ECC Weekly Newsletter 
February 9, 2018 - 24 Shevat 5778
Parashat Mishpatim
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
Alumni Newsletter
Kehilla Trip
Social Time!
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, so please make sure your son wears some 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,

Wacky Wednesday was such a fun day! The children really got into it, creating a hospital, a police station, an EMS station, and a fire station. Everyone got to try everything, and we learned a lot about the people who do these very important jobs. Thank you for sending in items to enhance our experience!
Morah Chera Garlick started as an assistant teacher in the 4-year-old classroom on Monday. She is a warm, loving, and attentive teacher. We l ook forward to the next few months with her in our school!
I am fortunate to be a member of Mesora, a cohort of Orthodox directors of Reggio Emilia-inspired early childhood centers. We have collectively begun a research study on the effect of the classroom environment as the "third teacher" (the parents and teachers are the first and second). We are measuring the power of the classroom environment to teach the students about the holidays of Purim and Pesach once the room is transformed to reflect the holiday. I have begun interviewing our students to assess their knowledge of the holidays, and will be documenting their learning in the next few weeks. Please check your email for a letter with more details about this. I look forward to sharing our fascinating findings with you!
Shabbat Shalom,

Dvar Torah
by Rabbi David Saltzman      

In the middle of chapter 23 in Parashat Mishpatim, the Torah lists a number of mitzvot in an intriguing order. Most of the parasha discusses
mitzvot about judges, damages, property, and other aspects of human co-existence and interactions. The beginning of chapter 23 begins much the same, and then transitions into Shabbat and Shemita in the context of social responsibility (making sure others have food during
Shemita and the requirement that your household has a day of rest). Then, all of the sudden, the Torah diverts from these laws and we read about our relationship with G-d:
וּבְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־אָמַרְתִּי אֲלֵיכֶם תִּשָּׁמֵרוּ וְשֵׁם אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים לֹא תַזְכִּירוּ לֹא יִשָּׁמַע עַל־פִּיךָ׃
Be on guard concerning all that I have told you. Make no mention of the names of other gods; they shall not be heard on your lips.
This mitzvah is followed by the command to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem 3 times a year:
שָׁלֹשׁ רְגָלִים תָּחֹג לִי בַּשָּׁנָה
Three times a year you shall hold a festival for Me
What is the reason for this order of mitzvot?
The Abravanel comments on the connection between mentioning other gods and the pilgrimage to Yerushalayim.
ואפשר לומר עוד כי מפני שבימים הקדמונים כל מי שהיה עושה עו"ג מיד היה עושה חג עליה
He writes that when making an idol, it was common that this act would be commemorated with a party (he brings the story of the Egel as an example). Therefore, G-d instructs us that three times a year we need to make a pilgrimage and celebrate with G-d Himself.
The Alshich explains the connection between Shemita and the chagim. If the people keep the laws of Shemita, there will be enough food for everyone in the country without anyone having to work (since it is not permitted to plant).
In order to fulfill that condition, all G-d asks from us is to journey to the Beit Hamikdash three times a year, pay tribute to Him, and recognize the good that He provides to us throughout the entire seven-year Shemita cycle. As an act of hakarat hatov for the plentiful harvest which provides enough food for the entire populace, even in years when planting is forbidden, these pilgrimages are a small demonstration of our gratitude for all of this good that is provided to us by G-d.
Thoughts of the Rav    
by Rabbi Eliezer Bercuson  
The lex talionis - the principle of retributive justice - is the touchstone of much of history's anti-Jewish sentiment.  Rav Soloveitchik says these opponents of Jewish tradition claim that the law of "an eye for an eye" (Ex. 21:24) makes halakhah look cruel and vengeful, and, conversely, other religions compassionate and kind.  While the plain meaning of the Torah itself is that when one person blinds another person's eye, the former's eye should be blinded, our sages explain the practical law differently.  Chazal understand that, in such a situation, the damager should pay the damaged person the value of an eye.  Rather than "ayin tachat ayin," the law becomes "mamon tachat ayin."
Rambam considers this to be not a rabbinic interpretation of the law but actually a law intended at Sinai, a halakhah l'Moshe mi'Sinai.  That is, from the moment the Torah was given, G-d intended the law to be "money for an eye," not "an eye for an eye."  The Rav then asked: If the Torah had always meant that a damaged eye should be replaced by money - and not by an actual eye - why was the Torah phrased in such a way?
He answers that if the Torah had said "mamon tachat ayin," it would have degraded the image of the human body.  No monetary value, in fact, can be given to a human limb.  Human beings are creatures designed to serve G-d, and our bodies were made for that purpose.  It would be an insult to G-d's creation to place a monetary value on a human limb.
The divine penalty for blinding a person is, in fact, that the damager should be blinded.  However, the Torah does not give human beings the authority to carry out that punishment.  Human beings are imperfect; we err; we sin.  We cannot consistently or fairly mete out strict punishment.  The halakhah l'Moshe mi'Sinai prevents us from ruling on law in the same way as G-d could.  The Talmud (Makkot 7) looks askance at any Jewish court that uses capital punishment even once every 70 years.  Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon refused to ever use capital punishment.  The best that we can do is to provide the damaged party with some sort of restitution.
The lex talionis thus reflects the divine image of humankind better than any of its detractors ever could have imagined.

2-Year-Old Class Newsletter
Dear Parents,  

Last Thursday, the shlichot (Israeli student ambassadors) came to tell us a famous story about Tu B'Shevat. The students love hearing stories, especially ones with puppets.

Morah Tzipi also acted out the story of how Moshe crossed the sea and climbed up Har Sinai to receive the two tablets.

We continue to take care of all our plants by watering them every day. Hopefully we will be able to transfer them outside in the spring.

We had our second Wacky Wednesday this week. It was all about Everyday Heroes, including hospital staff, firefighters, police officers, and EMTs. The students were divided into groups, and everyone got to participate in the activities in each classroom. Our classroom became a hospital. The children pretended to be patients and doctors. They wore scrubs, used crutches and a wheelchair, and used a pretend IV for some baby dolls. The 3-year-old room was a fire station. The students dressed up like firefighters, went in the fire station loft, practiced dialing 911, and went in two fire trucks. The four-year-old classroom was an ambulance and a police station. In the ambulance half of the classroom, the students could stitch up paper people and make paper casts. In the police station, the students made fingerprints and police badges. They also used the top part of their loft as a "jail." It was a really fun day!

We hope you enjoy this week's photos!
We love being such an integral part of the whole school. Thanks to the lovely shlichot for telling us a Tu B'Shevat story on Thursday. 
Art class last Friday morning was all about contrasting colors. Black on white, and white on black. Can you see the copies of M.C. Escher lithographs that Ms. DiOrio put on the table? 
You never know where you might find a great place to read.
The children learn so much when Morah Tzipi enthusiastically acts out the parsha stories. Here she has Moshe Rabbeinu on Har Sinai, with Bnei Yisrael at the bottom of the mountain.
 Being an integral part of the story by acting it out ourselves helps make the learning fun and memorable.
Crossing the Yam Suf (Red Sea) that we helped create with the three- and four-year-olds. 
There is a new game in our room that started with sorting out our applesauce tops.
On Tuesday, the children wanted to set up their own Shabbat table. Here they are "eating" the leftover latkes - luckily they are only made of paper.
Being a patient when the doctors listen to your tummy can be a ticklish affair.

Having a really good time during Monday afternoon's yoga class! 
During Wacky Wednesday, all the children visited each other's classrooms. Here the three-year-olds are playing in our hospital.
We even had this in our hospital. Everyone got to experience what it felt like to sit and ride in a wheelchair. Amiel even put on some braces for the full experience.
The children really loved every aspect of our hospital. They learned that doctors and nurses are really special people.
There was a fire engine in the three-year-old room, with fire hats and jackets too. 
Look at one of our young doctors at work, helping Morah Marggie take care of her ears.

Shabbat Shalom ,
Morot Laura and Tzipi
3-Year-Old Class Newsletter 
Dear Parents,

We continued our firefighter unit this week by working on our literary skills. The students demonstrated their knowledge of firefighters as we wrote a class poem called "Red, Yellow, and Orange." First we read a few different types of poems to the students, and then they were ready to create their own. Our poem is hanging up in our class. Please come in and take a look!

Throughout the unit, we have been reading many books with the class about fire trucks, firefighters, and the different jobs they do. We then wrote our own class story about firefighters going to put out a fire. The students added a lot of details to our story! This story is also hanging up in our class.
We are very excited about our upcoming field trip to the Brookline Fire Station next Wednesday, February 14th. We need a few more parent volunteers. Please let us know if you can help.

This past Wednesday we had our second Wacky Wednesday. This time it was all about Everyday Heroes, including firefighters, police officers, hospital staff, and ambulance EMTs. The students were divided into groups, and everyone got to participate in the activities in each classroom. The two-year-old classroom became a hospital. The children pretended to be patients and doctors. They wore scrubs, used crutches and a wheelchair, and saw a pretend IV. Our room was a fire station. The students dressed up like firefighters, went in our fire station loft, practiced dialing 911, and went in two fire trucks. The four-year-old classroom was an ambulance and a police station. In the ambulance half of the class, the students could stitch up paper people and make paper casts. In the police station, the students made fingerprints and police badges. They also used the top part of their loft as a "jail." It was a really fun day!

For Parshat Mishpatim , we talked about rules for making us responsible for our actions. Hashem teaches Bnei Yisrael how to treat people who work for them fairly. If you borrow something, you must remember to return it or replace it. Also, you should not speak unkind words about other people ( lashon hara ). We also talked about eating kosher foods, and discussed what makes something kosher. We read Fins and Scales: A Kosher Tale by Deborah Uchill Miller, which is about which foods are kosher. We then looked at different hekshers found on boxes of food in our class. Some of the students looked at packages in their lunches to find the heksher , and were so excited when they pointed them out to their morot and friends!

Parsha Questions :
1. What is the name of the parsha ? ( Mishpatim )
2. Why shouldn't we speak lashon hara ? (It makes people feel badly)
3. Why is it important to return other people's things?
4. If someone borrowed a toy from you and didn't return it, how would you feel?
5. What do the hekshers on packaged food tell us? (That the food is kosher)

Shabbat Shalom ,

Morot Leisa, Shayna, and Sara
        On Wacky Wednesday, we visited each classroom. In the 2s room, we were doctors, nurses, and patients.
We took our jobs seriously!
We got to use toy stethoscopes...

...and real ones!
We painted the outsides of the planters before we filled them with soil.

In the 4s room on Wacky Wednesday, we practiced being EMTs in an ambulance, and even made paper casts.

The four-year-old class helped show us how to be EMTs.
They were also great patients.
Suited up and ready to go!

We also had turns to play in our own room on Wacky Wednesday. Watch out for that fire hose!  
We practiced writing and dialing 911.
We had fire extinguishers.
We hopped into our fire truck to go on a call!
The children used all their skills to fight the fires together.
Take the wheel!
During provocation time, the children used firetrucks and firemen to put out the burning house.  
We worked together as a team!
During Music class, the children each got turns singing and sitting on Morah Linda's lap.  
It was so fun!
We have been using a special big siddur to help us daven and the kids are so excited to have turns being the chazan/chazanit.
4-Year-Old Class Newsletter

Dear Parents,

This has been a really fun week. We especially enjoyed Wacky Wednesday! It was so much fun pretending to be firefighters, EMTs, doctors, and police officers. The students wrapped up boo-boos, stitched up cuts, put out fires, put bad guys in jail, made police badges, and got to ride in a wheelchair! As part of Wacky Wednesday, we had the students work on making either walkie-talkies or ambulances.

We have also been working on our social skills. We practiced following the rules or the group plan. We have been using the language of "rock brain" and "flexible brain" to explain how we can change our thoughts and not get stuck on one thing. We played a game where we practiced showing what we were thinking in a thought bubble and changing our thoughts.

This week's parsha is Parshat Mishpatim . Mishpatim are rules from Hashem that are listed in the Torah. We learned specifically about the rule of eating dairy and meat separately, and being especially nice to people who are alone.

Here are some parsha questions (and answers) from this week:
1. What are mishpatim ? (Rules)
2. How many special rules are on the luchot ? (Ten)
3. What should we not eat together? (Milk and meat)
4. What are some examples of dairy/milk foods? (Cheese, yogurt, pizza etc.)
5.  What are some examples of meat foods? (Turkey, chicken, roast beef, hot dogs, etc.)
6. Who went by himself up on Har Sinai to get the luchot ? (Moshe Rabbeinu )
Thank you to our Shabbat Abba , Ezra Adelsky, for the yummy Shabbat treat and challot !

Shabbat Shalom !

Morot Mimi, Irit, Nechi, Marggie, and Chera

Making Hebrew letters at snack time
Getting signs ready for Wacky Wednesday  

Emergency, ambulance!
This was our EMS station

And this was our police station!

We helped direct traffic!


When our 2-year-old friends came to the police station, we took their fingerprints.

We made our own police badges
We took good care of our friends in our EMS station...
...and our teachers!
Our EMTs practiced their "stitches"
We visited the hospital in the 2-year-old room
In the 3-year-old room's fire station, we practiced dialing and writing  911
And as firefighters, we took a ride in the fire truck!
Alumni Newsletter Online
The monthly alumni newsletter for January is now online, and can be fou nd here . This issue's articles include:
  • Classmates Reconnect for a Professional and Personal Tour in Israel
  • Alumna Passionate about National Park Experience and Challenges
  • Three Collegiate Alumni Help Build Bridges, Literally and Metaphorically 
If you would like to receive the alumni newsletter each month, contact Mike Rosenberg at (617) 232-4452 x 405 or
Maimonides Kehilla Trip to Launch 

Social Time!
There's so much going on here at Maimo! Be sure to check out our social media to get the inside scoop (with lots of great photos) on happenings at school.  
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See what's happening in other divisions
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