December 16, 2016                    Parashat Vayishlach                     16 Kislev, 5777 
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Day of Learning
Theme of the Year
Basketball Tournament
ROFEH Toy Drive
2016-17 Calendars
Handbook Online
Vehicle Policies
Maimo on Instagram
Directory Online
Online Photo Galleries

Quick Links
Find Maimonides On:

Dear Middle School Families,   

We hope you've all stayed warm on this very chilly Friday morning. The students enjoyed yesterday's pep rally for our Inviational Basketball Tournament, and today had the opportunity to watch one of the tournament games! They also had a visit to learn more about arvut from the third- to fifth-grade students, who visited us this week.

Please read on for a d'var Torah from Rabbi Dov Huff, a thought from the works of Rav Soloveitchik, and some highlights from the week.
Shabbat Shalom! 

Brian Cohen
Associate Principal, Middle School         
D'var Torah

by Rabbi Dov Huff

"They will no longer say your name is Yaakov, but Yisrael, for you have contended with G-d and with men and proven able." - Bereishit 32:29

"If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." - Michael Jordan
In this week's parsha, Yaakov Avinu prepares to meet his brother Eisav. Afraid of what his brother might do in retaliation for the loss of the bechora, Yaakov Avinu sends gifts, prepares his family, and davens. The night before the meeting, Yaakov Avinu wakes up and crosses a river. 
The Rashbam explains that what in fact happened was that Yaakov Avinu got scared and tried to flee with his family. Despite all his hard work and preparation, he did not think he could overcome this challenge. So Hashem sent an angel to stop him, because Hashem would not let Yaakov Avinu give up. He must face his fear, he must rise to the challenge, he must execute his game plan.
According to the Rashbam, this episode is a story about resilience and grit. About believing in yourself and trusting in your preparation. Our athletes all know what it means to leave it all on the court. To try their best and keep pushing until the buzzer. To trust in the hard work and determination they have put in to their practices. And with the right strategy, effective effort, and a little tefillah, b'ezrat Hashem we will all find our own hard-earned success both on and off the court.
Good luck to our boys and girls in the Maimonides Invitational Basketball Tournament. Go Maimo!
Thoughts of the Rav

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.

The first round of chugim ended this week, with Mrs. Samuels' running chug taking its traditional (very cold) run to JP Licks and the book club finishing its last few pages.

The next round of chugim is being scheduled now, and we have some amazing new options, including Dancing for Girls and Junior Red Cross! Our students have been brainstorming new chug ideas, and we are delighted by their initiative in setting their plans in motion!

Please enjoy these messages from the teachers of some of our recent chugim.


by Jack Fidler

Our enthusiastic drama chug students have been rehearsing a one-act play based on The BFG, and it's coming along beautifully. The group has decided to stay together into the next round of chugim, so we can perfect it and perform it as a curtain-raiser for the main Middle School drama production, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Early Childhood Center Teachers in Training  

by Benji Hain

Our Middle School students thoroughly enjoyed the ECC Teacher-in-Training chug. Every week they went to the Early Childhood Center to bond with the 2-, 3-, and 4-year-old classes. They read with them, played with them, and assisted the teachers in a beautiful way. The Early Childhood Center teachers appreciated the assistance and loved seeing our Middle Schoolers in action!

Eighth-Grade Cooking Chug  

by Moriah Moshe and Chemdat Malka

The students were excited to "get cooking" every week! we prepared a wide variety of foods, from honey cake and challah to shakshuka and felafel. The students will soon be receiving a recipe book including instructions for all the foods we made this term. We're looking forward to having a new group of students next round! 

Outdoor Sports

by Rabbi Eliezer Bercuson

Even as the temperatures descended to near freezing, our Middle School outdoor sports kids could not be fazed!  Here in blustery New England, the draw of football is just too strong.  Working together in harmony, our 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-graders made the gridiron work for them - and it has never been more geshmak!


by Rabbi Yaakov Beker

Although we had eight students and just one ping-pong table, we maximized the playing time of the students through various ping-pong activities that can be played with many players at the same time, such as king/queen of the table and around-the-world, both competitive and non-competitive versions.  We also had a bracket tournament.  During the occasional times that some students weren't playing ping-pong, our knock-hockey board received a lot of usage.  It was gratifying to see, by the end of the chug session, how each participant became a more skilled player.

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.
New Chapter in Our Theme of the Year

Today our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders took on the mantle of ambassadorship for our theme of the year, arvut
They visited every classroom in the school, including the Middle School, to teach all our students about our responsibilities to those in need in our local communities (arvut b'kehilla). This is a topic that our new ambassadors have been learning about in depth, and for which they will organize a special schoolwide project in the months to come.
They also had some exciting adventures with our very, very part-time substitute teacher, Professor Fluff! Click here to watch the video.

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
ROFEH Toy Drive


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 is available 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.

Follow Maimo on Instagram


   We're expanding our social media network! 

   Please follow us on Instagram at

. 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.

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 distributed, 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).
Absences and Tardy Notifications

We wish that none of our students ever felt ill -- we'd love to have 100% attendance every day -- but we know that germs don't always listen to our desires!

However, we do need to know where our students are.

If your child needs to miss a day of school,

or will be tardy or leave early, please be certain to inform Sharona Vedol in the Middle School office

by email:

Please note:

We will not be using the absence hotline this year!

All absence notifications must come in via email. 

We ask that you e-mail the office for safety reasons -- it allows for far more efficient accounting of student absences.

On behalf of the entire Middle School:

Shabbat Shalom!


Brian Cohen



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