ECC Weekly Newsletter 
January 27, 2017 - 29 Tevet 5777
Parashat Va'eira

ECC Highlights
Robin's Message
Dvar Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Looking for Parent Volunteers
2-Year-Old Class Newsletter
3-Year-Old Class Newsletter
4-Year-Old Class Newsletter
Activity Spotlight: Science Thursday!
ES, MS, and US Newsletters

Please check the Lost and Found table and coat rack outside the Elementary School office if you are looking for a missing item.
For the boys: Every day during davening we say the bracha for tzitzit, please make sure your son wears or keeps in his backpack a pair of tzitzit and a kippah.

If you have any recyclable materials, please send them in for our classes to use. Examples are:
-Paper towel/toilet paper rolls
-Paint color samples
-Scraps of contact paper, wallpaper, or cloth
-Small pieces of tile
-Any other crafty loose parts!
Please send in dress-up clothes, especially authentic doctor clothes and supplies. Thank you!
Whether you are a parent, alumni or faculty member, your Maimo Moments are welcomed and appreciated.
How To Subscribe to the Calendar
For step-by-step instructions for subscribing to the Maimonides Early Childhood Center calendar on your mobile device or computer, CLICK HERE.
Find Maimonides On:
Facebook Twitter 
From Robin Meyerowitz
Dear Parents,

This week was a week of firsts for our ECC!

We had our first Parent Advisory Committee adult education program. Many thanks to Sol Adelsky, Sheryl Adler, and the PAC team for organizing this event and coming up with the idea. Speaker Dr. Anne K. Fishel was a knowledgeable and interesting teacher who gave the parents a lot of valuable insight into the importance of family dinnertime. We are so lucky that we have built-in time in our schedules for our Shabbat meals to enjoy our families in a special and unique way. Dr. Fishel's website has great ideas for verbal games and discussions at the dinner table: . If you know of 
any other speakers or have particular ideas for speakers, please feel free to let me, Sol, or Sheryl know. Thank you to the parents who turned out on such a cold and rainy night for this wonderful event. 

We also had our first Yoga Buds session on Wednesday morning. Hadassah Zar, our very own yoga teacher, did a great job combining davening, yoga moves, and some plain wake-up fun with the moms, caregivers, and bubbies of the children. Please join us for our second Yoga Buds session on Wednesday, February 8, from 8:45am - 9:45 a.m.
Our next Wacky Wednesday is this Wednesday, February 1. We are going to have rocket ships take us to outer space! If you have any materials that could help us with this, please feel free to label it with your child's name and send it in.

Thank you!

Shabbat Shalom,


Dvar Torah - What Is Arov?
by Rabbi David Saltzman
In Parashat Va'era we are introduced to the first seven
makkot that struck and debilitated the Egyptians. Looking closely at the names of the makkot, most of them are descriptions of the actual object that caused the plague: Blood, frogs, lice, disease, boils, hail, locusts, and darkness. The description of the fourth plague seems to be different. The fourth plague is called ערוב which in its pure form is from the root ערב. This, according to the commentators, has various meanings.  
Rashbam, for instance, explains that ערוב is a form of the word evening (ערב). He says that the plague was caused by wolves, who generally look for prey at night. Therefore, the plague was that the Mitzrim were attacked by wolves. According to Rashbam, following the way that all the other makkot were described, this makkah should have been called זאבים - wolves. Instead, it's called the enigmatic ערוב, which opens it up to other interpretations.
Many other commentators, including Rashi, explain the word as "a mixture" of something. As Rashi explains:
את הערב: כל מיני חיות רעות ונחשים ועקרבים בעירבוביא והיו משחיתים בהם.
a mixture of noxious creatures: [which includes] all species of wild beasts, snakes, and scorpions in a mixture, and they were destroying among them [i.e., among the Egyptians].
According to Rashi, an assortment of animals and creatures joined forces in order to plague the Egyptians and cause destruction. Additionally, other commentators explain that a number of miracles occurred during this plague. The pasuk states that the animals did not harm the Jewish people, and a noticeable separation between Jew and Mitzri occurred during the plague of arov. Another miraculous aspect was that animals not commonly found in Egypt were present during this plague. One aspect of the plague not usually considered is that the wild animals, which are usually territorial and/or attack other animals when threatened, did not act according to their nature during the plague. Instead, they put aside their differences and their natural tendency to attack other creatures and focused their energies solely on troubling the human Egyptians.
It is interesting to note that the root letters of .ע.ר.ב also make up the word ערבות. As explained above, the creatures plaguing the Egyptians during the makkah of ערוב also behaved with a sense of arvut. The myriad beasts that descended into Egypt, each with their own natural deleterious tendencies, managed to put their differences aside and work together towards a common goal and purpose. This is an example of acting with arvut, and hence the makkah is appropriately called ערוב.
We should learn the lesson of arvut from the animals of arov. In order to fulfill our historical destiny, we need to put our differences aside and act as a nation intertwined, dedicated to our Jewish mission.
Thoughts of the Rav - The Right Choice  
by Rabbi Dov Huff
In the next two parshiyot we read about the hardening (vayachbed) and strengthening (vayechezak) of Pharoah's heart. The Rav explains that these verbs are describing degrees of sensitivity. When the Torah says "kaved lev Pharoah" it means that Pharoah had no conscience or sense of morality. The Rav supports this with a pasuk from Yechezkel - "and I will remove the heart of stone from you and I will give you a heart of flesh" - a hardened heart is an inhuman one. 
On the other hand, when the Torah says "vaYechezak lev Pharoah" it means that Pharoah's heart was strong. It had the capacity for sensitivity. In these moments he was fully aware of what he was doing, but was resisting "the onslaught of the moral challenge." The slavery was a calculated economic decision, at the cost of doing the right thing, and Pharoah knew it. 
For this reason, the Rav says, we see Pharoah oscillating between sentiments like "you (the Jews) are being lazy" - an entirely ethically vacant heart - and "Hashem is righteous and I and my nation are the wicked ones" - a morally aware heart which he is choosing to resist. And it is in this resistance that Pharoah has his bechira, his free will, but he fails to make the right and ethical choice.
Looking for Parent Volunteers 
The PTA is looking for new parent volunteers to help us with some wonderful programs.  Volunteering and being a part of PTA programs is an easy way to get involved with the school.  It also helps to impress upon your children the importance of community engagement.  Please help us ensure that these programs continue by signing up today!

The Elementary School Book Fair
The school book fair is once again being held on the same day as the Elementary School science fair,  Tuesday, March 28!  We are looking for some volunteers to manage the setup and sale of the books that day.  Sophia Zilber, who has run the book fair in the past, will coordinate just about everything leading up to that day.  Please sign up as soon as possible so we can confirm with our vendor that we will have a book fair again this year!

Teacher Appreciation Week/Purim
We are looking for two coordinators and a few additional volunteers to run this wonderful week to show the teachers how much we appreciate them.

The responsibilities are:
  • Organize a breakfast for the teachers in the ECC/Elementary and Middle/Upper Schools.
  • Organize a lunch for the teachers in the ECC/Elementary and Middle/Upper Schools.  
  • Assemble Misloach Manot packages for the faculty and staff.  (All the items will be preordered and delivered to the school.)
  • For the ECC/Elementary faculty lunch, recruit a handful of volunteers to help supervise the students during lunch.
  • For the Middle/Upper School faculty lunch, recruit a few volunteers to help set up the lunch.

Spring Sunday Soccer
We are looking for two people who are interested in running Sunday Soccer.  This is a very popular activity for kids in the springtime.

The responsibilities are:
  • Recruit volunteer coaches.
  • Send out reminders and registration information for the parents through the school.
  • A lot of the work is done through email.

We really need your help and would love to have your involvement. Guidance and support will be available and offered for all volunteers who run a project. Your children and the school will appreciate it!

Thank you in advance for your support!

To volunteer or for more information, please contact Claudine Grossman at
2-Year-Old Class Newsletter
Dear Parents,

We have really been enjoying our animal costumes this week, dressing up as lions, dragons, penguins, zebras, elephants, and more. Picnics and tea parties on the rug have been very popular activities. One day, Morah Leisa from the three-year-old room came in to join us.

The students are learning how to pour for each other, and that water is healthy!

We made our own beautiful shaker instruments with little pebbles, beautiful beads, colorful tape, markers, and stickers. They are quite loud, so we think we'll keep them at school for a while. Our drums continue to make us very happy and excited. What's more exciting than creating our own music?

On Tuesday morning, Morah Tzipi made apple pie with the students. They loved being able to cut up their own apples. They added and mixed the ingredients together for the dough, and then patiently waited for the delicious scent of baking apples to let us know that it was time to remove the pie from the oven and taste our delicious creation. Next week, we want to try blueberries!

On Wednesday the students enjoyed looking at their portfolios. They were excited to see themselves in the photos, as well as remembering some of the artwork they had made.
Morah Tzipi told us the story of this week's parsha. She told us how Hashem told Moshe to go to Pharaoh and ask him to let the Jewish people be free from working so hard all day. But Pharaoh said, "No, no, no, I will not let them go!" So Hashem punished him with plagues. We talked about the first seven plagues this week. Next week we will finish this part of the story. 
The students even made their own barad (hail) to learn about the parasha in a hands-on way.

Shabbat Shalom,

Morah Tzipi and Morah Laura 


Princess Noam and Baruch the Penguin are very curious about each other
Morah Leisa came into our classroom one morning to join us for one of our many tea parties.
Elhanan is making his very own shaker instrument!
Noam using some fun money in our new cash register
Our beautiful drum circle!
Morah Tzipi helps Daniel peel the stickers for his shaker instrument 
We made apple pie and it was delicious!
Hayim is very curious about the toy people Bella placed on this curvy piece of wood!

Naomi enjoys looking at her portfolio!

Julia loves pretending to be a penguin!
We love dressing up! Ellie the dragon, Bella the zebra, and Noa the lion!
Mrs. Gerber enjoys talking to the animals lurking in the hallways!

When Morah Tzipi tells us the parasha story, everyone is captivated!

The water turns to "blood!"

Avishai and Ellie enjoy playing with the magnets!
3-Year-Old Class Newsletter 
Dear Parents,

We have had a great week. Each morning, we divide the class in half. One group learns about the parsha or Hebrew, while the other group davens. We keep a consistent format when we daven with the students. These are the songs and tefillot the students say every day:
  • Good Morning song
  • Modeh Ani
  • Ma Tovu
  • Bracha on tzitzit/She'asani Kirtzono
  • Torah Torah
  • Shema

We will be adding Adon Olam and Oseh Shalom after February vacation.

We start circle time (
ma'agal)  by counting up to twenty, then down from twenty in English, and then to ten in Hebrew. We have begun to count backwards in Hebrew, and will soon count all the way to twenty in Hebrew. We also go over the job chart and do the calendar during ma'agal.
We want to make sure the students feel safe and know what to do when we have whole-school fire drills and lockdowns. This week, we have begun practicing lockdowns as a class. We shut off the light, lined the students up, and quietly walked into the middle bathroom. We also practiced what we would do if there were a lockdown while we were on the playground. The students lined up, held onto our rope, and walked onto Clark Road. They did a great job during both drills, and we will continue to practice throughout the year.  

For Parshat Va'eira, we talked about how Hashem asked Moshe and Aaron to go to Pharaoh to get him to let the Jewish people go. Pharaoh said, "No, no, no. I will not let you go." So Hashem sent plagues to try and convince Pharaoh to let them go. The plagues only happened to the Egyptians, not the Jews. After each plague, Pharaoh said he would let the Jewish people go, but then changed his mind. The students learned about the first seven plagues and the Hebrew name for each of them: 1) dam (blood) 2) tzfardeah (frogs) 3) kinim (lice) 4) arov (wild beasts) 5) dever (sick animals) 6) sh'chin (boils) 7) barad (hail).

The students dressed up as Pharaoh, Moshe, and Aaron to act out the parsha. They hopped like frogs, pretended to be animals, scratched their heads as if they had lice, and threw balls for hail. They also were asked how they could turn water into blood. Some of their responses were "A few magic words while waving hands over the cup" and "Take strawberries and burn them with fire." They then added red food coloring to their cup of water and tasted the "blood." We also sang "King Pharaoh" and "The Frog Song."

The students did a great job making a parsha picture. They created a collage using many different materials to represent the plagues we learned about. They made red dots with bingo markers, glued on cotton ball hail, used animal stamps, and glued on frogs.

Parsha Questions:
  1. Who did Hashem want to speak to Pharaoh? (Moshe and Aaron)
  2. What did they ask Pharaoh? (To let the Jewish people go)
  3. Did Pharaoh let the Jewish people go? (No)
  4. What plagues did Hashem send? (Dam (water turned to blood), tzfardeah (frogs), kinim (lice), arov (wild beasts), dever (sick animals), sh'chin (boils), barad (hail))
  5. Who did the plagues bother? (The Egyptians)

Shabbat Shalom,

Morot Leisa, Shayna, Tanya, and Marggie
Yosef, Gavriella, and Ella play Candy Land during exploration time
Moshe and Aaron go to Pharaoh and ask for the Jewish people to be let go

Science with Morah Laura: What is absorption?

Liam, Ezra A., and Leo work together to build an amazing castle!

Tasting the "blood" we made with water and food coloring to learn about the makhot

Hillel, Ari, and Josh making their own pizzas in Cooking!
Ella and Avital are pleased with their personal pizzas!
Ayelet and Gavriella working hard on their personal pizzas
Liat and Charlie concentrating on their pizzas!
Eating the pizzas was the best part!
Leo teaches Gavriella how to zipper her coat
4-Year-Old Class Newsletter

Dear Parents,

This has been a really fun and busy week! Last week, some of the students asked if we could sell some cupcakes, so this week we decided to make a bakery in the classroom. Because we are also learning about the letters c and ג, we made גזר (carrot) cupcakes, cookies shaped like circles, cherries, cs and גs, and גבינה (cheese) cake. We "sold" our wares to the other ECC classes, and took some home for ourselves.  

In Cooking on Tuesday afternoons we are "cooking around the world." We started a couple of weeks ago with apple pie from the USA. This week, we made calzones when we went to Italy.

For Cooking class until Pesach, we will be traveling to a different country each week, finding it on the map, reading a story about or from that area, and making a type of food that can be found there. At the end of the unit we will send home a cookbook with the recipes that we made in each country.

This week we also had a lot of fun acting out Parashat Va'eira! We took turns being Moshe, Aharon, and Pharaoh. We read two pasukim (verses) in the beginning of the parsha:
(וְגַ֣ם | אֲנִ֣י שָׁמַ֗עְתִּי אֶת־נַֽאֲקַת֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר מִצְרַ֖יִם מַֽעֲבִדִ֣ים אֹתָ֑ם וָֽאֶזְכֹּ֖ר אֶת־בְּרִיתִֽי (פרק ו: פסוק ה
And also, I heard the moans of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians are holding in bondage, and I remembered My covenant.
לָכֵ֞ן אֱמֹ֥ר לִבְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֘ אֲנִ֣י ה' וְהֽוֹצֵאתִ֣י אֶתְכֶ֗ם מִתַּ֨חַת֙ סִבְלֹ֣ת מִצְרַ֔יִם וְהִצַּלְתִּ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם מֵֽעֲבֹֽדָתָ֑ם וְגָֽאַלְתִּ֤י אֶתְכֶם֙ בִּזְר֣וֹעַ נְטוּיָ֔ה וּבִשְׁפָטִ֖ים גְּדֹלִֽים:(פרק ו: פסוק ו)
Therefore, say to the children of Israel, 'I am Hashem, and I will take you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will save you from their labor, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.

We talked about how the words
בִּזְר֣וֹעַ נְטוּיָ֔ה וּבִשְׁפָטִ֖ים גְּדֹלִֽים (with an outstretched arm and with great judgments) mean that Hashem will send punishments, or plagues (מכות) against the Egyptians. We learned that the first seven מכות (makhot, or plagues) were blood (דם), frogs (צפרדע), lice (כינים), wild animals (ערוב), the sickness of the animals (דבר), boils (שחין), and hail (ברד). After each punishment, Pharaoh said he would let the people go if Moshe could take it away, but when it was over, Pharaoh said "No, no, no, I will not let them go!"

Here are some parsha questions (and answers) for this week:
  1. What was the first sign from Hashem that Moshe and Aharon showed Pharaoh? (That Aharon's staff/stick turned into a snake.)
  2. What did Pharaoh say when he saw the stick turn into a snake? (He had his magicians do the same trick.)
  3. What happened to the snakes of the magicians? (Aharon's snake ate theirs.)
  4. What was the order of the first seven punishments? (Blood (דם), frogs (צפרדע), lice (כינים), wild animals (ערוב), the sickness of the animals (דבר), boils (שחין), and hail (ברד).)
  5. After Hashem took away each punishment, what did Pharaoh say to Moshe? ("I was just kidding, Bnei Yisrael have to stay and be my slaves.")
  6. What warning did Moshe give to the Egyptians before the punishment of hail? (That if they and their animals stayed inside, they would not get hurt.)

This week, we went over the playground rules. The rules are:
  1. We only go down the slide, not up
  2. We only go down the slide feet first
  3. No standing on the slide
  4. Not too many people can go on the slide at once
We are glad that these rules will make us more safe when we are having fun outside.

Thank you to our Shabbat Abba, Yehuda Rose, and Shabbat Ima, Dalia, for the grape juice, challah, and yummy Shabbat treats!

Shabbat Shalom!

Morot Irit, Mimi, and Chava
We practiced the letters C and ג by tracing them with different materials.
We used shells, square rocks, and Unifix cubes
 We had a very sensory experience practicing writing using Q-tips on bags full of paint!

We had fun trying to trace letters in the sand.
   Some students even started to make sand castles and cakes!

The students decided to make a bakery this week, so we made things that start with the letters C and ג. The students suggested different names for the bakery. We voted, and the name that won the most votes was "The Superheroes' C and ג Bakery."

We made signs with the name of the bakery and menus of the items we would be selling!

We made carrot (גזר) cupcakes.
We made C and ג cookies!
We made Cookies! We brainstormed with the students about shaping the cookies into things that start with C or ג. Some of the suggestions were Circle, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Carrot, Crocodile, Cherries, and the shapes of the letters.

In Music class this week, we acted out the parsha with Pharaoh and the makhot. 

We continued acting out the parsha at circle time.

To learn about the first maka of blood (דם
), we painted with red paint  
using different materials like rolling pins, forks, straws, corks, and cut-up paper rolls. 
Then the students decided that the best way to paint was with their hands! 
We made cheese גבינה cakes for our bakery.
Adding the ingredients for the cheesecake!
We learned about the first seven makhot by making puppets about them out of paper bags 
Activity Spotlight: Science Thursday!
Dear Parents,

I want to share with you an overview of what we've been learning in Science so far this year. It's important for you to know that I could not have done these experiments alone. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of my fellow teachers who help during, after, and behind the scenes, and thank you to Robin for being so generous in purchasing science gear and supplies.

Each week, the students and I make our own cacophonies (chaotic sounds), and sometimes biophonies, which are the sounds animals make in nature.

All day, the students are posing questions to their Morahs, and in Science we continue asking and answering questions, making estimates, and coming up with hypotheses.

One scientist I admire is Steve Spangler. He says, "No one really has to teach young children how to wonder, discover, and explore - they do it naturally." What I hope to do is to inspire and motivate our students to want to learn about science independently.

If there are any scientists reading this, please let me know if you notice any mistakes I might have made. I really would appreciate it.

Here are some of the keywords we often use in Science class:

1. Biophony
2. Cacophony
3. Density
4. Molecules
5. Oxygen
6. Salt/Sodium
7. Float
8. Sink
9. Primary Colors
10. Volcano
11. Atoms, Protons, Neutrons, Electrons
12. Bicarbonate
13. Acid
14. Base
Here's a brief overview of our experiments so far:

In Week 1, the theme was sink and float. The questions we answered included: Will this egg sink or float? What happens when you saturate the water with salt? The students all pretended to be the hydrogen, oxygen, and sodium atoms. We learned about density this lesson.

In Week 2, we practiced mixing colors using just the three primary colors. The students got to choose two colors of paint to put in a Ziploc bag. Then they squished it until they ended up with a third color. They also pretended to be red, yellow, and blue paint, mixing themselves together on the rug and ending up as new colors: green, purple, or orange.

Week 3 was an all-time favorite - volcanos. Mix an acid (vinegar) with a base (baking soda), and watch the exchange of atoms. Carbon dioxide molecules become free and pour out of your cup as gas bubbles!

During the fourth and fifth weeks, we paired up and made deserts. We went outside for the first week and glued sand to a piece of cardboard to represent the desert landscape. The next week we added cacti, using green clay as the plants and uncooked spaghetti as the spines. We discussed what climates are, how there are polar deserts, and how cacti conserve water.

Over the next few weeks, I will add more vocabulary words and write more about the experiments we have been doing.
I'll end with another Steve Spangler quote: "If a teacher has information, the learner will use you and discard you. If the teacher has knowledge, the student will call upon you only when they need you. But if what you have is wisdom, the learner will respect you forever. Impact and influence is built on respect. If we are going to have a profound impact on the way our children view science, we need to earn their respect by creating unforgettable and fun learning experiences."

Thank you for sharing your curious and brilliant children!

Shabbat Shalom,

Morah Laura

Our carrot tops have started to sprout! Soon we will plant them in the garden.

We learned about absorption using colored water and different materials.

We tried to figure out what was most absorbent: paper towels, aluminum foil, or towel fabric?

We even tested how absorbent a raincoat was.

We also learned about saturation.

See what's happening in 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: