March 17, 2017                          Parashat Ki Tisa                     19 Adar, 5777 
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Purim Carnival!
RSVP for DC Trip!
NEW TIME: Step Up to Upper School
Jerusalem Pita and Grill Lunches
Middle School Lit Mag
Yom Orchim
Baseball Tournament
Help Write a Torah
Absence Notifications
Division Newsletters
Online Photo Galleries

Quick Links
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Dear Middle School Families,   

There may have been only three days of classes this week, but they were very full days! This year's carnival was a rousing success, with fantastic games created and run by the eighth grade. The teachers appreciated a chance to meet with a number of parents on Wednesday during the conferences, and look forward to seeing the rest of you next Tuesday. Thursday and Friday were full of learning and fun.

Please read on for a d'var Torah with 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 and Rav Thoughts

by Rabbi Dov Huff


There is a dispute between Rashi and the Ramban as to what motivated the cheit haegel. Both are analyzing the following statement of the people to Aharon Hakohen:
Arise and make us a god to walk before us because the man Moshe who brought us up out of Egypt, we do not know what happened to him
Rashi, in focusing on the first clause, explains that they were looking for a deity. 
The Ramban, however, focusing on the second clause, explains that it was not G-d they were trying to replace, but Moshe Rabbeinu
The Rav has a unique perspective on the cheit, which in a way bridges these two ideas. He juxtaposes man's sin in Gan Eden to that of the cheit haegel. The Rav says that in Gan Eden, Adam and Chava thought that they had divine potential - they were, after all, created in G-d's image. They thought that all they needed was to eat from the fruit of the tree, and then they could be like their Creator. 
On the other hand, the golden calf, says the Rav, was about man's poor self-image. Idolatry in general, he explains, stems from a belief that lowly man cannot access a deity without the help of some medium. Not that the idol itself is a deity, but that it is a vessel in which some divine spirit will rest. Without the help of this intermediary, lowly man cannot dream of an audience with the divine. 
So for the Rav, Bnei Yisrael, who had been surrounded by the idolatry of Mitzrayim, saw Moshe Rabbeinu filling this purpose. Moshe Rabbeinu had performed miracles, extracted them from Mitzrayim, and safely guided them across the Yam Suf, delivering them from the hand of Amalek. He was their radio to Hashem. Without him, they would be lost. According to the Rav, with the eigel, the people were in fact searching for both. Because the loss of Moshe Rabbeinu by extension meant the loss of connection to Hashem.
The new, groundbreaking idea of Judaism is that each individual has access to G-d. We do not need a great rabbi, an idol, or a golden calf. Hashem has granted us the ability to speak to him as individuals. With all of our shortcomings and inadequacies, we have a direct link to our Creator. 
And how does that link express itself? Hashem grants us the ability to talk directly to Him through tefillah. The ability to daven is our backstage pass, allowing each and every one of us to do the impossible - to speak to the divine and unreachable G-d. The gift of tefillah allows us to cultivate our own special and unique relationship with Hashem.
Questions for the Shabbos table:
  1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning?
  2. Is tefillah something you take for granted? If so, how can you remind yourself how truly unique it is?
  3. Which aspects of our tefillah and avodat Hashem go counter to this idea and make it hard for us to have access? How might we overcome them?
Parent-Teacher Conferences

We're looking forward to next Tuesday's Parent-Teacher Conferences, delayed from this past Tuesday due to snow! If the time selected for March 14 will not work for you on March 21, please contact the Middle School office.

As previously scheduled, conferences on Tuesday, March 21 will follow a 12:00 p.m. dismissal. As a service to parents whose Elementary School students will be dismissed at 3:00, we are pleased to offer supervision for your Middle School students between 12:00 and 3:00. Please contact the Middle School office if you would like your child to stay past 12:00 on Tuesday. All children staying late should bring lunch. 

Purim Carnival
Monday's Purim carnival was a tremendous success! The popcorn and sno-cones were the perfect accompaniment to the creative costumes and homemade games and booths.


More pictures are available at our Phanfare site. The password to view the gallery is "maimoparents."

Eighth-Grade Trip to D.C. - Please RSVP!

Thank you to the parents who have sent in RSVP cards for their children to attend the DC trip! We are looking forward to hearing from the last few parents. If you have not yet responded, you can find the RSVP card here.

Please send in the card even if your child is not able to attend the trip.

TIME CHANGE: Step Up to Upper School
Please join the Upper School leadership for an interactive and information-filled evening with the dynamic Academic, Student Life and Social Work teams who will be guiding and engaging your children for the next four years. 

Please note that while the event remains on Tuesday, March 21, the time will now be 8:00 p.m. The event will take place in the Levy Library in the Saval campus, and a dairy dessert will be served.

If you haven't yet responded, please reply via the Paperless Post invitation you received or email Erin O'Brien at

Jerusalem Pita and Grill Lunches

Lunches from Jerusalem Pita and Grill will begin next Thursday! The order form, which can be found here, is due next Tuesday. The eighth grade students are delighted to share this opportunity with the Middle School! 

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

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.

Save the Date for Baseball Tournament

The M-Cat baseball team will host a new invitational day-school tournament this spring in memory of Ezra Schwartz, זק"ל ,'15. The games are scheduled for May 18-21 in Sharon. Other schools participating will be Atlanta Jewish Academy and two Manhattan schools, Ramaz and SAR High School. More details and the full schedule will be announced shortly.
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.

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