January 6, 2017                    Parashat Vayigash                    8 Tevet, 5777 
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Sixth-Grade Kumzitz
Eighth-Grade Step-Up Week
Alumni Newsletter
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 everyone had a great winter break! It was a pleasure to see your children back in school, rested, rejuvenated, and ready to learn. We have a lot of great activities scheduled in the coming weeks and look forward to sharing them with you.

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

The meeting of Yosef and Yehuda in this week's parsha, as powerful as it is in the Yosef story, has much grander and more profound implications for Am Yisrael over the course of its history. The breaking apart and eventual reconciliation of Yosef and Yehuda is a paradigm of a complex relationship which would play itself out in the history of their descendants.
The divide between Yosef and his brothers, led by Yehuda, is emblematic of the tension between these two leaders, whose descendants would eventually divide into two competing kingdoms - one called Yosef, or Ephraim, and the other called Yehuda. We are informed of this break through the prophecy of the navi Achiya Hashiloni, who interestingly, and appropriately, uses the tearing of a new garment, much like Yosef's kutonet, to illustrate the impending split. Eventually the tribes under the flag of Yosef are cast away and lost among foreign nations, and the yearning of the Jewish people, like the sentiments expressed by Bnei Yaakov over their lost Yosef, becomes one of vekareiv pizureinu mibein hagoyim -  reunion with our lost brothers.
In this lies the relevance of the haftorah connected to this week's parsha. Hashem tells the navi Yechezkel to take two sticks and carve "Yosef" on one and "Yehuda" on the other. Hashem miraculously joins the two sticks into one, and the prophet prophesies about the reunion of the Kingdom of Yehuda and the lost 10 tribes of the Kingdom of Ephraim. The prophecy ends with a beautiful vision of the reunited nation settling in the land that was given to Yaakov.
Vayigash eilav Yehuda is our story of hope and geulah. The reunion of the shvatim, the return of the lost brother, is our redemption story. Perhaps the tale of Yosef and his brothers is one that in many ways charts the course of Jewish destiny, and their reunion signifies our ultimate redemption and salvation.

Thoughts of the Rav

by Rabbi David Saltzman

At the beginning of their encounter in this week's parasha, Yehuda approaches Yosef and engages him in debate. On the surface, this is a recapitulation of the events leading up to the conversation taking place. On a deeper level, the Rav explains, it is a battle over which character trait would represent the leadership of the Jewish people throughout history. The question being decided at the encounter is: Who will be the king?
In this debate, Yehuda represents g'vurah and Yosef is chesed. Hashem chooses Yehuda and the trait of g'vurah because the leader of the people must have the ability to acquire and defend, to possess and protect, for the sake of the people. Leading a sacrificial life is good for an individual, but a king cannot be sacrificial at the expense of his nation. A leader must be demanding, ready to defend, insistent and strong. That is g'vurah.
Sixth-Grade Kumzitz
In the absence of our revered leader, Rabbi Huff, who was visiting alumni in Israel this week, the sixth grade enjoyed a special visit today from Mr. Cohen and his guitar. They led a pre-Shabbat kumsitz to get everyone into the weekend mood. We wish everyone a peaceful and restful Shabbat!

Eighth-Grade Step-Up Week

Next week the eighth grade will be visited by several of our Upper School teachers, getting a taste of what they'll be learning next year! The students will be attending guest lectures on Science, Talmud, English, Math, and History. We know they will truly enjoy this experience, and hope they will share their thoughts with you!


Alumni Newsletter Online

The monthly alumni newsletter for December is now online, and can be found here.  This issue's articles include:
  • Five 2014 Maimonides Graduates on Active Duty with the IDF
  • Alumna's Research Aims to Help U.K. Avoid Fracking Liabilities
  • Three Siblings Recall Student Years at Maimonides Educational Institute
  • One Graduate Reaches Pinnacle as an Airline Pilot, While Another Gets a Head Start on His Ascent
  • Gelman Family a Major Tournament Sponsor, Honoring Leland '82, z"l
If you would like to receive the alumni newsletter each month, contact Mike Rosenberg at (617) 232-4452 x 405 or mrosenberg@maimonides.org.

Printable and Electronic Calendars Online

The printable school calendar for this year is at
The electronic calendar for 2016-17 is also online!  You can visit http://maimonidescalendar.org/calendar 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 http://maimonidescalendar.org/calendar-instructions 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: svedol@maimonides.org

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