January 13, 2017 - 15 Tevet 5777 - Vayechi
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Grade 1 Principals' Coffee
Principals' Coffees
In the Art Studio
Winter Concert
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
Mon, Jan. 16
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

No School 
Professional Development Day

Wed, Jan. 18
Grade 2 Principals' Coffee
 Sun, Jan. 22
Family Learning
Tues, Jan. 24
3:00 p.m. Dismissal
Wed, Jan. 25
Grade 3 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 another great week at school!
Please read on for the latest Elementary School news and information about upcoming events.

D'var Torah

by Rabbi David Saltzman
At the conclusion of this week's parasha, the saga of Yosef and his brothers comes to a close as Yosef dies. Earlier in the story, Yaakov, the father of 12 sons (and a daughter), dies at the age of 147 years and is buried in Israel in Maarat HaMachpela. The brothers realize that with Yaakov's passing the father figure of the family is no longer present, and the buffer between Yosef and his brothers no longer exists. They are afraid that now Yosef will be able to take his long-awaited revenge for their cruel and cold-hearted behavior when he was 17 years old, as the
pasuk relates:
טו וַיִּרְאוּ אֲחֵי יוֹסֵף כִּי מֵת אֲבִיהֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוּ יִשְׂטְמֵנוּ יוֹסֵף וְהָשֵׁב יָשִׁיב לָנוּ אֵת כָּל הָרָעָה אֲשֶׁר גָּמַלְנוּ אֹתוֹ:
Now Joseph's brothers saw that their father had died, and they said, "Perhaps Joseph will hate us and return to us all the evil that we did to him."
Yosef, however, had other thoughts:
כא וְעַתָּה אַל תִּירָאוּ אָנֹכִי אֲכַלְכֵּל אֶתְכֶם וְאֶת טַפְּכֶם וַיְנַחֵם אוֹתָם וַיְדַבֵּר עַל לִבָּם:
"So now do not fear. I will sustain you and your small children." And he comforted them and spoke to their hearts.
Consider Yosef's heroic behavior and reaction in this situation. As viceroy of Egypt, it was certainly in his power to actualize the brothers' fears and punish them for their attempted fratricide. Yet Yosef does the opposite. He takes responsibility for his brothers and their families, feeding and sustaining them during the lean years in Egypt. Furthermore, he does not hold a grudge for how they treated him, AND he assures them that things will be okay.
Rabbi Soloveitchik adds that Yosef's behavior of chesed and self-sacrifice was embedded in his DNA, passed on by his mother Rachel. Rachel acted with the same self-sacrifice on the day of her wedding, when she handed over the secret signs to her sister Leah. Rachel's selfless act is arguably the greatest moment of arvut in all of Sefer Bereshit. And here, Yosef does the same. Only Yosef, overcome with kindness and charity - only a son of Rachel, who sacrificed her love for the sake of Leah - could downgrade his own experience and offer kindness and friendship to his brothers, who were responsible for his earlier misery and agony.
As we sign off from Sefer Bereshit for this year, the once fractured brothers are reunited and their relationships restored. This family will produce a nation of people who are committed to practicing arvut by being responsible and connected to each other as they struggle with slavery in Egypt. This commitment to arvut is necessary for the people's survival under the harsh conditions they are about to experience.
Thoughts of the Rav on the Parsha
by Rabbi Dov Huff  
The Rav relayed a story he heard from a cousin of Baron Edmond Rothschild. After the Baron's death, his family, unable to bury him in Israel because of the War of Independence, buried him in France. After the war they wanted to move the body to Israel, but Charles De Gaulle objected. He said that he always thought of the Baron as a Frenchman! He went to French schools, fought for France, and supported French culture. The only difference was the minor one of religion! How could Edmond Rothschild have wanted to be buried anywhere but France!? 
The Rav said that Pharaoh had the same objection as De Gaulle to Yosef's request that Yaakov be buried in Israel. They were willing to honor the request, but were not happy about it. The Rav sees this discontent in the words of Pharaoh: "bury your father as you promised" - but only because you promised it. Both Pharaoh and De Gaulle misunderstood the nature of the commitment the deceased had to their Jewish faith, identity, and homeland.
Grade 1 Principals' Coffee
The second round of Principals' Coffees continued with first grade on Wednesday morning. Following Rabbi Saltzman's d'var Torah, parents had the opportunity to ask questions and voice comments and concerns.
The first topic brought up was the three computer-based programs that first graders use occasionally in school and are asked to use at home as well. The programs are Lexia Core5 for reinforcement of literacy skills, Dreambox for reinforcement of mathematics skills, and Ariot Cal for reinforcement of Hebrew reading.  We have found that students who spend time with these online programs demonstrate significant growth in reading, spelling, and mathematics. The requirement in first grade is 30 minutes a week of Lexia and/or Dreambox, and 30 minutes a week of Ariot Cal.
Another discussion topic was the PALS reading program, which parents would like to understand better. PALS is a version of classwide peer tutoring. It combines proven instructional principles and practices and peer mediation so that research-based reading activities are effective and enjoyable. Teachers pair students in the class so that partners work simultaneously and productively on activities that address different skills and are geared to individual student needs. Pairs are changed regularly and all students have the opportunity to be "coaches" and "players" over a period of time. The strategy also creates opportunities for the teacher to circulate in the class, observe students, and provide individual lessons. PALS is a 25- to 35-minute activity, implemented 2 to 4 times a week. For more information, please visit the PALS website: http://vkc.mc.vanderbilt.edu/pals 

As has been discussed at a few other Principals' Coffees, first grade parents expressed a desire to find ways to better connect with one another and plan informal get-togethers for families. To that end, first grade parent Elka Tovah Davidoff created a Facebook group and has already invited all first grade parents to join. 
Principals' Coffees

The next Principals' Coffee will be for second grade parents, and will take place on Wednesday, January 18, 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 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)
In the Art Studio

On Thursday, fifth graders opened the Clay Center with a Clay Around the Room activity. They reviewed basic techniques for ceramic clay and Sculpey, such as how to make a slab, how to attach ceramic clay pieces, how to make a pinch pot, and how to make a coil pot. At the end of the class, they chose one sculpture made with ceramic clay to be kiln-fired so that they can practice glazing (painting) them next week. 
This is the last center that will be introduced for this unit, so the fifth graders are now ready to choose from the available art media to create their second independent project.

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 amalkin@maimonides.org.

Help those in need with these vital donations!

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 at http://www.maimonides.org/content/2016-17-printable-school-calendar-pdf

The electronic calendar for 2016-17 is also online.  You can visit 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 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 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 



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!שבת שלום
Rabbi, Reena, and the Maimonides ES Faculty  

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