May 5, 2017                     Parshiot Acharei Mot-Kedoshim                9 Iyar, 5777 
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Rav Thoughts
Yom HaZikaron
Yom HaAtzmaut
Yom Orchim
Alumni Newsletter
Middle School Lit Mag
Help Write a Torah
Absence Notifications
Division Newsletters
Online Photo Galleries

Quick Links
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Dear Middle School Families,   

We enjoyed celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut with your children this week! 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   
Veahavta l'reacha kamocha - Rabbi Akiva said this is a great principle of the Torah.
And just how great is it? If we look at the mitzvot in this week's parsha, many revolve around protecting the dignity of our fellow human beings. Most of the mitzvot grouped under the umbrella of kedoshim tihiyu are bein adam lechaveiro. Giving charity to the poor, caring for the convert, protecting one another, supporting the deaf and blind, and the list goes on. The placement and grouping of these mitzvot in Parshat Kedoshim delivers a powerful message: That how we treat other people is a measure of how kadosh we are. Failure to care for each individual is a fundamental flaw in our Jewish DNA. As the gemara  tells us regarding someone who does not perform acts of kindness, "it is known that they are not from the descendants of Avraham."
It is clear that protecting human dignity is in a category of its own, worthy of the importance assigned to it by Hillel Hazaken when asked to summarize the Torah on one foot: "That which you dislike, do not do to your friend. The rest is just commentary." The kadosh community, sensitive to the needs of each and every individual, is the polar opposite of the Sodom society which punishes chessed, the Egyptian society which enslaves people, the Amalek society which preys on the weak, and the Canaanite society which sacrifices its own children to Molech. While the Torah society holds each person as sacred, the Sodom society devalues and abuses the other.
The past week and a half have highlighted the contrast between these two models. Last week we commemorated Yom Hashoah. Mr. Sam Weinreb, a survivor, told us that upon his arrival at Auschwitz he was told "he wouldn't have to remember his name - only his number." The Nazis tried to strip him not only of his dignity but also of his name, identity, and humanity. Contrast that with our commemoration of Yom Hazikaron. We watched a slide of all the kedoshim who were killed in the last year. We saw each one and we read their names out loud. The Am haKadosh values each life as precious. Each person has a name and must be loved, honored, and cherished.
And then we celebrated Yom Haatzmaut. We celebrated the gift of the land that we only deserve because we have a society which protects human dignity. How do we know that the gift of Eretz Yisrael depends on the social justice of our society? Because the end of the parsha warns us to keep these mitzvot so that "the land will not vomit you out." Eretz Yisrael is allergic to a lack of chessed. A Sodom-like society is rejected by the land. Our celebration of Yom Haatzmaut is not only a celebration of the land Hashem has gifted us but also a recognition of the fact that we only retain it because we have a just society, one which embraces the stranger rather than shunning them, one which bolsters the needy rather than taking advantage of them,  one which remembers names instead of erasing them.
Questions for the Shabbos table:
  1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning?
  2. How does Parshat Kedoshim stretch your definition of kedusha?
  3. Why is this especially appropriate for this time of year?
Rav Thoughts
by Rabbi David Saltzman

הִתְקַדִּשְׁתֶּם וִהְיִיתֶם קְדשִׁים
You shall sanctify yourselves and be holy
The Rav explains that an individual does not become holy through mystical adhesion to the absolute, nor through a boundless all-embracing ecstasy, but rather through one's whole biological life, through one's animal actions, and through actualizing the halacha in the physical world.
Holiness consists of a life ordered by, and in accordance with, the halacha, and finds its fulfillment in observance of the laws regulating human biological existence, such as the laws concerning forbidden sexual relations, forbidden foods, and similar precepts. It was not for naught that the Rambam included these prohibitions in the Laws of Holiness in the Mishnah Torah.
Yom HaZikaron Ceremony
Yom HaZikaron was observed Monday with special programming remembering those who lost their lives defending Israel, as well as those who were killed in terrorist attacks. Combined ceremonies for Middle and Upper School students and teachers included memorial prayers, songs and poetry, and reflections by two Israel Defense Forces soldiers who were our special guests.  

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Yom HaAtzmaut Celebration

Yom HaAtzmaut at Maimonides started out in grand style with the entire school together, from the Early Childhood Center through Grade 12, reenacting the historic United Nations vote that created the modern State of Israel. We were also treated to a reenactment of David Ben-Gurion's famous speech establishing the new country.

Once the State of Israel was established, the seventh-graders electrified the audience by running into the room for their daglanut presentation, performed with well-practiced skill to a happy beat.

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Then it was time to celebrate as the Israeli people did, joining hands, singing, and dancing with joy to have our own country at last.

As the dancing came to an end, the school stayed together for a parade, accompanied by a flag-covered 'float'!

When the parade began,

the students walked the float along the route.

In the afternoon, following a delicious Israeli lunch sponsored by the PTA, the Middle School students joined with the Elementary School students to create a Lego model of Yerushalayim. They showed amazing unity and focus as they built, and heard a fascinating talk about the buildings and walls they had created.


Yom Orchim is Friday, May 19!
Yom Orchim, coming up on Friday, May 19, is a special day when we welcome visitors into our school to "get to know Maimo." Invitations have been mailed to those grandparents and relatives who are already in our database. Please contact Ellen Pulda,, 617-232-4452 x423 if there is someone you'd like to invite who has not yet received an invitation. Remember, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbors are welcome to be your child's guest. You may also forward the link to our registration page:

For questions about Yom Orchim, please contact Ellen at the above email or phone number.

Alumni Newsletter Online
The monthly alumni newsletter for April is now online, and  
can be found here.  This issue's articles include:
  • Retiring Administrator Will Cap a Six-Decade Maimonides Experience
  • Alumnus Helps Lead Rapidly-Developing Cardiac Care Procedure
  • Environmental Amity Can Transcend Middle East Hostility, Alumnus Feels
  • Graduate Loves - and Limits - Club Baseball at UMaryland
If you would like to receive the alumni newsletter each month, contact Mike Rosenberg at (617) 232-4452 x 405 or 


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.

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, and Chag Kasher V'Sameach!


Brian Cohen



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