February 17, 2017 - 21 Shevat 5777 - Yitro
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Understanding Our Differences
Winter Recess Attire
Learning and Mitzvah Program
Global Unity Torah
Boston Haifa Connection
Parent Volunteers
ECC/MS/US Newsletters
ES Calendar
Mon, Feb. 20 - 
Fri, Feb. 24
February Break
No School

Tues, Feb. 28
3:00 p.m. Dismissal

As always, please see the Kol Rambam Weekly for the all-school calendar, events and PTA notes.
Quick Links
Online Photo Galleries
Hosted securely on Phanfare.com. Password to view all galleries is "maimoparents".

Click here to view

Send us your
Maimo Moments
  Whether you are a parent, alumni or faculty member, your Maimo Moments are welcomed and appreciated. 


Please send your Maimo Moments to  


maimonides.org or call our Maimo Moments hotline 617-232-4452 x424 and record your moment in a voice message.

Find Maimonides On:
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
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 on the Parsha
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.
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: https://pickatime.com/maimonides/spring2017.  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.

Understanding Our Differences
by third graders Nava Chein, Jenna Pultman, and Amalya Fischer     

Today we learned at Understanding Our Differences about people who are blind and have seeing disabilities. A man named Gary gave us a presentation and showed us a video about kids in the U.S.A who are blind and have seeing disabilities.

We had 3 groups trying out what it felt like to be blind. One group was with Ms. Benjamin. She had the cane that a blind person would use and we got to try it out.

Another center that we had was a grab-bag. You closed your eyes and grabbed an object out of the bag and guessed what it was. The final center we had was typing in braille which blind people use.

After the center activities, a person named Shoshana, who has visual impairments, told us about her life. She talked about how she gets around her town. She also talked about how she reads her messages and books.

We had a lot of fun learning about blind people.

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!

The third unit of tzionut is about the Pioneers, the Jewish people who came to Israel during the first and second aliya in the years 1882-1914. These pioneers actually built Eretz Yirsael by establishing many of the settlements and villages.  

The students watched a video about the Pioneers and then played a chutes and ladders game.  Through performing tasks that the pioneers had to do and reading interesting information, the children could feel what the pioneers were going through and the difficulties that they had. Nevertheless, the pioneers were eager to build and live in Israel, although at that time Israel looked like a big desert with nothing.

The students in 4th and 5th grade learned about the aliyot, choma umigdal, draining the swamp that contained malaria and killed people, the Rothschild family, and more.

Learning and Mitzvah Program
We are excited to offer our learning and mitzvah program for February vacation. Click on the link below for a list of mitzvot that each student can perform daily. Simply place a check mark in the box next to the appropriate mitzvah which your child performed. Please include a parent signature on the form.

After vacation, please submit the chart to your child's limudei kodesh teacher.
This program is completely optional and all students are welcome to participate. Students who choose to return a completed chart will receive a certificate of completion. 
Help Write a Torah During Vacation
As we are about to begin February break, it is a good time to reflect on all we have accomplished so far this year, and what we hope to accomplish in the next few months. Before we all get involved in our daily routines, we have an opportunity to stop and think about how we can incorporate different acts of chesed into our lives. 
As you may have heard, there is a beautiful and inspiring initiative underway, a joint initiative of The Afikim Foundation and Israel's Ministry for Diaspora Affairs, to write a Global Unity Sefer Torah celebrating the 50th Anniversary of a Reunited Jerusalem. Jews everywhere can inscribe letters in the Torah, NOT with money, but with simple acts of chesed, everyday kindnesses that positively impact the lives of others. To see more information about this global initiative, please watch this 1-minute video!
Since groups may reserve blocks of letters, we've taken the opportunity to reserve 1000 letters for our Maimonides family.  Let's complete the Maimonides block in the Global Unity Torah and inspire goodness in the world in honor of Jerusalem! The custom link for our school's block can be accessed by clicking here. You may reserve letters for yourself and/or your entire family as a group. (All blue letters are available.) It only takes a minute. 
A digital file containing the names of everyone who participated and their acts of chesed will remain permanently with the Torah, which will be dedicated in Jerusalem on May 24, Yom Yerushalayim.  (There will also be a drawing for 3 round-trip tickets to attend the dedication!) 
Please challenge yourself to commit and record at least 3 acts of kindness by May 24 - actions that are manageable and within your reach. There is no chesed too small!  
Visit jerusalem50.org for more information, or go directly to our block here.
Enjoy vacation and do chesed!

Boston Haifa Connection
For the second year, the Maimonides Elementary School is participating in the Boston Haifa Connection program by partnering with Netiv Eliezer, a Mamlachti Dati (Modern Orthodox) elementary school in the Carmel region of Haifa.

As sister cities, Boston and Haifa share a special history in the Jewish community and are continually finding ways to strengthen this connection and foster new relationships. For many years, day schools and supplementary schools in the Greater Boston area have created partnerships with peer schools in Haifa to explore Jewish identity and promote community. Through shared curricula, video conferencing, and social media, students are able to learn, communicate, and develop friendships with same-age students in Haifa.

This year, the Maimonides Elementary School partnership is with the fourth grade at Netiv Eliezer.  The fourth grade limudei kodesh teacher at Netiv Eliezer, Hamorah Naama, has been meeting and planning together with our fourth grade teacher Kaylee Frager over the past month, and they will get together in person next week.  Hamorah Kaylee will be visiting our sister school during a trip to Israel over February break and will meet the fourth grade teacher and all of the students.  She is bringing with her Maimonides logo gifts for each student, as well as a Maimonides fourth grade picture album.  In addition to photos, the album includes personal information about each of our students, such as favorite activities, foods, and colors, as well as home addresses.  The teacher at Netiv Eliezer will be giving us a similar album in order to help the students begin to know one another.
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