December 22, 2016 - 22 Kislev 5777 - Vayeishev
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Celebrating Chanukah
December Newsletters
Mitzvah Chart
Scout Activities
Principals' Coffees
Winter Concert
Faculty Workshop
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
Fri, Dec. 23 - 
Mon, Jan. 2
No School, Winter Break
Tues, Jan. 3
Classes resume 

Wed, Jan. 4
Kindergarten Principals' Coffee
Wed, Jan. 11
Grade 1 Principals' Coffee
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 a great week at school learning and celebrating Chanukah!
Please read on for the latest Elementary School news and information about upcoming events. There will not be a newsletter next week. Have a great Winter Break!

D'var Torah
by Rabbi David Saltzman
Yosef experiences a number of major transitions in the parasha this week. He starts as a favorite son and ends up in a pit in the desert. He is sent from his homeland to reside in Egypt. He moves from head slave to languishing in an Egyptian jail. Any one of these life-altering changes would have done most people in, but Yosef persists through all these challenges.
Yosef also realizes that he must alter a personality trait which, once he has made the change, eventually propels him to fame and success. At the opening of the parasha, it says of Yosef:
וַיָּבֵא יוֹסֵף אֶת דִּבָּתָם רָעָה אֶל אֲבִיהֶם:
and Yosef brought evil tales about them to their father.
And Rashi explains that what Yosef actually said was
רכילות. כל מה שהיה יכול לדבר בהם רעה היה מספר:
gossip, slander. Whatever evil he could tell about them he told.
Add to this Yosef's relaying his dreams of future greatness to his brothers, and it only encouraged them to וַיּוֹסִפוּ עוֹד שְׂנֹא אֹתוֹ - to hate him even more. Yosef's mouth and his words caused a deep, almost irreparable, schism between him and his brothers. His words of slander or grandeur deepened the divide, and eventually he ends up in a deep pit and then sold as a slave.
Yosef probably didn't have much to do while on the caravan to Egypt, so he had time to reflect on his behavior. His story then continues in Egypt, where he holds the position of slave to the chief of the executioners. How does Yosef fare with Potifar? The Torah says that
וַיְהִי ה' אֶת יוֹסֵף וַיְהִי אִישׁ מַצְלִיחַ וַיְהִי בְּבֵית אֲדֹנָיו הַמִּצְרִי:
The Lord was with Yosef, and he was a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master.
So significant was G-d's presence with Yosef that even the Egyptians took note:
וַיַּרְא אֲדֹנָיו כִּי ה' אִתּוֹ וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר הוּא עֹשֶׂה ה' מַצְלִיחַ בְּיָדוֹ:
And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and whatever he (Yosef) did the Lord made prosper in his hand.
Rashi explains that the master noticed that Hashem was with Yosef because
שם שמים שגור בפיו:
The name of Heaven was frequently in his mouth.
Yosef's personal transformation is complete. He changed from someone who used his mouth to cause division, hatred, and jealousy to someone who consistently invoked G-d's name and used his mouth and words in an appropriate manner. When Yosef acts this way he becomes an אִישׁ מַצְלִיחַ, a successful person. He is able to work collaboratively, be sensitive and understand the needs of others, listen and respond appropriately, and judge favorably. These are important skills that allow him to interpret the dreams of both prisoners and kings, and eventually rise to leadership himself.
As we have been learning in school these past weeks, arvut and words are completely intertwined. Our relationships begin and end with how we speak to and about others. Yosef, with his change from living with his brothers to residing in Egypt, is an excellent example of this phenomenon.
Thoughts of the Rav on the Parsha
by Rabbi Dov Huff
When codifying the requirement to recite Hallel at various times throughout the year, the Rambam chose to place the relevant laws at the end of Hilchot Chanukah. This is surprising given the Rambam's meticulous nature in writing and organizing the Mishna Torah. Why are these laws not found in Hilchot Tefillah, where one would expect to find them?
The Rav answers that Hallel is usually relegated to the arena of tefillah. It is in prayer that we find ourselves best able to praise and thank Hashem for His miracles. Chanukah, says the Rav, is in its essence about praise. And it is on this holiday when we are able to say Hallel, to praise Hashem in the purest form - through action. For this reason the Rambam connected the two, because the idea of Hallel is the very nature of Chanukah itself.
Celebrating Chanukah
This week the shlichot led special pre-Chanukah activities for every grade. 
Students in 1st and 2nd grade decorated picture frames to use with the Chanukah candlelighting bracha and took them home for the holiday, as well as playing a fun Chanukah-themed Bingo game.
Students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade visited eight different stations with the theme of בעקבות הנר.  Each station had a connection to the concept of "light," "chanukia," or "candles."  The children also made themselves a box out of matchboxes to use for the Chanukah candlelighting


In addition, students in fourth grade limudei kodesh celebrated Chanukah with games and skits.

December Newsletters for Grades 2-5
Please click on the links below to read the December newsletters for grades 2-5:
Winter Vacation Learning and Mitzvah Chart
We are excited to offer our learning and mitzvah program for winter vacation. On the chart linked below is a list of mitzvot that each student can perform daily. Simply place a checkmark in the box next to the appropriate mitzvah which your child performed. 
After vacation, please submit the chart to your child's limudei kodesh teacher and include a parent signature. Students who choose to return a completed chart will receive a certificate of achievement.   

This program is completely optional and all students are welcome to participate.  Enjoy the vacation!

Scout Activities During Winter Break

Over winter break, the Maimonides Boy Scouts will be holding their annual conclave at Maimonides for boys in grades 4-12. There will also be a Cub Scout overnight trip to Battleship Cove that is open to all families. Please see the links below for details!

Annual Traditional Jewish Scout Conclave

Cub Scout Trip to Battleship Cove

Principals' Coffees
The next Principals' Coffee will be for kindergarten parents, and will take place on Wednesday, January 4, from 8:00-8:45 a.m. Principals' coffees are taking place for parents of students at each grade level on mornings from January through February. The coffees are an opportunity for parents to talk with the principals, ask questions, give input, and learn more about different aspects of Maimonides students' 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!  
Upcoming dates:
  • Wednesday, January 11, from 8:00-8:45 a.m. (1st Grade) 
  • Wednesday, January 18, from 8:00-8:45 a.m. (2nd Grade) 
  • Wednesday, January 25, from 8:00-8:45 a.m. (3rd Grade)
  • Wednesday, February 1, from 8:00-8:45 a.m. (4th Grade)
  • Wednesday, February 8, from 8:00-8:45 a.m. (5th Grade)
Winter Concert
Please join us on Wednesday, January 18 at 4:00 p.m. for the Elementary School Winter Concert.  The concert will feature chorus performers from grades two through five, and band performers from grades three through five.  The students have been working hard to be prepared for the performance, and we look forward to being able to share our progress and music with everyone! 

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Malkin at

Faculty Workshop
Tuesday's early dismissal was arranged in order for Elementary School faculty members to spend the afternoon and early evening engaged in an interactive workshop aimed at building our skills for working together in "Intentional Learning Communities" (ILCs).  Otherwise known as "Critical Friends Groups," Intentional Learning Communities are places where educators work together to learn the skills of reflecting, collaborating, de-privatizing practice, and exposing and exploring fundamental assumptions.
ILCs support adult learning in schools and are characterized by skilled facilitation and the use of protocols to guide adult learning. Groups of educators meet regularly with the goal of improving teaching and learning. The ILC structure assumes that teachers have both things to learn from each other and things to teach each other, and that learning together will improve their teaching practice, deepen their knowledge of their students, and build a shared understanding of fundamental ideas about schooling.
The workshop was facilitated by Gene Thompson Grove, a consultant, facilitator and coach for Transformational Learning for Equity and Excellence.  Gene, who lives and works in Brookline, has trained many Maimonides teachers, administrators, and teacher leaders in CFG/ILC coaching and facilitative leadership in her week-long courses through School Reform Initiative (SRI).  While she has worked with teachers in many public school districts, in recent years she has grown to know the Jewish day school community through her connection with Maimonides and recent consultation at SAR Academy in New York.
Tuesday's workshop included the following four goals for participants:
  • Consider the developmental arc of a Critical Friends Group, and explore what kinds of conversations will lead to increasingly mature work.
  • Engage in a reflective exercise in order to surface specific kinds of work to bring to the CFG.
  • Become familiar with some of the foundational protocols.
  • Practice pre-conferencing with a presenter to match protocols to the issue, craft a question, and determine what kinds of artifacts/work will help the group give effective feedback.
The learning that was gained by the faculty from this workshop will be put to use next month on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day when we will meet together in our established CFG/ILC teams.  The faculty has been divided into three teams that have been meeting together since the start of the school year during faculty meetings.  These meetings are aimed at building our capacity as educators to meet the needs of all of our students by collecting and analyzing student work and data in order to plan the best possible instruction and intervention for each of our students. This week's workshop helped us become more expert at using and facilitating meeting protocols, as well as planning what each of us will bring when it is our turn to present at a CFG/ILC meeting.
The funding for Tuesday's workshop came to us through the B'Yadenu Project, a collaboration between Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, Yeshiva University's Institute for University-School Partnership, and select Boston schools, with funding from the Jim Joseph Foundation and the Ruderman Family Foundation.  Dinner was sponsored by our PTA, with many thanks to Claudine Grossman.
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