie
Leo and Ayelet working hard to make oil out of olives
Leah and Avital squishing olives to make olive oil for Chanukah

Dov, Jonah, Leo, and Ella baking with our fun pink playdough during exploration time!

Ezra A., Hillel, Josh, Ari, Sheva, Sam, and Leah making ladders for the parsha during snacktime!

Ella, Avital, Liat, Ezra H., Simcha, Liam, and Yuval working hard on making edible ladders!

Gavriella, Ezra A., and Ella using shapers during exploration time to see what they can make!

Sheva, Ayelet, Liat, and Amelie working on their own projects during exploration time!

Dov, Yuval, and Jonah enjoying our new helmets that help us learn about the Chanukah story!

Amelie, Ari, Josh, and Ayelet checking out our new king costumes!

Charlie, Ezra H., Leah, Gavriella, Ayelet, and Yosef working together at the projector to explore dark and light!
4-Year-Old Class Newsletter

Dear Parents,
Only two weeks left until Chanukah, and we are really getting into the Chanukah spirit! We started learning about the story of how Antiochus, the king of the Yevanim (Greeks), wanted the Jews to give up believing in Hashem and doing mitzvot like keeping Shabbat and learning Torah. The Jews were sneaky, though, and studied Torah in secret. If the Yevanim came, they would pretend that they were playing dreidel. We acted out the first part of the story. We heard about Chana and her sons who told the king, "No, no, never, never, uh-uh-uh, we won't bow down to you, only to Hashem!"

We learned that the first miracle of Chanukah was that a small group of Maccabees fought the big army of Yevanim and won! When they got back to the Beit Hamikdash, they took out the Avodah Zara and cleaned up all the things that were broken. When they went to light the Menorah, they only had enough oil to burn for one day, but Hashem made a second miracle, and the oil lasted for eight days!
We also started a very exciting project with the Kindergarten class. The Superheroes and the Kindergarteners are going to decorate the front of the school for Chanukah! We worked in small groups, first to decide on creating symbols of Chanukah, and then to make projects such as chanukiyot, the Beit Hamikdash, Maccabee costumes, and dreidels to name a few.
For this week's parsha we read the verse וַיֵּצֵ֥א יַֽעֲקֹ֖ב מִבְּאֵ֣ר שָׁ֑בַע וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ חָרָֽנָה - "Yaakov went out from Beer Sheva and went to Charan." We saw that the name of this week's parsha, Vayeitzei, is actually the first word of the parsha! While Yaakov was running away from his angry brother Eisav, he got tired and went to sleep. His pillow was not all that comfortable either, as he made it out of many stones, which turned into one big one during the night. That night Yaakov dreamed that he saw a ladder going from the ground up to the sky.

We tried to build a ladder in class that was really tall. We made it taller than Morah Mimi, but it didn't go higher than the ceiling in our room. Some of the students made ladders out of loose parts during provocation time. We also brought in a real ladder, and some students tried climbing as high as they could go.
The second part of the parsha was Yaakov meeting Rachel at the well, and then working for seven years to marry her. After seven years, Rachel's father Lavan tricked Yaakov into marrying her older sister Leah instead. We had fun acting out the weddings!
Here are some questions (and answers) about what we learned in the parsha:
  1. To where did Yaakov run away? (Yaakov ran away to the land of Charan.)
  2. What was Yaakov's dream? (Yaakov dreamt about malachim [angels] climbing up and down on a ladder that went up to the shamayim [sky].)
  3. What did Yaakov need to do in order to marry Rachel? (Work for Lavan as a shepherd for 7 years.)
  4. What did Lavan actually do after these 7 years? (Tricked Yaakov and gave him Leah, his oldest daughter, to marry instead.)
  5. Did Yaakov marry Rachel eventually? (Yes, he worked for seven more years, and then married Rachel.)
We had a birthday party this week for Yonathan Drory! Thank you Yonathan for the Hershey kisses, games, and hats you gave us for your birthday. Also a big thank you to Shalhevet, our Shabbat Ima, for the yummy challah and treat for our Shabbat party!
Shabbat Shalom,
Morot Irit, Mimi, and Chava
We made a לבן (white) collage using tissue paper, paint, feathers, pipe cleaners, tape, and glitter.
We made a painting of אפור (gray) by mixing white and black paint.

We mixed colors using liquid watercolors and droppers. 
For Parashat Vayeitzei, we built Yaakov's ladder using connecting straws. 

In Cooking, we made edible ladders using pretzels, cream cheese, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes. 

And we made ladder pictures using Popsicle sticks, branches, tape, and ribbons. 
We also brought a ladder to our class!

We used the Mystery Box to introduce Chanukah's main symbols, like the chanukiyah and the menorah, and discuss the difference between them. 

We played with chanukiyot and candles. 


We played with different kinds of dreidels. 
We acted out the Chanukah story with Naftali as Antiochus, and some of his friends as the Yevanim - soldiers. 

Avigayil and Shira as the Jews who learned Torah secretly.

Dalia, Naava, and Shalhevet as the lookouts who warned the Jews when the soldiers were coming. 

The Jews quickly hide the Torah and play with dreidels when the Greek soldiers come!

Jacob plays Yaakov, Adir plays Lavan, and Esther (wearing a yellow veil) plays Leah. Yaakov crushes the cup, cementing his marriage to the lady in the yellow veil... 

...who turns out to be Leah! 

Yaakov's second marriage... 

To Rachel (played by Aviya), at last! 

One big happy family! 

LaShanta came to play outside with us one day!

It was a delightful time!
Invitational Basketball Tournament 
The excitement is building for the annual Maimonides Invitational Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton, which is scheduled for next Thursday through 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.

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.

Handbook 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

We're 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.

See what's happening in 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:

Check us out on Facebook

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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.

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