February 3, 2017 - 7 Shevat 5777 - Bo
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Fall Newspaper
Grade 4 Principals' Coffee
Principals' Coffees
In the Art Studio
After-School Activities
Parent Volunteers
Alumni Newsletter
Lost and Found
ECC/MS/US Newsletters
ES Calendar
Tues, Feb. 7
3:00 p.m. Dismissal

Wed, Feb. 8
Grade 4 Principals' Coffee
8:00 a.m.

Sun, Feb. 12
Family Learning

Mon, Feb. 20 - 
Fri, Feb. 24
February Break
No School

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

Moshe's dream has finally come to fruition in this week's parsha as the Jewish people are permitted to leave Mitzrayim and travel to their next destination. The Torah records how many people left Egypt and the makeup of the group:
וַיִּסְעוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵרַעְמְסֵס סֻכֹּתָה כְּשֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת אֶלֶף רַגְלִי הַגְּבָרִים לְבד מִטָּף:
וְגַם עֵרֶב רַב עָלָה אִתָּם וְצֹאן וּבָקָר מִקְנֶה כָּבֵד מְאֹד:
The children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot, the men, besides the young children
And also, a great mixed multitude went up with them, and flocks and cattle, very much livestock.
The Torah mentions a group of people not mentioned previously with an odd name - the עֵרֶב רַב, generally translated as the mixed multitude. The Zohar explains that they were made up of:
היה חלק מן העםהמצרי
A portion of the Egyptian populace
From where did this mixed multitude originate and become part of the Jewish people?
In Parshat Ki Tisa, Rashi explains that these were people who Moshe accepted into the nation without consulting G-d. At the sin of the Golden Calf, G-d says to Moshe,
ערב רב שקבלת מעצמך וגיירתם ולא נמלכת בי, ואמרת טוב שידבקו גרים בשכינה, הם שחתו והשחיתו
Those are the mixed multitude whom you accepted on your own initiative, and whom you converted without consulting Me. You said, "It is good that converts cleave to the Shechinah." They have acted corruptly and have corrupted [others].
The Medrash does not explain G-d's hesitation for accepting the refugees from the other nations at that time. Perhaps the sheer number of people that Moshe accepted, which according to the Medrash was estimated at anywhere between 1.2 million and 3.6 million people, were just too many foreigners for a new nation forging its own identity to absorb.
Moshe certainly had good intentions in accepting this group even without G-d's authorization. What motivated Moshe to allow these people to join the nation?
Students offered the following answers: In order to increase the army; to be like Avraham and accept people who were sincere about monotheism; or maybe Moshe was in a rush and did not have time to ask Hashem.
Perhaps the name of the group is a hint. The עֵרֶב רַב were welcomed because of Moshe's great sense of ערבות. Moshe grew up in the palace and felt a sense of gratitude to the Mitzrim for saving his life and adopting him as one of their own. This gratitude led Moshe to his ערבות רב - his substantial feelings of connectedness and recognition of responsibility for a sect of Mitzrim who desired to join this physical and spiritual journey and be part of the Jewish nation.
Our own gratitude to others should lead us to the same, perhaps obvious, conclusion as Moshe: That our arvut should extend to those to whom we owe a great deal of appreciation, and we should act in a way that demonstrates those feelings and attitudes.
Thoughts of the Rav on the Parsha
by Rabbi David Saltzman    
Rabbi Soloveitchik wonders why Moshe was given two different commands when told to deliver a message to Pharaoh. At times he is told to בֹּא אֶל פַּרְעֹה - come to Pharaoh, as it states in the opening of the parsha this week. Other times, Moshe is commanded toלֵךְ אֶל פַּרְעֹה - go to Pharaoh. What is the difference between these two phrases, and what message is conveyed?
The Rav answers that the fact that the Torah changes the verb teaches us that Moshe was addressing two different personalities of Pharaoh. When the word לֵךְ was used, Moshe publicly addressed the emperor, the public figure who represented the nation. When the verb בֹּא was used, that meant to meet Pharaoh in his inner chambers and address him while he was just a citizen, just an individual, just as a father who loves his children.
In this context Moshe was supposed to speak to Pharaoh and not to warn him or rebuke him. Moshe was supposed to talk to him about the dignity of man that was bestowed on every individual, and hopefully the heart of Pharaoh would respond. Perhaps Pharaoh would experience a new heatbeat, a beat of sympathy and compassion, and have the heart to free the Jewish people from bondage.
Fall Newspaper Available
The Fall Newspaper Activity Period, led by Rabbi Saltzman and Ms. Beker, wrapped up their writing last week and the fruit of their labor was distributed to 3rd - 5th graders today. Please click here to download the newspaper.  

Grade 4 Principals' Coffee
The second round of Principals' Coffees continued this past Wednesday morning. Following Rabbi Saltzman's d'var Torah, parents had the opportunity to ask questions and voice comments and concerns.
The first topic of discussion was the Googledocs homework page that the fourth grade teachers have been using for the past several months.  Parents are finding this very valuable because they know exactly what their child's homework is, even if their child isn't sure.  It is also helpful because they can double check at pick-up time to make sure that all necessary homework materials are in the child's backpack.
As has been discussed at a few other Principals' Coffees, fourth grade parents spoke about ways to build community and make connections both in and out of school. The fourth grade parents already have a Facebook group, which was started by Julian Gorfajn.  Julian sent another invitation in case any new parents would like to join. The fourth grade parents at the coffee were also interested in organizing a social evening at one of their homes.
Parents expressed appreciation for being invited into the school to participate in special student learning experiences and presentations. For example, the recent fourth grade Wax Museum, culminating the Explorers Unit, was very well received and was a nice, informal way to get a peek into the classroom, as well as interact with other fourth grade families. It was mentioned that it would be nice to have a schedule of such events that parents are invited to attend every couple of months.
Principals' Coffees
The next Principals' Coffee will be for fifth grade parents, and will take place on Wednesday, February 8, from 8:00-8:45 a.m. Principals' coffees have been 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! 

In the Art Studio
On Wednesday, first graders worked on completing their second independent projects and writing their own artist statements. While the previous unit allowed students to work with a teacher to write these statements, this time they are doing their own writing. This integrates writing skills into the students' art practice and helps them to think analytically about their artwork.

After-School Activities
The after-school MSAP (Maimonides School Activities Program) Fall into Winter semester ends this coming week.

The brochure for our Winter into Spring semester was sent home in your child's backpack. Registration closes on Thursday, February 9. Many courses have limits on their numbers, so hurry and send in your registration!

Please contact Dr. Deborah Mehl, dmehl@maimonides.org, if you have any questions.

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 claudine@aboutface.com
Alumni Newsletter Online
The monthly alumni newsletter for January is now online, and can be found here.  This issue's articles include:
  • Alumna Strives to Stay on the Cutting Edge of Website Design
  • Graduate Finds a Market in Israel for His Construction Skills
  • Decades Ago, Maimonides Laid the Groundwork for Floor Hockey
  • Biography Replete with Praise
If you would like to receive the alumni newsletter each month, contact Mike Rosenberg at (617) 232-4452 x 405 or mrosenberg@maimonides.org.
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. 

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:

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