December 16, 2016 - 16 Kislev 5777 - Vayishlach
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Arvut B'Kehilla
Understanding Our Differences
Day of Learning
Decorating for Chanukah
Family Learning
In the Art Studio
Basketball Tournament
Collecting Donations
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. 18
Family Learning

Tues, Dec. 20
3:00 p.m. Dismissal

Fri, Dec. 23 - 
Mon, Jan. 2
No School, Winter Break

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
This week's parasha begins with the dramatic reunion of Yaakov and Eisav after more than 20 years of separation. The last time these two were in the same country, there was bad blood between them. At that time, Yaakov had just "tricked" Yitzchak to receive the eldest son's blessings, and Eisav was out for revenge. Twenty years later, fear, anger, trepidation, and annoyance described some of the brothers' feelings as they prepared to meet. Eisav was approaching with 400 vagabond warriors, and Yaakov was prepared for war. At last, the moment arrives, and the two brothers see each other and meet.
The pasuk records this historic moment:
וַיָּרָץ עֵשָׂו לִקְרָאתוֹ וַיְחַבְּקֵהוּ וַיִּפֹּל עַל צַוָּארָיו וַֹיִֹשָֹׁקֵֹהֹוֹּ וַיִּבְכּוּ:
And Eisav ran toward him and embraced him, and he fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.
No battle. No war. No fighting. These are replaced by hugs, kisses, and a good cry. Certainly not what we expected! How did this change happen?
First Rashi wonders about the dots above the word וַֹיִֹשָֹׁקֵֹהֹוֹּ, and he writes in one interpretation:
אמר ר' שמעון בן יוחאי הלכה היא בידוע שעשו שונא ליעקב, אלא שנכמרו רחמיו באותה שעה ונשקו בכל לבו:
Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai said: It is a well-known tradition that Eisav hated Yaakov, but his compassion was moved at that time, and he kissed him wholeheartedly.
Rashi notes that this compassion was brought on by Yaakov's approach to his brother. Along the way, Yaakov bows seven times to Eisav. Rashi writes that
נתגלגלו רחמיו כשראהו משתחוה כל השתחוואות הללו:
His compassion was moved when he saw him prostrate himself all those times.
Through arvut, Yaakov understood the reason for his brother's anger. In order to diffuse it and bring them closer to each other, Yaakov took the first steps and demonstrated his subjection and the honor due to the older brother by bowing to him. When Eisav witnessed this act, he had compassion and wanted to reconnect after all those years.
A number of students suggested that when Eisav saw Yaakov's family, and realized that these people were his family too and these children were his nephews and nieces, Eisav was overcome with emotion. Eisav, who was looking to fight, realized that he was deeply connected to the troop of people approaching and was overcome with feelings of compassion. This leads to the next action in the pasuk, shared by both Yaakov and Eisav. They both cry.
The crying occurred because both Yaakov and Eisav felt a deep sense of arvut and connection to each other. They each understood the pain and plight of their brother. Eisav felt the pain that Yaakov went through being away from home for 20+ years, and Yaakov felt the pain of his brother not receiving the beracha that he wanted. This deep connection of understanding each other's pain caused them both to cry.
We learn from this encounter that in a situation where we have major differences with another person, even if we don't agree with what the other person does, arvut teaches us that we are all connected and we need to come together and understand the plight and feelings of the other person. This will lead to us having empathy and ultimately fostering positive relationships.
Thoughts of the Rav on the Parsha
by Rabbi David Saltzman 
The Rav addresses the question of someone who goes to learn and then asks themselves, "How much do I remember a year later? Usually not much. If so, why should I go to the shiur in the first place?"
The Rav answers that even if someone does not remember the shiur, something remains in their head and they are a different person afterwards. The fact that we are learning, sitting in a shiur, hearing a d'var Torah, this in itself uplifts a person and they become a different Jew. In the heart, this experience remains.
Regarding the education of children, the Rav asserts that we must have patience. He compares learning to planting seeds, which for six months looks like a waste of money and time. With patience, though, the seeds sprout and grow. The same is true of education. Each moment of learning affects the heart and soul of a child. We need to continue our mission of providing our children with an excellent Jewish education, and be patient as we wait for the ultimate results.
Arvut B'Kehilla - In Our Community: Spread the Light
Phase two of our year-long, schoolwide arvut theme is being spearheaded by our 3rd-5th graders and focuses on arvut b'kehilla, taking responsibility for those in our local community.  This phase, which began with Yom Chesed a few weeks ago, is being referred to as our "Spread the Light" arvut campaign.

The notion of first taking care of those in need in one's own city or community, before caring for those farther away, is a well-known precept in Jewish teaching. In addition, this notion is exemplified by the story of our upcoming Festival of Lights, Chanukah. When the Chashmonaim revolted, they risked their lives to protect their fellow community members from the evil decrees of the Greek oppressors!

Our 3rd-5th graders have been studying about arvut b'kehilla and have created posters that teach about this theme and, more specifically, its relationship to Chanukah.  Today, they brought their posters to the Early Childhood Center and to grades K-2, as well as to Middle and Upper School classrooms.  They taught their younger and older schoolmates about arvut b'kehilla and then hung their posters on the walls of the Brener and Saval buildings. 

Here for your enjoyment is a very entertaining Professor Fluff video about arvut b'kehilla, featuring several Elementary School students, which was viewed by everyone in the school today.

Understanding Our Differences
by an anonymous student

Everyone is different, and that is the point of Understanding Our Differences.
All of us are slightly different, and some of us are a lot more different. Some people love to go outside and run around, and some people are in wheelchairs. Most of us, when we meet someone who is in a wheelchair, we are too awkward to ask why they are in a wheelchair. But earlier this week, we met Matan.

Matan has cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a physical disability where the brain does not send the full message to muscles to move, so they can only move a certain amount, and then they won't move really any more.

Students had the opportunity to ask Matan questions for nearly an hour.  Matan teaches Tanach and halacha, despite his disability. For haircuts he does not need to go anywhere special, and same with pretty much everything else. Because of the new architectural designs, Matan can go almost anywhere he wants. And that is amazing.

Day of Learning Today
Thank you to David and Simone Sherman for sponsoring a Day of Learning on Friday
December 16 (16 Kislev) in honor of the 11th birthday of their grandson, Binyamin Shlomo Orkaby, and in memory of his great-grandfather after whom he is named, Binyamin Shlomo ben Shmuel Aharon (Ben Ingber), and of his great-grandmother, Esther Malka bas Avraham (Esther Ingber).

To learn more about sponsoring a Day of Learning, please click here.
Decorating for Chanukah
Our students have been preparing for Chanukahby decorating the school in celebration of the upcoming holiday, with the help of the shlichot.

Family Learning This Sunday
Please join us on Sunday, December 18 for Family Learning from 10:15 - 11:30 a.m. We will be learning about Chanukah and making cookie gift baskets to donate to ROFEH for distribution to hospital patients.  
We look forward to seeing you!

In the Art Studio
On Wednesday, first graders began their second art unit by opening the Collage center. They reviewed that collage is a type of two-dimensional art made up of multiple parts. Then they experimented with cutting, gluing, crimping paper, using clear contact paper, and assembling mosaic tiles. All of these materials and techniques will be available to them going forward, in addition to supplies in the other centers that have opened thus far (Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture).

Invitational Basketball Tournament this weekend
The annual Maimonides Invitational Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton has finally arrived! The tournament began with games last night and today, and will continue through Sunday.

Participating boys' and girls' teams are from Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy in Kansas, Melvin Berman Hebrew Academy in Maryland, and Rambam Mesivta and Yeshiva of Flatbush in New York.

Remaining games in the tournament will take place Motza'ei Shabbat in Fox Gymnasium vs. Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, girls 7:15 p.m., boys 8:45 p.m.  
The consolation games and finals will be played Sunday morning, with an afternoon awards ceremony in Fox Gymnasium at 1:30 p.m. wrapping up this year's tournament.

The complete schedule, as well as other details including live streaming and tournament gear, can be found at

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! 
Lost and Found
The latest Lost and Found items can be viewed in front of the Brener office. 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