March 3, 2017                          Parashat Terumah                     5 Adar, 5777 
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
New Lunch Option
Upcoming DC Trip!
Purim Gifts for Custodians
Sixth-Grade English
Seventh-Grade English
Eighth-Grade Speaker
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Middle School Lit Mag
Help Write a Torah
Alumni Newsletter
Absence Notifications
Division Newsletters
Online Photo Galleries

Quick Links
Find Maimonides On:

Dear Middle School Families,   

Welcome back! We hope everyone enjoyed February break. It was great to have the students back, and we jumped right back into learning. There's a lot of news to share this week, so please be certain to read all of our articles and announcements!

Please read on for a d'var Torah, a thought from the works of Rav Soloveitchik, and some highlights from the week.
Shabbat Shalom!  

Brian Cohen
Associate Principal, Middle School

D'var Torah

by Rabbi Dov Huff


The Ramban, in his introduction to Sefer Shmot, says that the sefer is about "exile and redemption." We can certainly recognize how this title is appropriate for the exile and enslavement in Egypt, as well as the eventual salvation and redemption when Hashem took us out. This description, however, only takes us as far as Parshat Beshalach, about a third of the way through the entire sefer. It seems to leave out one of the most significant moments in Jewish history, in which we receive the Torah, as well as the multiple
parshiyot devoted to the building of the Mishkan

The Ramban explains that in reality, the receiving of the Torah and the building of the Mishkan are essential aspects of our redemption. Without the Torah, which guides us, and the Mishkan, which brings us closer to Hashem, we would not truly be redeemed. We could have left Mitzrayim and been free, but if nothing came afterwards, we would have had no sense of meaning or purpose - we would be left standing in the desert.
At school, we always emphasize the importance of engaging with the Torah. While we are trying to develop mastery of content and skills in all classes, both General and Judaic, we are generally focusing on the outcome, the knowing. There is an additional and unique quality and value in our Limudei Kodesh classes, which is the process, the learning. According to the Ramban, this mere act of sitting in the classroom and probing the depths of Torah brings us closer to Hashem, and to redemption in the process.
Thoughts of the Rav
by Rabbi David Saltzman

The Rav states that the most important principle in Judaism is kedusha. And the price the Torah demands in exchange for kedusha is that a Jew should be capable of respecting certain boundary lines, which the Torah has introduced.
There are two ways to respect a law: through love or fear. One who does not respect the law will be subject to sanctions. If you observe the law because you are afraid of sanctions, this is not an act of kedusha. It is a legal performance. The fact that one abstains from the commission of crime with this mindset does not give that person the status of a moral individual.  
On the other hand, if one respects the law freely, there will be no need for threats and there will be no need for sanctions. Only if the act is a voluntary one, without being coerced - if one observes the ethical law because they want to and love to - can we say that this is someone who acts with a moral personality.
The Rav concludes that it wasn't the actual physical walls of the Mishkan that gave it sanctity. Rather, it was the people's acceptance of the Mishkan's boundaries that created kedusha, by their choosing to withdraw from the area it occupied. It is our willful performance of mitzvot - not just the act itself - that infuses an act or place with kedusha.

New Lunch Option!

The eighth grade is proud to announce that it will soon be offering lunches from Jerusalem Pita and Grill every week! The order form will be coming home next week, so keep your eyes open for it!  

Upcoming Eighth-Grade Trip to DC!

This year's eighth-grade trip to Washington, DC, is only a month away! The trip will be taking place April 3-April 6 and will include lots of exciting activities, including some that are brand new for this year and some old favorites from previous years. If you're an eighth-grade parent, please check your email for more details, and make sure to send the RSVP form to the Middle School office by Friday, March 17! 

Purim Gifts for Custodians

The Maimonides School custodians work hard to keep our building in good shape and always greet us with smiles. Our school couldn't possibly run without them! This year, as a Purim activity, the Middle School students would like to show their appreciation of this special group of people.

We will be preparing a Purim basket for each custodian, using supplies selected and brought in by the students. 

Please have your child bring in one candy or food item by next Thursday, March 9 (Taanit Esther), to be added to these packages. There will be a box available in the office to leave the gifts in.

Tizku l'mitzvot!

Sixth-Grade English

The sixth-grade students have enjoyed reading and discussing Wonder, by R.J. Palaccio. They were able to choose among several projects upon finishing this book, including creating a new cover and writing additional material for it. We loved their creative ideas!


Seventh-Grade English
Seventh grade has been combining English class with drama! They've just begun reading Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, and have been taking advantage of the play's format to have students take on roles. Rather than reading the play at home, they've been doing a read-through in class, and the students are developing the characters as they're introduced to them. Enthusiasm is high, and the play is being brought to life in incredible and amazing ways.

Eighth-Grade Speaker
by Benji Hain and Dana Bar-Or

We were very excited to welcome speech and language pathologist Julie Shulman as a special guest speaker for the 
eighth-grade students today.  She gave a fascinating and poignant talk that explored how Jews with speech limitations can practice their Judaism and connect to a speech-based religion

This was a great opportunity for our students to learn about a different facet of our religion!

Parent-Teacher Conferences

It's time to sign up for spring Parent-Teacher Conferences!  The registration website is now open and will 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:

If you do not have your student(s) ID and registration information, please contact the division office.

Lit Mag Submissions Now Open!
Your Magazine, our Middle School showcase of students' artwork and writing, is now accepting submissions for its annual publication! Please encourage your child to submit his or her favorite creative work to the Middle School office.

Help Write a Torah
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 for more information, or go directly to our block here.

Alumni Newsletter Online 
The monthly alumni newsletter for February is now online, and can be found here.  This issue's articles include:
  • Veteran Birthright Israel Coordinator Changing Course
  • Recent Graduate Explores a Different Aspect of Life in Israel
  • A series of photos celebrating the Super Bowl victory around the world
If you would like to receive the alumni newsletter each month, contact Mike Rosenberg at (617) 232-4452 x 405 or

Absences and Tardy Notifications

We wish that none of our students ever felt ill -- we'd love to have 100% attendance every day -- but we know that germs don't always listen to our desires!

However, we do need to know where our students are.

If your child needs to miss a day of school,

or will be tardy or leave early, please be certain to inform Sharona Vedol in the Middle School office

by email:

Please remember:

We are not using the absence hotline this year!

All absence notifications must come in via email. 

We ask that you e-mail the office for safety reasons -- it allows for far more efficient accounting of student absences.

Division Newsletters

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 for the Elementary and Upper Schools, or click here for the Early Childhood Center.

If you would like to contact a specific school office, please use these emails:

On behalf of the entire Middle School:

Shabbat Shalom!


Brian Cohen



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Maimonides School | 34 Philbrick Road | Brookline | MA | 02445