February 10, 2017 - 14 Shevat 5777 - Tu BiShvat
ES Highlights
Welcome
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Tu BeShevat
Family Learning
Winter Recess Attire
Teva Celebration
Parent Volunteers
ES Calendar
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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Welcome!
Dear Parents,

We had another great (if short) week at school!
 
Please read on for the latest Elementary School news and information about upcoming events.

D'var Torah
by Rabbi David Saltzman
 
In the parasha this week, we read about Keriat Yam Suf - the splitting of the Reed Sea - and the great emuna that the people demonstrated in G-d by following His directives. The Medrish, however, paints a somewhat different picture.
 
When Bnei Yisrael are at the edge of the desert, up against the Reed Sea, with the Mitzrim in hot pursuit, the newly-freed Jewish people do not know how to proceed. Hashem tells Moshe to tell Bnei Yisrael:
וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֶל משֶׁה מַה תִּצְעַק אֵלָי דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִסָּעוּ:
The Lord said to Moses, Why do you cry out to Me? Speak to the children of Israel and let them travel.
 
Commenting on this event, the Gemara in Sotah quotes the opinion of Rabbi Meir, who believes that the nation did as instructed. In fact, they were so committed that they were actually arguing over which tribe would jump in first, until Binyamin put their words into action and took the plunge:
ר"מ אומר כשעמדו ישראל על הים היו שבטים מנצחים זה עם זה זה אומר אני יורד תחלה לים וזה אומר אני יורד תחלה לים קפץ שבטו של בנימין וירד לים תחילה
Rabbi Meir would say: When the Jewish people stood at the Reed Sea, the tribes were arguing with one another. This one was saying: I am going into the sea first, and that one was saying: I am going into the sea first. Then, in jumped the tribe of Benjamin and descended into the sea first.
 
The Gemara then quotes the dissenting opinion of Rabbi Yehuda:
אמר לו רבי יהודה לא כך היה מעשה אלא זה אומר אין אני יורד תחילה לים וזה אומר אין אני יורד תחילה לים קפץ נחשון בן עמינדב
Rabbi Yehuda said to Rabbi Meir: That is not how the incident took place. Rather, this tribe said: I am not going into the sea first, and that tribe said: I am not going into the sea first. Then, in jumped the prince of Judah, Nahshon ben Amminadab, and descended into the sea first, accompanied by his entire tribe.
 
Nachshon's heroism is accentuated, according to the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda. Nachshon was the ONLY member of the approximately 3,000,000 people there who was willing to heed the word of G-d and demonstrate his faith in the Almighty. Nachshon's name has become synonymous with courage and the will to do the right thing, even when it's not popular.
 
We discussed with the students how this was an act of arvut. Nachshon demonstrated arvut by taking responsibility for the situation and the nation. When everyone was stuck and did not want to move on, he took responsibility to show everyone how to have emuna - trust - and courage to do the right thing. We also talked about practical situations in school and at home where we can strive to emulate Nachshon's courageous leap of faith.
 
Thoughts of the Rav on the Parsha
by Rabbi Dov Huff     

We often think about the Midrash which details Nachshon's leap of faith into the
Yam Suf, when everyone else was hesitant, as a symptom of the general lack of initiative on the part of Bnei Yisrael throughout the process of Yetziyat Mitzrayim. We think of their passivity as a sign of their inability to escape the slavery mindset which they had acquired over the course of their centuries of servitude.
 
The Rav has a different view on this. He says that the passive nature of the Jews during Yetziyat Mitzrayim was intentional. The message here was that the Jews had no hand in their own salvation. It was entirely executed by G-d and G-d alone. The Jews and the Egyptians were both spectators in events which would prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Hashem was the one true G-d.
 
From this perspective, we understand both the command at makat bechorot - "none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning" - and the one at kriyat Yam Suf - "Hashem will fight for you and you will remain silent." The message was not that they could not, but that they should not, act. All of this was in the spirit of "Ani Hu velo acher."
 
Tu BeShevat Learning
This week, shlichot Chemdat and Moria taught the 1st - 5th graders about Tu BeShevatStudents learned about the different regions of Eretz Yisrael and what is unique about each area. After learning about the special qualities of each region, students performed an activity which highlighted the most noteworthy feature of that place. 
 
The most exciting part of the activity was making a rosh desha, a head of grass, which will hopefully sprout green "hair."  


 
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Family Learning
Come join families and friends for Family Learning this Sunday from 10:15-11:30 a.m. in the Brener lunchroom. Rabbi Dror Saadia will lead the group in learning about netina - giving to others. 
 
The morning' learning will focus on mitzvot concerning farmers in the land of Israel giving produce to people in need. 
 
We hope to see you there!
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Winter Recess Attire
Please remember that students should bring snow gear for outside recess. This includes a coat, hat, gloves, and boots. When there is snow on the ground, students will not be able to participate in recess activities if they do not have boots. 
 
Thank you for helping us make recess fun and successful!

Teva Celebration

Our fifth graders participated in Teva Learning Alliance's Shomrei Adamah (Keepers of the Earth) Jewish environmental program this past November. At Teva, the Maimonides students join children from other day schools to learn about nature, recycling, reusing, rethinking, and caring for animals and wildlife. They talk and sing about decomposition and p'solet (waste), and discover ways to cut down and save our natural resources. It was very inspiring for the fifth graders, so much so that they decided to take some of their Teva learnings back with them into the real world.
One way this year's class brought Teva back home was by pledging to each change a personal habit that has an impact on the environment.  For example, some students decided to take shorter showers, or turn off lights and unplug electric items when not using them.  Others determined to eat more vegetables and less meat, and to reduce the amount of food they waste and throw out.  

To culminate the completion of six weeks of fulfilling their Teva pledges, an "Earth Bead" celebration was held last week.  Two Teva educators joined the fifth graders via Skype and spoke with the students about their pledges, checked out their completed chart, and encouraged them to continue their efforts.  After the spirited singing of some favorite Teva songs, accompanied by virtual guitar-playing, earth beads were distributed to be added to the 4-bead Teva necklaces already earned by the students while attending the program in the fall.  Healthy, waste-free snacks were enjoyed by all.
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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
 
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