ECC Weekly Newsletter 
February 17, 2017 - 21 Shevat 5777
Parashat Yitro

ECC Highlights
Robin's Message
Dvar Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Parent-Teacher Conference Sign-Up
2-Year-Old Class Newsletter
3-Year-Old Class Newsletter
4-Year-Old Class Newsletter
Activity Spotlight: Cooking Tuesday!
Parent Volunteers
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.
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From Robin Meyerowitz
Dear Parents,

We have had a fun and snowy week! We hope you all enjoy your February break.

When we come back from break, Tuesday, February 28 will be an early 3:00 p.m. dismissal day due to a faculty meeting.

The next day, Wednesday, March 1, is our final Wacky Wednesday of the year: Everyday Heroes! The 2s classroom will transform into a fire station, the 3s classroom will become a police station, and the 4s classroom will turn into a hospital. If you have any items or costumes that have to do with everyday heroes, please feel free to label them and send them in with your child. We will be happy to have them!

Please remember that every item of clothing your child wears at school should be labeled, especially their outdoor gear. Each child needs a labeled coat, snowpants, boots, gloves, and hat. If your child comes to Early Morning Drop-Off, please be sure that he or she is wearing all of their snow gear when they arrive at school.

We wish you a lovely, safe, fun, and enjoyable February vacation, and we can't wait to see you when you get back!

Shabbat Shalom,


Dvar Torah - Unity and Peace
by Rabbi David Saltzman
After a narrow and harrowing escape, and then spending almost two months travelling in the desert, the Jewish people are about to accomplish mission number one and receive the Torah. What happened so that G-d has now decided to give the Torah to the people? Rashi answers this question and states:
ויחן שם ישראל. כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד בְּלֵב אֶחָד, אֲבָל שְׁאָר כָּל הַחֲנִיּוֹת בְּתַרְעוּמוֹת וּבְמַחֲלוֹקֶת:
AND THERE ISRAEL ENCAMPED as one man and with one mind - but all their other encampments were made in a murmuring spirit and in a spirit of dissension.
At this Sinai campsite, the Jewish people were like one person, joined and connected to each other. When they had this togetherness, they were worthy of receiving the Torah.
What caused this feeling of unity to spread among the nation at this specific time? One possible answer is that there was shalom - peace, friendliness, and completeness - permeating the people. From where did this shalom emanate, since Rashi says that all other encampments were filled with fighting?
One source of this new-found peace came from the advice of Yitro. Upon advising Moshe, Yitro explicitly states that his advice should cause:
אִם אֶת הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה תַּעֲשֶׂה וְצִוְּךָ אֱלֹהִים וְיָכָלְתָּ עֲמֹד וְגַם כָּל הָעָם הַזֶּה עַל מְקֹמוֹ יָבֹא בְשָׁלוֹם
If you do this thing, and the Lord commands you, you will be able to survive, and also, all this people will come upon their place in peace.
Therefore, with the additional 70,000+ judges added to the courts, the nation was at peace with each other. There were no more arguments, as everyone had their cases adjudicated in a timely manner. These peaceful relationships among neighbors and friends offered the opportunity for the receiving of the Torah.
The Kli Yakar adds that shalom came from a recognition of something that occurred at their encampment:
ויבואו מדבר סיני. כי מקום זה גרם להם שהיו באגודה אחת, כי בקשת הכבוד והשררה סבה לכל ריב ולכל נגע, וע"י שראו שהר סיני הנמוך שבהרים הוא ההר חמד אלהים לשבתו, אז ראו שהקב"ה בוחר בענוים, ועל ידי זה בחרו במדת ההכנעה, וזהו סבת השלום
And they arrived to the desert of Sinai. Arriving at this location caused the people to unify. The chasing of honor and esteem is the source for fighting and problems. However, when the people saw that G-d chose the lowliest of the mountains as the place to rest His presence, they saw that Hashem selects those that are humble. The people realized that it is important to act modestly (the opposite of glory and honor) and acting humbly is a precursor to peace (the opposite of fighting and problems).
When people feel an external sense of security, knowing that the courts are providing the means for swift justice, and the nation internally reflects on the importance of living modestly, both ideas bring shalom to the nation. Shalom is a harbinger for unity, and unity, as Rashi explained, creates the environment for receiving the Torah.
Thoughts of the Rav - A Tzadik's Responsibility 
by Rabbi David Saltzman
Yitro questions why people are standing in line all day in front of Moshe. According to Ramban, Moshe answered that he had 3 responsibilities: To daven for the people - לִדְרשׁ אֱלֹהִים, to judge them - וְשָׁפַטְתִּי, and to teach them Torah - וְהוֹדַעְתִּי אֶת חֻקֵּי.
Expanding on responsibility number one, the Rav explains that when a person davens for someone who is ill, Hashem judges the sick person and decides whether they are worthy of being cured. Sometimes, if the person does not deserve to be healed, perhaps a family member who is pained by the situation could warrant a restoration of health for the sick person.
The Rav asserts, based on an alternative reading of a gemara in Berachot, that a talmid chacham who is unrelated to the sick person has the same power as a relative to heal the sick through tefilla. When the talmid chacham expends extra effort and energy and joins in the pain of the sick person, Hashem will send a cure to the ill person on behalf of the talmid chacham. Since the talmid chacham does not deserve to be in pain, the sick person is healed.
Therefore, tzadikim, talmedei chachamim, and neviim have a special responsibility and obligation to daven on behalf of others. This was the first responsibility, among many, that Moshe fulfilled for the people.
It's Time to Sign Up for Parent-Teacher Conferences! 
It's time to sign up for spring Parent-Teacher Conferences! The registration website will open on Tuesday, February 28 at 9:00 p.m. and close on Tuesday, March 7 at 10:00 p.m.

Spring Parent-Teacher Conferences for the Early Childhood Center, Elementary School, and Middle School (the Upper School does not have spring conferences) will be taking place:
  • Tuesday, March 14 - noon dismissal, conferences 2:00 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 15 - no school; ES/MS conferences 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., ECC conferences 2:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The registration website can be found here: Please note that the link will not work until the website opens for conference registration.

If you do not have your student(s) ID and registration information, please contact the division office.
2-Year-Old Class Newsletter

Hello Parents,
It's been a short week! Morah Tzipi is in Israel and we miss her very much. We hope she is enjoying visiting her family and we can't wait to see her again. Morah Dayse and Morah Marggie are helping us make the days run smoothly.

We spent lots of time outside in the snow this week! It's a wonderful workout and so much fun! On Wednesday, we did an experiment: we brought in snow from outside. We put it in a big bowl and checked on it every half-hour or so. Soon it was all melted!

We also tried a new game on Wednesday. One child wore a blindfold and tried to guess who another child was by just touching gently and listening to their voices.

On Tuesday, we washed our own cups in warm water, taking ownership for taking care of our things.  

We made donuts out of clay on Thursday for a play we are going to perform called "Please, Mr. Panda," inspired by the book that Noa generously brought in for us to read. Thanks, Noa!

Thank you for being such great, supportive parents! We hope you have a lovely vacation and we'll see you next week! 

Shabbat Shalom,

Morah Laura and Morah Tzipi


On Tuesday, Morah Dayse was one of our teachers. Here she is playing with us with our new manipulative, clay clay.
We washed our own water cups with warm soapy water and sponges.
Our clay clay started out pink, yellow, and blue.
Look, we are planning our trip to Alaska! 
Thank you, Noa, for sharing your book that you brought into school! 
This is our new favorite book. Essentially, it's about manners. 

 Bella loves playing outside without her mittens!
They are planning how to share the chunk of snow that Ellie is eating.
This is our experiment: "What will happen to the snow if we bring it inside?"
 On Wednesday, Morah Marggie read us Please, Mr. Panda.
Look, the snow is slowly melting. 

We drew so many pictures for our moms and dads on Wednesday! 

Slowly, slowly...
One day we played a game: Cover your eyes and guess who's in front of you!
3-Year-Old Class Newsletter 
Dear Parents,

It may be spring in Israel, but winter is definitely still here. Because of the snow days at the end of last week and on Monday, we continued celebrating Tu B'Shevat when we returned to school on Tuesday. The students scooped soil into the pots that they had decorated last week. They added zinnia seeds, covered them with more soil, and watered them. The students excitedly examined their pots and watered them throughout the week.

Also on Tuesday, the two-year-old class joined us for a Tu B'Shevat seder. We made the brachot for our food in merit of Morah Chava, so she will have a full and speedy recovery. The students enjoyed tasting apples, bananas, dates, olives, and Fig Newtons. They also made edible trees using a pretzel rod for the trunk and pretzel sticks for the branches. The students then added craisins and raisins for the blossoms. The trees were beautiful and delicious to eat!

For Parshat Yitro, we talked about how Hashem had a gift, the Torah, to give to the world. He offered it to different nations. The other nations didn't want to follow the rules of the Torah, but when Hashem asked the Jewish people, they said "na'asey v'nishmah - we will do and we will listen," and happily accepted it. Hashem chose Har Sinai as the mountain where He would give the Torah to B'nei Yisrael. He had Moshe tell the Jews not to touch or go near the mountain. Hashem spoke and said, "I am your G-d, do not serve any other gods." Hashem gave the Jewish people many mitzvot, such as keeping Shabbos and honoring our parents. The Jews were so happy to get the Torah.

The students all had a turn acting out the parsha. Some of them acted out being the other nations to whom Hashem offered the Torah, and some were the Jews. Then the students got to act out the different mountains that wanted the Torah to be given on them. Some students were the Jews who stood at Har Sinai when Hashem spoke to them. They said they felt afraid when there was fire and smoke around the mountain.

We started the week by talking to the students about why rules are so important. We read No Rules For Michael, which showed what would happen if there were no rules in a classroom. The students gave their answers to the question, "Why are rules important?" in their journals, and also each drew a picture. The students brainstormed rules they think are important in our class, which we made into a poster. We talked about how there are ten rules on the luchot (tablets), and the students classified objects into groups of ten. They also practiced their scissor skills by cutting out the luchot shape and then using aleph-bet stampers and stickers to "write" the rules.
This week, for provocations, we played a lot of games with letters and numbers. We even made letters out of Legos. We also played a game where we took the flower pots we made for Tu B'Shevat and put them all around the room. Then we went around the room, finding our own names and identifying our friends' names. We also worked on our counting skills by counting out ten natural objects.

Parsha Questions:
  1. What is the name of the parsha? (Yitro)
  2. What present did Hashem give to the Jewish people? (The Torah)
  3. What did the Jews say when Hashem said he wanted to give them the Torah? (Na'asey v'nishmah - we will do and we will listen)  
  4. For how many days did the Jews prepare to get the Torah? (Three days)
  5. The mountains fought over which would be the one on whicih Hashem chose to give the Torah. Which mountain did Hashem pick? (Har Sinai)
  6. What happened when Hashem came to give the Torah on Har Sinai? (Thunder, lightning, fire, and smoke around the mountain)      
  7. Were the Jews afraid? (Yes)

We want to encourage independence during rest time. At the end of rest time, the students each put on their shoes and put away their bed. Most of the students do not sleep, and instead do quiet activities on their bed. We ensure that there is quiet time in the room and that the students are resting, but the sheets and pillows do not seem to be necessary for most students. We are sending home some sheets, pillows, and blankets, because they are not being used. If your child typically sleeps, we will keep them in school for him/her.

Shabbat Shalom and have a restful vacation,

Morot Leisa, Shayna, Tanya, and Marggie
Thursday morning, we worked on counting.
We used different objects from nature, like stones and shells.

The goal was to count to 10. Yuval succeeded!

Liat chose stones to count. She got to 10!
Ezra H. and Liam loved balancing on the snow together
Liat enjoyed playing in the snow!

Hillel and Ezra A. had fun lifting huge balls of snow!

Dov is a great snow shoveler!

Ella and Leah had a great time walking around the snowy playground!

Avital and Ayelet had a great time climbing snow mountains together!

We took turns going down the snow slide!

It was a blast!

During Music class, all of the students who wanted to got a turn to sit on Morah Linda's lap. She sang and moved with all of them!
Ezra A., Liam, Yuval, and Dov had a great time playing cars together!

During morning exploration time, Ari, Joshy, Hillel, and Ayelet made a zoo together!

The Kochavim welcomed the 2-year-old class for a yummy Tu B'Shevat seder led by Morah Leisa

Hillel made a tree from his Tu B'Shevat seder snack!

On Tuesday, during Elementary School Activity Period, some of our older friends came to be with us and hear a story.
Last week, the students planted seeds for Tu B'Shevat. This week, they checked their pots to see if they could spy any sprouts yet
Yuval carefully waters his own Tu B'Shevat flower seeds

Sheva and Simcha take care of their flower seeds

This week, the whole ECC got together to celebrate Morah Dayse's birthday!
4-Year-Old Class Newsletter

Dear Parents,

This week has been been short, but very busy! On Tuesday we celebrated Dalia's birthday and the birthday of the trees. While we had yummy birthday cake for Dalia's birthday, we also had yummy foods to represent most of the seven species of food that are native to the land of Israel: wheat, barley, grapes, dates, pomegranates, olives, and figs. We also said as many brachot as we could for Morah Chava's health. While we were celebrating, we FaceTimed with Morah Chava so that she could be part of the party. We also painted trees with watercolors for Tu B'Shevat, and used our problem-solving skills to figure out how to make a 3D tree out of loose parts.

On Wednesday we celebrated another birthday. We got together as a whole school for Morah Dayse's birthday party. We sang songs, danced, and even picked up Morah Dayse on a chair (well, the Morahs did most of the last part).

This week's parsha is Parshat Yitro. We learned that the Jews got the עשרת הדברות, the Ten Commandments, on הר סיני, Mount Sinai. Here are some questions (and answers) for you to share:
  1. Which mountain did Hashem choose to give the Torah on? (Mount Sinai - הר סיני)
  2. Why did Hashem choose Har Sinai? (Because it was humble and didn't brag about how tall, pretty, or great it was.)
  3. What did Bnei Yisrael say when they were asked if they wanted the Torah? (נעשה ונשמע - "We will do and we will listen.")
  4. Which very important mitzvot are read in this week's parsha? (The Ten Commandments - עשרת הדיברות)
  5. What do we do in shul when those mitzvot are read? (We stand up.)
We ended the week with our Shabbat party. Thank you, Shalhevet and Yonathan, our Shabbat Ima and Abba, for the yummy challah and treats that you brought in.

Shabbat Shalom!

Morot Irit, Mimi, and Sara

We painted trees for Tu B'Shevat using watercolors.
We made 3D trees using tape, paper tubes, cardboard cartons, cotton balls, Q-tips, and other loose parts.
 Each student figured out how to make their own unique tree.

We love building with Legos!
  Esther made a person with eyes. 

Ezra A., Yehuda S., and Ezra L. made this together!

We had a blast in the snow!

We slid down the stairs...
We used shovels...
Some of us tasted the snow...

We made giant snowballs...

...and we climbed mountains!

Activity Spotlight: Cooking Tuesday!
Dear Parents,

On Tuesday afternoons, the students excitedly look forward to Cooking. We have Cooking in our classrooms, led by Morah Tzipi, Morah Leisa, or Morah Mimi. Each class follows a recipe and makes something according to the theme of that week, often inspired by the weekly parsha.
We have been working with the students on basic cooking terms, such as:
  • Recipe
  • Ingredients
  • Measuring
  • Mixing
  • Pouring
  • Baking
First, we look together at the recipe, check to make sure we have all the ingredients, and then begin cooking. The students have become expert kosher egg checkers, making sure there are no blood spots in the eggs. Some of the students also like exploring the texture of the flour. Then the students measure, pour, and mix everything together. Their favorite part is tasting their creation!

After December break, we began a Cooking Around the World unit. We start by looking at the featured country of the week on the globe, and where it is in relation to where we live. We discuss how we could travel from the United States to this country. Then we make a food that is traditionally eaten in that country. For example, we made burritos for Mexico, calzones for Italy, and croissants for France. While our food is cooking, we read a book which highlights the culture of that country.

Thank you and Shabbat Shalom,

Morah Leisa
We have been Cooking Around the World. Morah Leisa showed us where France, the next country from which we used a recipe, is on our globe. We even discussed ways to get there from Brookline.
We really enjoyed our French croissants!

Burritos from Mexico!

Mixing batter for cheesecakes!

Filling graham cracker crusts with cheesecake filling!

Putting chocolate chips into our cookies!

This one is mine!
Is it ready yet????
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
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.

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