ECC Weekly Newsletter 
March 24, 2017 - Adar 26 5777

Parashat Vayak'hel-Pekudei

ECC Highlights
Robin's Message
Dvar Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
2-Year-Old Class Newsletter
3-Year-Old Class Newsletter
4-Year-Old Class Newsletter
Activity Spotlight
Yom Orchim
Help Write a Torah
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.
How To Subscribe to the Calendar

For step-by-step instructions for subscribing to the Maimonides Early Childhood Center calendar on your mobile device or computer, CLICK HERE.

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From Robin Meyerowitz

Dear Parents,

Thank you so much for coming to the Parent-Teacher Conferences this week. I know it was particularly difficult because we had to reschedule due to the snow day. The teachers worked extremely hard on their preparations for weeks, working on assessments, testing, writing developmental reports, and creating portfolios. I am so glad that most of you had a chance to see them and to speak about your precious children.

We had a really nice 2-year-old Parent Coffee this week! Thank you to everyone who came. Please send us your feedback for next year and let us know if you would like to have more than one parent coffee per year, if there is anything specific you would like to discuss, or if there is anything else you would like to add. 

On Tuesday, March 28, we will have a 3:00pm dismissal due to a faculty meeting. If you have already signed up for Extended Day, your may pick up your child before 5:45pm.

Wednesday, March 29, is our next Yoga Buds class. Children ages 0-2 and their caretakers are welcome to join us for a yoga class, child development discussion, and baby-friendly snacks. The cost is $10 per family. We look forward to seeing you!

Shabbat Shalom,


Dvar Torah

by Rabbi David Saltzman

The construction of the Mishkan was a momentous and detailed project. Many people contributed in numerous ways, and through the leadership ofבְּצַלְאֵ֛ל בֶּן־אוּרִ֥י and his assistant אָֽהֳלִיאָ֥ב בֶּן־אֲחִֽיסָמָ֖ךְthe Mishkan was built successfully. One needs to consider how a nation of former slaves were able to work as a team and build such a magnificent edifice. The Torah alludes to this in the pesukim. Looking closely at this selection of pesukim, one notices a similar theme:
פרק לח, פסוק כב: וּבְצַלְאֵ֛ל בֶּן־אוּרִ֥י בֶן־ח֖וּר לְמַטֵּ֣ה יְהוּדָ֑ה עָשָׂ֕ה אֵ֛ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֥ה ה' אֶת־משֶֽׁה:
פרק לט, פסוק א: וַיַּֽעֲשׂ֞וּ אֶת־בִּגְדֵ֤י הַקֹּ֨דֶשׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לְאַֽהֲרֹ֔ן כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה ה' אֶת־משֶֽׁה:
פרק לט, פסוק ה: וְחֵ֨שֶׁב אֲפֻדָּת֜וֹ... כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה ה' אֶת־משֶֽׁה:
פרק לט, פסוק ז: יָּ֣שֶׂם אֹתָ֗ם עַ֚ל כִּתְפֹ֣ת הָֽאֵפֹ֔ד אַבְנֵ֥י זִכָּר֖וֹן לִבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה ה' אֶת־משֶֽׁה:
פרק לט, פסוק מב: כְּכֹ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֥ה ה' אֶת־משֶׁ֑ה כֵּ֤ן עָשׂוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֵ֖ת כָּל־הָֽעֲבֹדָֽה:
פרק לט, פסוק מג: וַיַּ֨רְא משֶׁ֜ה אֶת־כָּל־הַמְּלָאכָ֗ה וְהִנֵּה֙ עָשׂ֣וּ אֹתָ֔הּ כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה ה' כֵּ֣ן עָשׂ֑וּ וַיְבָ֥רֶךְ אֹתָ֖ם משֶֽׁה:
Over and over again, the Torah highlights that the Jewish people did the workכַּֽאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה ה - just as Hashem commanded. One reason the project was successful was that the people followed the plan. Nobody deviated from their assignment. Everyone understood that the success of their work depended on the other person also following and carrying out their orders to exact specificity. Each person became responsible for their own work, but also for the job that the other was doing, as each task was one piece of the puzzle.
Seforno explains that every person contributed in their own way:
וַתֵּכֶל... וַיַּעֲשׂוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל - הַפְּעֻלָּה כֻלָּהּ עַל שְׁלֵמוּתָהּ נֶעֶשְׂתָה עַל יְדֵי כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל, כִּי קְצָתָם הִתְנַדְּבוּ מָמוֹן וּקְצָתָם עָשׂוּ הַמְּלָאכָה בְּנִדְבַת לִבָּם לַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹן קוֹנָם.
ותכל...ויעשו בני ישראל, the work in its totality was attributed to all the people of Israel seeing that each one of them had a direct or indirect share in it, whether by contributing material, labor, or skill.
Connecting the Seforno to the previous pesukim, we learn that each and every person from Bnei Yisrael served a purpose and each one perfectly performed their part. The Mishkan was not built by a handful of people, but by a complete team and a national effort in which each individual brought their talents and contributed to the building. These two elements, of people following the directions of the leader and being responsible to the other members of the team, brought success and a favorable result.  
Perhaps Moshe used a similar refrain to one that we heard during the football season and playoffs. Moshe instructed the people to "Do Your Job" for the Mishkan, and each one did. Arvut is being part of the team, following directions for the sake of everyone's success, and fulfilling your responsibility.
In school we discussed applying this concept in other scenarios:
    Listening to the group rules during a game or when working on a project
    Listening to the teacher - the "coach" in the classroom
    Following the chazan in shul or in class

Just like the Patriots, and just like Bnei Yisrael building the Mishkan.

Thoughts of the Rav    
by Rabbi David Saltzman

In the parasha this week we read about the completion of the building of the Mishkan. The Torah sums up this project, saying that the Jewish people did everything:
כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה' אֶת משֶׁה כֵּן עָשׂוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵת כָּל הָעֲבֹדָה
In accordance with all that the Lord had commanded Moshe, so did the children of Israel do all the work.
The Torah continues and states:
וַיַּרְא משֶׁה אֶת כָּל הַמְּלָאכָהוְהִנֵּה עָשׂוּ אֹתָהּ כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה' כֵּן עָשּׂווַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתָם משֶׁה
Moshe saw the entire work, and lo! they had done it - as the Lord had commanded, so had they done. So Moshe blessed them.
The Torah uses two different words to describe the work of Bnei Yisrael: כָּל הָעֲבֹדָה andכָּל הַמְּלָאכָה . What does the word avodah mean in this context?
The Rav explains that the word avodah means the actual work itself, the physical labor that one does. It could be productive or unproductive. It could be meaningful or not. It is simply work. Here, with the Mishkan, the Torah tells us that the Jewish people finished all the physical labor they were assigned to do.
The Rav explains that there is a second aspect to avodah: That one is unfulfilled through their actions. When someone does avodah, they never feel that the work is complete. He explains that it is connected to the word eved - a slave who works for others and not for themselves. When one works for another person, and has to perform tasks they don't want to do, that is unsatisfying and incomplete work.
Avodah then has two connotations: Physical work, and not feeling like the work is complete.
It's interesting to note that the mitzvah of tefilla is called עבודה שבלב - work from the heart - from the pasuk of וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֵת ה' אֱלֹקֵיכֶם - and you should serve Hashem your G-d.
If tefilla is called עבודה, that means there are two things we can apply to tefilla based on the Rav. First, there is a physical element to tefilla. One needs to put mental effort and physical energy into their tefilla. Second, we can never feel like we are finished. You can never say "I'm done davening." There is always something more to daven for. The avodah of tefilla is never complete. We can fulfill the mitzvah to daven, but the need to daven to Hashem and thank Him, to ask for things and praise Him, is in no way ever satisfied.
2-Year-Old Class Newsletter

Dear Parents,

We've had a great week, and as we ease out of Purim, we are easing into Pesach.
On Wednesday, we sat with the students to write a poem. We wanted to see what they already knew about Pesach, and not surprisingly it was a very short poem, mostly about eating matzah. Our plan is to write another poem in a couple of weeks to see how much they've absorbed from hearing, smelling, feeling, tasting, and seeing our way through our Pesach adventures. We want them to be able to keep asking questions, just as the children do during the Passover Seder.

Some of our plans include crossing the Red Sea, making and tasting charoset, building with real cement and bricks, dipping parsley in salt water, and making our own challah from wheat that we grind ourselves. This way, the students can understand how long it really takes for the entire process, from mixing, to waiting for it to rise, and then baking it. We hope this will be a very concrete way to understand why we eat matzah during Pesach.

This week was full of group painting projects, including gluing our delicious-smelling lemon, lime, and orange slices from our science area to make a poster to celebrate the first day of spring. On Wednesday, we all drew with crayons and markers on a large mural taped to the wall while listening to the song "Happy" by Pharrell. We also made a few posters this week using many different colored paints.  

We did weaving in Art class, and Pesach songs in Music class. Morah Dayse used hula hoops in her Movement class, which was really fun! We even practiced our play about a panda bear who's trying to share his donuts, just waiting for someone to politely say, "Yes, please!"

We've been building structures using blocks, bricks, and cardboard, without mortar, to see that, although they may seem tall and sturdy, they usually fall down.  

We love using our doctor kit. One of the children even diagnosed Morah Tzipi with chicken pox!

We look forward to exploring Pesach using all of our senses, and plan on ending with a seder of our own.

Shabbat Shalom,

Morot Tzipi and Laura
Doing some weaving in Art class. What good fine motor skill practice! 
We really love tracing our hands. It tickles a little bit.
Something very funny is happening here...
We've brought new recycled "blocks" into our room to begin learning our Pesach curriculum. 

Here we are digging for treasures, using seashells as shovels 
These two are the dynamic duo of drumming.
Noam likes authenticity when it comes to changing her baby's diapers.
Elhanan and Naomi are gathering the fruits and vegetables together.
We make many beautiful artistic creations together. Here's one that uses lots of purple paint. 

Here's another group-made creation that we made on the first day of spring. We used delicious-smelling citrus slices and peels. We used oranges, lemons, and limes!
The weather was certainly cooperating with us this day, allowing us to make many different desserts, from pancakes to ice cream. 
And then this happened...while we were drawing on a mural while listening to the song "Happy" by Pharrell.
3-Year-Old Class Newsletter 
Dear Parents,

It was so nice seeing so many of you at our Parent-Teacher Conferences this week and last week. It was great to share with you the many things your children are doing in school.

This week, we have begun talking about Pesach. We started by asking the students what they already know about the story of Pesach. We reviewed how there was a mean Pharaoh who made the Jews works as slaves. We explained how the Jewish people worked hard, using bricks to build buildings for the Egyptians. The students used small styrofoam bricks and toothpicks to make creations. A teacher dressed up as Pharaoh to join the students in acting out the story, with the students playing the Jewish slaves. We discussed how Hashem tried to convince Pharaoh to let the Jewish people go by sending ten
makkot (plagues) that affected the Egyptians. The students used different materials to create makkot pictures, which are now hanging in our room. They also acted out marching out of Mitzrayim (Egypt) while singing "Dayeinu."

On Thursday, we had a mock seder to see what the students knew about what foods go on a seder plate and why. It was also a great way to review the order of the seder. The children made kiddush, washed their hands without a bracha, dipped karpas in salt water, and tasted a hard-boiled egg. We will be having another mock seder in a couple of weeks to see how much information the children have learned about this special holiday.

We started talking to the students about how we don't eat foods that are chametz on Pesach. We explained how yeast makes things rise, which is not allowed on Pesach. We looked at challah and saw how it is made with a dough that has risen. We then looked at matzah and saw how it is flat. We talked about how, when Pharaoh told the Jewish people they could leave, they had to pack up and go very quickly, before Pharaoh changed his mind. The Jewish people had been making bread, but it didn't have time to rise, which is why we eat foods that are chametz-free on Pesach. We discussed how matzah needs to be made in 18 minutes, and has many holes in it so there is no chance it will rise.

Pesach is filled with many wonderful songs, which we have begun to teach the students. This week, we have been singing "Dayeinu," "Mah Nishtanah," the order of the seder, and the "Frog" song.

Pesach Questions:
  1. What Hebrew month is Pesach in? (Nissan)
  2. Can we eat foods that are made with dough that has risen on Pesach? (No)
  3. What are these foods called? (Chametz)
  4. How many minutes does matzah need to be made in? (Eighteen)
  5. Who made the Jewish people slaves? (Pharaoh)
  6. What did Hashem do to convince Pharaoh to let the Jewish people go? (He sent makkot, or plagues)
  7. How many plagues were there? (Ten)

Shabbat Shalom,

Morot Leisa, Shayna, Tanya, and Marggie
Yosef, Dov, Ezra A., Liam, Charlie, and Sam created a ramp to launch their cars.
The children enjoyed a special visit from "Pharaoh" this week. They pretended to be the Jews working for Pharaoh in Egypt, and they needed to work together to build a pyramid. 
Sheva, Simcha, Amelie, Leo, Yosef, and Avital worked hard during Art class to practice their weaving. 

During Art class, Dov, Leah, Jonah, Gavriella, Charlie, and Ezra H. worked with red and yellow paint to make their own creations.

Avital, Sheva, and Jonah acted out choshech (darkness) from the makkot (plagues).

Yuval, Ella, Ezra A., Yosef, and Jonah pretended they were having a seder.

Ari's turn to hold a brick to feel what it was like for the Jews in Mitzrayim.

Avital, Sheva, and Yosef examined the chametz on the table one morning.

Hillel and Liam worked on their fine motor skills to make bracelets.

Simcha and Charlie enjoyed stringing Cheerios to make jewelry.

Gavriella, Ella, and Avital worked together to create a pyramid out of cups.
Avital, Simcha, Charlie, and Hillel experimented with matzah, water, and brushes. 

Ezra H., Sheva, Gavriella, Avital, Ari, and Hillel loved eating the matzah after they wet it themselves.

4-Year-Old Class Newsletter

Dear Parents,

It was so nice to see so many of you this week and last week for conferences!

Now that Purim is over, we have started thinking about Pesach. We have been experiencing different parts of the Pesach story. We started with pyramids. We made pyramids out of cardboard, cups, Legos, and blocks. We also made clay out of clay powder and water. It wasn't easy making bricks. "Pharaoh" even came to our classroom to make sure we were working very hard to make them.

We reviewed the עשר מכות (the ten plagues or punishments). We took out puppets and pictures of the plagues, and the students made their own puppets and pictures. Working with one or two partners, the students figured out how to show representations of the מכות on posters, which we then hung up in the classroom.

We also reviewed the part of the story where Bnei Yisrael crossed the ים סוף (Red Sea). The students were very excited to make the Red Sea and then cross over it, just like the Jews did long ago.

We made a model seder. We went through each of the steps up to tzafun, and saw what the students already knew, and what they had questions about. We sang the song of the steps of the seder, and learned hand motions to help us remember what happens at each part. We even started making pages for our very own haggadah that we will share with you at the seder.

Here are some Pesach questions (and answers) you can share with your children:

  1. What do we eat instead of bread? (Matzah)
  2. What story do we tell on Pesach? (The story of the Jews leaving Egypt or יציאת מצרים)
  3. What is the name of the special dinner we have on Pesach? (The seder)
  4. What are the first four steps of the seder? (Kadesh/ קדש - making kiddush, Urchatz/ורחץ - washing hands, Karpas/כרפס -dipping a green vegetable or potato in salt water, and Yachatz/יחץ - breaking the middle matzah)
  5. How many matzot do we have at the seder? (Three)

We also celebrated Ezra Levin's Birthday! Thank you to birthday boy and Shabbat Abba, Ezra L. for the yummy treat and challah that you brought for the party!

Shabbat Shalom!

Morot Irit, Mimi, and Sara

On Mondaywe made pyramids from boxes. We used brown and black paint to decorate the boxes.
After the boxes were painted, we added glue and sand.

We put the boxes up on the loft to make them pyramids. We had Pharaoh, played by Jacob, peeking out from them.

Eli and Adir made pyramids from small blocks.

Lior and Harel built pyramids from Magnatiles.

Dalia and Yehuda S. built a tall pyramid from paper cups. 

 Ezra L., Yonathan, and Lior built a pyramid out of blocks.

Shalhevet, Naftali, and Avigayil made a pyramid from small, flat blocks
We projected a transparency of pyramids onto a big, white paper we hung on the wall. Then we asked the students to trace them. Yonathan and Shira did a wonderful job! 

We put out clay mix and water to make bricks, just like the Jews used to do in Mitzrayim. Ezra A., Noemie, and Naava loved mixing the clay and shaping it into squares.

The students worked in pairs to create posters of all of the makkot
Jacob and Naftali used a lot of red paint to make the first מכה - blood דם.

Aviya and Dalia used markers and small black dots to make lice--כינים.

Lior and Esther also made מכות puppets from paper bags and markers.

We made matzah paper using markers, crayons, and paint.
We had our own model seder, including all of the steps. This one was kadesh.
Our seder included a seder plate, complete with maror, charoset, karpas, and an egg.
Here we are dipping the karpas into salt water.
Ezra L. found the afikomen!
Activity Spotlight: Music and Movement with Morah Dayse!
Dear Parents,

This is my second year at the Maimonides Early Childhood Center, where I have been given the opportunity to spend time "playing" with your children. As we observe them, we can see how much they thrive when moving, interacting, dancing, and creating.

We forget that the way they have acquired the spoken language is through playing with sounds, listening to the adults around them, and repeating what they have heard during these first years of their lives. Music is no different! It is a language that needs to be tapped into, or it will not be developed. In order to do that, we don't need to have studied music or know how to play an instrument. We just need to use the amazing instruments that are our voices and our bodies, and interact with the children.

Playing with sounds, inventing patterns to imitate back and forth, creating songs together, exploring pitches, rhythms, dances, and listening to different styles of music will allow this language of music to stay imprinted and alive in your child's heart. It will bring joy to the whole family as they continue to grow up.

All the best to you and your families!

Shabbat Shalom,

Morah Dayse

Morah Dayse does a hula hoop activity with the Superheroes

Exploring musical instruments!

Morah Dayse shows Hayim two fascinating objects

Let's drum on them!

"I roll the ball to Julia..."

"...she throws it back to me!"

Getting Ready for Yom Orchim
As we prepare to send out invitations for Yom Orchim (Visitors' Day) - which will take place on Friday, May 19th - we want to be sure your loved ones receive all the details so they can mark it on their calendars. If you have not yet provided us with contact information for your child's grandparents or special visitors (or if you have any questions), please contact Ellen Pulda, or at 617-232-4452 x423.  

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