ECC Weekly Newsletter 
March 31, 2017 - Nissan 4 5777

Parashat Vayikra

ECC Highlights
Robin's Message
Dvar Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Alumni Newsletter
2-Year-Old Class Newsletter
3-Year-Old Class Newsletter
4-Year-Old Class Newsletter
Yom Orchim
Help Write a Torah
ES, MS, and US Newsletters
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From Robin Meyerowitz

Dear Parents,

It was a very exciting week! We had a great time learning about Passover. The students acted out the story many times, learned  songs to sing at the seders or at your yom tov table, made mortar with real cement, had a chance to grind their own wheat, and even made grape juice!

We also had very special visitors on Thursday in the four-year-old class. Four members of the Israeli Knesset came to our class as part of the Ruderman Foundation Mission. They watched Morah Irit lead her amazing circle time completely in Hebrew, and learned a little bit about our Jewish Reggio-inspired program. It was a very exciting afternoon, and we were honored to have them visit us. 

Next week we have more fun and exciting events in store!

Shabbat Shalom,


Dvar Torah

by Rabbi David Saltzman

Sefer Vayikra opens by discussing a number of types of korbanot brought for various occasions and transgressions. One is called a korban oleh v'yored, a type of chatat offering (a korban for a sin) which is brought for one of three possible sins:
  • shevu'at ha'edut, the sin of a witness refusing to testify in a civil case when subpoenaed under oath.
  • tumat mikdash vekodshav, the sin of a tamei person entering the Beit HaMikdash or eating korbanot in his state of tumah.
  • shevuat bituy, the sin of violating one's oath.
Oleh v'yored means that the value of the korban changes (goes up or down - oleh v'yored) depending on the financial status of the individual. Someone wealthy needed to bring a sheep, a middle-class person brought birds, and someone poor brought flour as their korban. The Torah stratified these korbanot in order to provide everyone the opportunity to bring something that met their financial means and thereby receive forgiveness. Demonstrating both arvut and inclusion, the Torah wants to include everyone in this endeavor. Each person in the community had the opportunity to participate, and the amount of money one had didn't matter.
Students discussed how to apply this concept to our own lives. Some students suggested that all people have different skills and abilities. Some have more and some have less. But everyone should have the opportunity to participate in a game, project, or activity. The Torah teaches us the importance of making room for everyone who wants to join.
The Sefer HaChinuch gives reasons why these three transgressions have this inclusive option, while other sins do not. He first posits the purpose of korbanot in general:
כי ענין הקרבן להזכיר ולהשיב החוטא אל לבו בכח הפעולה, כי הרע מעשיו, ושיבקש מחילה לאל על העשוי, ויזהר על העתיד
The purpose of the korban is to remind the the transgressor of his misdeed through an action. Since he/she performed a sin, when s/he requests forgiveness it should also be through an action. These actions of forgiveness, through the korban, will serve as a reminder to not sin again.
He then explains the specific reason for the korban oleh v'yored for the transgression of violating one's oath:
הקל עליהם הכפרה בחטאים אלה להיות כפי עושר בני אדם ועניָם, לפי שכשלונם קרוב אצל בני אדם, שאין ספק כי חטא הלשון קרוב ותמידי יותר מחטא המעשה
G-d was lenient with this specific sin (of violating one's oath) and permitted one to bring a sacrifice according to their financial status thereby giving everyone access to forgiveness. Because transgressing this law is easier than violating other commands. There is no doubt that sinning with words and speech is easier, and more common and prevalent than sinning through one's behavior and actions.
The Torah understands that humans have limitations, and all people, no matter their social or financial status, need to feel good about themselves. All people also need to know that when they do something wrong, they have the opportunity to repent. Everyone, at all levels, needs the chance for a clean slate and a fresh start.

Thoughts of the Rav    
by Rabbi Dov Huff

"When a man from among you offers a sacrifice to Hashem..."
The Rav writes that this second pasuk in our parsha captures a central idea in Judaism: The act of sacrifice, the idea that man recognizes that all we have in fact belongs to Hashem. Man must offer everything to his Creator. How? By retreating and limiting ourselves in all aspects of our lives. 
Alumni Newsletter Online   
The monthly alumni newsletter for March is now online, and can be found here.  This issue's articles include:
  • Designer's Invitations, Centerpieces Reflect Her Clients' Personalities
  • Graduate to Be Guest Conductor of Philharmonic Orchestra in China
  • Television Commercial Director Says "Business Is What I Left Behind to Do What I'm Doing Now"
  • Alumni and Families Share Their Impressions of Purim 5777
If you would like to receive the alumni newsletter each month, contact Mike Rosenberg at (617) 232-4452 x 405 or

2-Year-Old Class Newsletter

Dear Parents,

We are happily exploring Pesach, and discovering what it means to the children. They have been putting on their own shows, singing songs, and integrating bits and pieces of the Pesach holiday into their everyday play.

This week we baked challah using wheat that the students ground themselves. We also created matzah covers that we are going to bring home. We experimented with bricks and mortar, apples and charoset, and we are acting out plays and spontaneously singing songs after hearing Morah Tzipi share the story of Pesach. We have bowls of frogs and wheat seeds, as well as matzah for them to eat.

We brought out the animal puppets this week, and the kids have been having such a good time pretending to be a big elephant, fluffy sheep, quick seal, or little rat.

The overhead projector is always one of our favorite things to play with. We started this week with transparencies of pyramids, and then ended with various objects projected onto the wall, including anything from a block to a pair of scissors. All of these interesting shadows look awesome projected up on our wall.

We are looking forward to even more Pesach exploration this week and next, from the parting of the Red Sea (Yam Suf) to eating some bitter herbs. We will end our Passover curriculum with a mock seder next week.

We hope you have a lovely Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom,

Morah Tzipi and Morah Laura

Morah Tzipi's friend Sharona Nahoumi brought in some wheat she had grown herself to show and share with the kids.
Here we are getting ready to choose whether we want to trace the word "matzah" or "Pesach" on our matzah covers.
Avishai is checking out the grinder we are going to use to make our own flour. 
Last Friday, Elhanan was our Shabbat Abba. He loved having his Abba, Ima, and brother join us in the classroom. 
We played and built with these great little bricks, and then we decided to construct something with them using cement. 
We had fun choosing different colors for decorating our matzah covers. 
We made our own charoset and loved using plastic knives to cut the apples into small pieces.

Even when the knife was upside down, Bella was able to skillfully cut up her apples.  
Daniel enjoyed mixing together the cinnamon and grape juice with the apples.

On Tuesday, we used real cement with our tiny bricks to build various structures.
Everyone created something unique and different. 
On Wednesday, we ground the wheat seeds and then used the flour to make challah. 
  Morah Tzipi made sure all the ingredients were ready before the students began the process of making delicious challah.
During Morah Hadassah's Yoga class, the students were pretending to lick ice cream cones.
Daniel really loved cutting up the apples for our charoset, which we ate for snack on Tuesday. 
3-Year-Old Class Newsletter 
Dear Parents,

We have been very busy getting ready for Pesach. The students have continued acting out the story of Pesach and singing Pesach songs. We even added the song "One is Hashem."

We started the week by discovering how flour is made. The students examined wheat kernels, and even ground them into soft flour, which was an exciting process!

The students each made a matzah cover on Thursday. They started by washing the
chametz off their hands and working on a covered table. They used droppers and liquid watercolors to make beautiful matzah covers. They are kosher l'Pesach, and we hope you enjoy using them over yom tov.

We started exploring the many things that are found on a seder plate. The students tasted some of the foods that are used for karpas, such as parsley, potatoes, and celery. They all voted on what their favorite was, and we graphed the results. The favorite karpas in our class was parsley. The students also squished grapes in ziploc bags to make grape juice. They thought it was delicious when they tasted it! They were amazed to see that grape juice was made by squeezing the grapes. We will be making charoset next week. We even made a large seder plate display that we have hanging in the classroom. The students glued sticks, pipe cleaners, leaves, and rocks onto a large, circle-shaped paper to represent the different foods found on the seder plate.

We have been looking at how yeast makes challah rise. On Wednesday, we made challah by adding yeast to water and flour. When we added the yeast to the warm water, the students saw how it started to foam. We explained that this is what makes the challah rise and become puffy. We used the flour that the students had ground earlier in the week and made the dough. They were very excited to make challah rolls, and even a challah shaped like a "minion." We enjoyed the challah on Thursday at snack time.

On Wednesday, we did an experiment to show how yeast and sugar in water creates carbon dioxide, which can make a balloon attached to the top of a water bottle inflate. We started our experiment by adding the yeast, sugar, and water to a water bottle. We shook it up to mix everything. In the next bottle, we added yeast and water without sugar. The last bottle had just water. We then attached a balloon to the top of each water bottle. After a little time, the students saw how the bottle that had the yeast, sugar, and warm water made the balloon inflate. The balloons on the other bottles did not inflate.

Pesach Questions:
  1. Before Hashem sent a makkah (plague), what did Moshe ask Pharaoh? (Let my people go)
  2. What did Pharaoh say? (No)
  3. What are the first nine makkot (plagues) that Hashem sent to convince Pharaoh to let the Jewish people go? (1. Dam - Blood,  2. Tzfardaya - Frogs,  3. Kinim - Lice,  4. Arov - Wild Beasts,  5. Dever - Sick Cattle,  6. Sh'cheen - Boils,  7. Barad - Hail, 8. Arbeh - Locusts, 9. Choshech - Darkness.)
  4. After the last makkah, did Pharaoh let the Jewish people go? (Yes)
  5. When the Jews were getting ready to leave, did they have time to let their bread dough rise? (No)
  6. What happened to their dough? (It didn't have time to rise. That's why we eat matzah on Pesach)

Shabbat Shalom,

Morot Leisa, Shayna, Tanya, and Marggie
Morah Leisa did a yeast experiment with the students.
The students watched the bowl to see the yeast make the challah dough rise. 
Avital, Leah, and Leo used real cement and tiny bricks to make pyramids. 

Charlie, Leah, Sheva and Ari investigated maror, parsley, and matzah with magnifying glasses. 

 Amelie and Avital loved seeing how the maror got bigger under the microscope.

Ari, Ezra A., and Hillel acted out being Jews and Pharoah in Mitzrayim.

Gavriella, Amelie, and Simcha tried out parsley, potato, and celery dipped in salt water.

Gavriella, Sheva, Simcha, and Avital squished grapes to make grape juice.


Ms DiOrio taught the children how to show and explain their artwork to each other.

Leo, Yosef, Yuval, Ella, and Amelie worked on weaving during Art class.

During Art, Charlie, Ayelet, Dov, Gavriella, and Avital painted their own creations.
Liat worked on our big Seder plate that is now hanging in the classroom. 

Yuval, Sam, and Ella dipped lots of different kinds of karpas in salt water.
Ezra H., Leah, and Charlie made sandwiches for korech.

4-Year-Old Class Newsletter

Dear Parents,

We have had a very busy week getting ready for Pesach! We have been working very hard on our haggadot for the seders. We have been singing songs and reviewing the story of Pesach. We have been singing the steps of the seder, עבדים הינו (Avadim Hayinu), מה נשתנה (Ma Nishtana), אביב הגיע (Aviv Higiah) and the first stanza of דינו (Dayanu). Most of these songs can be found in the haggadah, but the words to "Aviv Higiah" can be found below. We also started making our own pillows to lean on at the seder.

We taste-tested three types of karpas - potatoes, celery, and parsley - and wrote down what we liked best. We found out that many children really liked potatoes dipped in salt water.

Since we learned that yachatz is when we break the afikoman, we practiced breaking matzah and comparing piece sizes. We know that the bigger piece is the one we set aside for the afikoman.

We are also learning about the similarities and differences between challah and matzah. We know that they are both made from wheat flour, so we used a grinder to grind some wheat kernels into flour, then sifted that so we had finer, whole wheat flour. Using our flour, we made challah for this Shabbat. We noticed that this week, we added yeast to our dough to make it rise, which means that it is chametz.

We heard from Dalia that she went to the Kotel and delivered the notes we gave her to put there as tefillot to Hashem. Thank you, Dalia!

We also had some exciting guests - representatives from the Israeli Knesset and the Ruderman Family foundation! They came to see how we learn Hebrew and what we are learning for Pesach. The students did a great job showing what they know!

Shabbat Shalom!
Morot Mimi, Irit, and Sara

Words to Aviv Higiyah
Simcha Raba
Simcha Raba
Simcha Raba
Aviv Higiyah
Pesach Ba!

מילים לאביב הגיע
שימחה רבה
שימחה רבה
שימחה רבה
 אביב הגיעה
!פסח בא

In honor of פסח, we did a taste-test of different karpas כרפס. We had potato, parsley, and celery with bowls of salt water.
The students tried the different karpas כרפס, then had to write their name in a chart under their favorite karpas.

We did a sinking and floating experiment. There were two bins with water, and in one bin we added salt. The students checked if different objects like wood, leaves, and cubes would float or sink in the different bins.

The students loved playing פסח bingo! 

Lior and Noemie played with a bag of objects that represent the מכות.

The students made puppets of the מכות from paper bags.

The students really enjoyed grinding wheat to make bread.

They took turns, using the timer to know when the turn is over.
After we had ground the wheat into flour, the students made challah dough. 

They added the ingredients...

...and punched the dough.

The students made pillows to lean on during the seder. The first step was decorating one side of the fabric with liquid watercolors using droppers.  

The next step was decorating the second side with fabric markers. The students drew pictures representing פסח, and wrote the word "פסח" on the fabric.

We did a solving problem activity. After the students decorated the white fabric for the pillows, they needed to figure out how to connect the two sides. We offered glue, tape, staplers, hole punchers, and strings. Shira chose a stapler to connect her pillow.

We celebrated Morah Leisa's birthday. We sang birthday songs, danced, and had yummy cookies!

In Science, we experimented with how many items we could put on four eggs without breaking them.

We also did an experiment with milk, liquid colors, and a Q-tip dipped with salty soup. We saw how the colors move away from the soup.

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

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