December 22, 2017 - 4 Tevet 5778 - Vayigash
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Pinat HaParasha
Chanukah Oh Chanukah
80th Anniversary Celebration
Learning and Mitzvah Program
Photo Booth from Maimo's 80th
Family Learning
Mouth Guards Needed
Next Principals' Coffees
Cold Weather Reminder
Mazel Tov!
Lost and Found
Town Hall Meeting
Social Time!
ECC/MS/US Newsletters
ES Calendar
Monday, Dec. 25-Monday, Jan. 2
Winter Vacation
No School

Wednesday, Jan. 10
Kindergarten Principals' Coffee 8:00-8:45 a.m.
As always, please see the Kol Rambam Weekly for the all-school calendar, events and PTA notes.
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Dear Parents,

We had another great week at school!
Please read on for the latest Elementary School news and information about upcoming events. 
D'var Torah
by Rabbi David Saltzman
וַיָּבֵא יוֹסֵף אֶת־יַעֲקֹב אָבִיו וַיַּעֲמִדֵהוּ לִפְנֵי פַרְעֹה וַיְבָרֶךְ יַעֲקֹב אֶת־פַּרְעֹה׃
Yosef then brought his father Yaakov and presented him to Pharaoh; and Yaakov greeted Pharaoh.
Towards the end of this week's parasha, Yosef brings Yaakov to meet Pharaoh, and Yaakov gives Pharaoh a bracha. What was the purpose and nature of this blessing? Ralbag suggests the following reason:
שראוי למי שיקבל טובה מאחֵר, שיכירה לו לפי מה שאפשר.
ולזה הביא יוסף את יעקב והעמידו לפני פרעה לכבוד פרעה ולברכו, ולתת לו תודה כעל כל אשר גמלהו מהטובות.
It's fitting for someone who received a benefit from another, to recognize that good as much as possible.
For this reason, Yosef brought Yaakov in front of Pharaoh to give honor, to bless and to give thanks to Pharaoh for all the good that Pharaoh did for Yosef.
According to Ralbag, Yaakov wanted to show hakarat hatov to Pharaoh. Yosef brought Yaakov to him so Yaakov could say "thank you" and give Pharaoh a blessing for saving the life of his son.
According to Rashi, the bracha was that
וּמַה בְּרָכָה בֵרֲכוֹ? שֶׁיַּעֲלֶה נִילוֹס לְרַגְלָיו, לְפִי שֶׁאֵין מִצְרַיִם שׁוֹתָה מֵי גְשָׁמִים אֶלָּא נִילוֹס עוֹלֶה וּמַשְׁקֶה, וּמִבִּרְכָתוֹ שֶׁל יַעֲקֹב וָאֵילַךְ הָיָה פַרְעֹה בָא אֶל נִילוּס וְהוּא עוֹלֶה לִקְרָאתוֹ וּמַשְׁקֶה אֶת הָאָרֶץ (תַּנְחוּמָא)
What was the blessing with which he blessed him? That the waters of the Nile might rise at his approach. Because Egypt does not drink (is not irrigated by) rain-water, but the waters of the Nile rise and irrigate it. And from the time when Yaakov blessed him and henceforth, whenever Pharaoh came to the Nile it rose at his coming, overflowed its banks and watered the land.
This bracha was quite fitting as a way for Yaakov to demonstrate hakarat hatov. Pharaoh saved Yosef's life and elevated him to a special royal status as second-in-command of the entire land. Yaakov does the same, as he elevates Pharaoh to god-like status by giving him control of the Nile river. That control, in essence, saves Pharaoh and his country from famine, as they are now able to irrigate and water the land.
We discussed with the students that it's important to show hakarat hatov not only for something that happens to you, but even when someone does a favor for a family member. Just as Yaakov showed hakarat hatov to Pharaoh for saving Yosef, one should show hakarat hatov to a person who assisted a member of your family.
Thoughts of the Rav
by Rabbi Dov Huff
The Midrash tells us that when Yosef hatzaddik sent wagons to his father, Yaakov avinu, to transport him back to Egypt, Yosef was confirming that he was alive by alluding to the final sugya, the last topic, that they had learned together before Yosef disappeared - the egla arufa, the case of a body found outside a city.
The Rav describes Yaakov Avinu's complex reaction upon hearing the news: Od Yosef chai, vechi hu moshel b'chol Eretz Mitzrayim.
On the one hand, Yosef is alive - his beloved son, the boy he raised with deep Jewish values. On the other hand, he has been integrated into Egyptian society in an extreme way. He is the ruler!
This is why the Rav says that the subtle reference to egla arufa was so important. Not only to show that Yosef still identified with the Torah, but on a deeper level as well. The mitzvah of egla arufa dictates that when we find a dead body outside of the city, the elders come out with a cow and exclaim over the corpse, "our hands did not spill this blood." The Mishna in Sotah is surprised by this. Do we have any suspicion that the beit din, the Torah scholars, the leadership, committed this murder? Certainly not. Rather, this is Jewish responsibility towards our fellow man. It means that we take responsibility for not taking better care of this victim. 

This, says the Rav, was the deeper message of the wagons. Yosef was saying, "I am still Yosef. I may be the ruler of Egypt, but I am a ruler in the way that you taught me. I am ruling in Egypt by the values of Yaakov avinu. With responsibility, care, and sensitivity." 
Pinat HaParasha
Please click here  to view the  Pinat  HaParasha for Parshat Vayigash. You are encouraged to print the document and use it as a source for discussion at the Shabbat table.
Chanukah, Oh Chanukah
Chanukah this year created wonderful opportunities for both in-class and schoolwide celebrations!
Last Friday, on the third day of Chanukah, our shlichot Avigail and Renana ran a "Story of Chanukah" contest during lunch for grades 2-3 and 4-5. For dessert, all students were treated to delicious sufganiyot by the PTA.
Students in grades 3-5 began Tuesday, which was both the seventh day of Chanukah and Rosh Chodesh Tevet, with the davening of Hallel and Musaf.  Our annual Mesibat Chanukah took place on the same day. Our generous PTA treated everyone to a lunch of pizza and latkes, and we listened and danced to Chanukah music expertly played by the Upper School jazz band.  We also heard a fascinating d'var Torah delivered by 11th graders Talya Saltzman and Eve Spear.  The 2nd - 5th grade chorus then sang several Chanukah songs, and the Activity Period Israeli Dancers performed a lively "Hoppa Hoppa Hey" dance for everyone.  

The shlichot also ran a Chesed Chaverim activity for grades 3-5, focusing on the idea that each of our small flames can be joined together to form a large and powerful flame. They told a story about "paying forward" a mitzvah and asked the students to write down and share a memory of a time they performed a mitzvah by helping someone, and discuss how that made them feel. The shlichot taught the students that in the same way, when one flame lights another, it adds light without taking away from its original light.  The activity ended with each student using a wax candle to write something nice about the student sitting next to them, and then hand the paper to that person.  The messages were unreadable until the students colored over the wax with a pencil, at which time the positive message was revealed.

80th Anniversary Celebration
Wednesday was a very special day at Maimo as the entire school came together to officially launch our 80th Anniversary. The celebration began with a skit featuring "former" Maimo students from previous decades, dressing and talking like it was still the era in which they attended. The 1960's were particularly interesting!   
Following the skit there was dancing, singing, games, and arts and crafts at various booths, where the older students shared their talents with the younger children.  Maimonides birthday cookies baked and decorated by Hamorah Rachelli were enjoyed by all.  The extravaganza culminated with the exciting announcement that in honor of our 80th, Maimo will be hosting a concert on March 8th featuring Israeli superstar Gad Elbaz.   
It was a day both to recognize our roots, and to feel great pride in where we are today.  See it through your child's eyes with this 80th Kick-Off video.


Vacation Learning and Mitzvah Program
We are excited to offer our learning and mitzvah program for winter vacation. Click here for a list of mitzvot that each student can perform daily. Simply place a check mark in the box next to the appropriate mitzvah which your child performed. After vacation, please submit the chart to your child's limudei kodesh teacher with a parent signature. Students who choose to return a completed chart will receive a certificate of completion.

This program is completely optional and all students are welcome to participate. Enjoy vacation!

Photo Booth at 80th Celebration
At the 80th Anniversary celebration, Ms. DiOrio set up an interactive photo booth with props. Many children took photos, and some of them chose to take home a printed copy. Click here to view all of the photos, and feel free to download your children's pictures!

Family ChanuKoding
On Sunday we had our first-ever Family Learning combined with computer coding, which we called ChanuKoding. Families learned some halachot about kindling the Chanukah lights, including whether and when one can use an electric chanukiah. Families then had the opportunity to "train" KIBO robots to light a chanukiah and to search for a jug of oil.  Families also coded using ScratchJr. to create scenes of families flipping latkes, celebrating the holiday, or lighting the chanukiah. Many thanks to HaMorah Dani for all of her efforts in making this event a success!

Make sure to join us on  January 21 for the next Family Learning session!

Floor Hockey Unit in Physical Education
Please Send Mouth Guards
The 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders will be starting their floor hockey unit in gym class after winter break, and it will last approximately three weeks. The school will provide eye protection (goggles/ masks), and it is advised to send a mouth guard for your child to use during this unit. Mouth guards can be purchased at most sporting goods stores.

Next Round of Principals' Coffees
The next round of Principals' Coffees  will begin with Kindergarten parents.  The Kindergarten coffee will take place  Wednesday, January 10, from 8:00-8:45 a.m. in the library on the third floor. Principals' coffees are taking place for parents of students at each grade level on mornings in January and February. The coffees are an opportunity for parents to talk with the principals, ask questions, give input, and learn more about different aspects of Maimonides students' life and learning at a particular grade level.

Come and meet other families from your child's class and ask the principals questions about the class, curriculum, or anything else!
Upcoming coffees:
1st grade - Wednesday, January 17
2nd grade - Wednesday, January 24 
3rd grade - Wednesday, January 31
4th grade - Wednesday, February 7
5th grade - Wednesday, February 14
Important Cold Weather Reminder
Although the cold New England winter weather has arrived, we continue to enjoy outdoor recess unless the temperature is below 20 degrees. Students should be reminded that they must bring warm winter coats, hats (or hoods), and gloves to school each day. They are required to bring these out to recess with them, but may take off layers as they warm up when playing outdoor recess games. When there is snow on the ground, students need to wear boots in order to walk on snowy areas and snow pants if they want to play in the snow. Students will not be permitted to stay indoors during recess.

Mazel Tov!

Send us your simchas!  Please share your simcha announcement s with us by send ing details to
Lost and Found - השבת אבידה
With the arrival of cold weather, we have found more and more jackets, sweatshirts, sweaters, hats, and gloves left outside at recess and in other public spaces in the building.  We have amassed a large collection of high-quality, fairly new winter clothing, none of them bearing any students' names. 

We request again that you put your child's names on their items so that we can easily return them when found.  Most jackets and coats come with sewn-in labels which only require a marker to write your child's name.

We will be donating all remaining unclaimed items at the end of winter break.

Town Hall Meeting in Brookline
The Maimonides School Board of Directors
invites parents to a
Town Hall Meeting
Steven Schwartz, Board Chair, and Naty Katz, Head of School, look forward to meeting with you after winter break, listening to your suggestions and concerns, and benefiting from this opportunity for open dialogue.

These meetings are intended to focus on the non-academic issues within the purview of the Board such as day school affordability, financial matters, and other topics of interest to the community.     
The next Town Hall Meeting will take place Wednesday, January 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Brookline - click here to respond.

Please check your e-mail for full details of the meeting location, or write to for more information.
There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion during the meeting. To help us prepare, we encourage you to submit questions in advance to
We look forward to an evening of engaging conversation with you.

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.  
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram

See What's Happening in the Other Divisions
Lots of wonderful things are happening at Maimonides School!

If you'd like to take a peek at what's happening in the other divisions, click to visit the Early Childhood Center, Middle School, or Upper School newsletter pages.

If you would like to contact a specific school office, please use these emails:

!שבת שלום
Rabbi, Reena, and the Maimonides ES Faculty