February 16, 2018 - 1 Adar 5778 - Terumah
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Pinat HaParasha
Beracha Bee
Fifth Grade Principals' Coffee
Family Learning
Vacation Mitzvah Chart
Purim Dress-Up Days
Costume Guidelines
Choral Festival
Screen Time
Cold Weather Reminder
Lost and Found
Social Time!
ECC/MS/US Newsletters
ES Calendar
Monday, Feb. 19- 
Friday, Feb. 23
February Vacation, 
No School

Wednesday, Feb. 28
Ta'anit Esther
3:00 p.m. Dismissal

Thursday, March 1
No School

Friday, March 2
Purim Carnival

Tuesday, March 6
Faculty Meeting
3:00 p.m. Dismissal

Wednesday, March 14
Noon Dismissal
Parent-Teacher Conferences

Thursday, March 15
No School
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Friday, March 16
Begin 2:30 p.m. 
Friday Dismissal
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 a 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
In the parasha this week, Bnei Yisrael are commanded to take a תרומה of specific items and give them to Hashem for the purpose of building the Tabernacle. What does the word תרומה mean, and what were Bnei Yisrael  really commanded to do?
Rabbi S.R. Hirsch explains that the word תרומה comes from the word להרים which means to elevate. Bnei Yisrael were very wealthy following their redemption from Egypt. They brought with them to the desert all the riches and treasures which they acquired from the Egyptians.
How could they use this newfound wealth properly? Hashem was teaching the Jewish people that when you separate a portion of your money and dedicate it to G-d for a holy purpose, this infuses an element of spirituality into something that is normally mundane. Money and wealth can be used mundanely, and they can be lifted to sanctity by portioning out some to G-d. Our goal is to look for opportunities in our regular everyday existence and convert them into lofty spiritual experiences which help us forge a closer bond with our Creator.
Over the last month we have been learning about ברכות in the context of hakarat hatov . Reciting a ברכה before eating is an excellent example of taking a routine experience (eating) and imbuing that act with a higher purpose. Expressing our true hakarat hatov by reciting a ברכה before partaking of and enjoying the food truly elevates that occasion to something spiritually special.
Speaking of ברכות , we completed the Beracha Bee this week! See the article below.
Click here to save or print the D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
by Rabbi David Saltzman 

The Rav asks what he calls an obvious question: Why was the Mishkan necessary? Why did G-d need a home? The Rav answers that G-d does not need a home. On the contrary, G-d contracts Himself - He limits Himself from infinity down to a finite small house, and resides between the keruvim.
The Mishkan is really for man. It's a home for man, who is a homeless being. Being homeless means that man is exposed to nature and to a future which he cannot foresee. Humans have the ability to anticipate the future, but that sometimes causes endless suffering, as we constantly think about an event that might happen or which is destined to happen.
A bayit - a home in which man lives - can never offer man total security. There is only one home that can truly provide security. That is Hashem, who is called makomo shel olam - that is to say, the universe is within G-d. The only home where man can find security is within G-d.
The Mishkan therefore was built to provide man with a home, offered by the Almighty, where he can be close to G-d and feel that he is protected by His guiding hand. 

Pinat HaParasha
Please click here  to view the  Pinat  HaParasha for Parshat Terumah. You are encouraged to print the document and use it as a source for discussion at the Shabbat table.
Beracha Bee
What is the  beracha  on pumpkin seeds? How about the beracha  on pieces of bread which are smaller than an olive and are mixed together with a liquid? What would be the beracha  on cereal made from corn flakes with a lot of milk?

If you know the answers for these foods, you would have had a good chance of winning the 
Beracha Bee this week. After weeks of studying the Berachot Rishonot and Acharonot for hundreds of foods, memorizing numerous berachot by heart, and learning the categories of berachot and many halachot, our students were ready to square off and test their knowledge. 

Each contestant was provided with a whiteboard and marker. A question appeared on the screen and the students had 20 seconds to answer the question and hold up their answers to be judged. The students furiously wrote their responses in the time allotted and waited anxiously for the thumbs up from the judge. 

Our contestants were impressive! They all demonstrated a profound understanding of the berachot and their meaning.

The 2nd and 3rd grade contestants were: Noa Aghion, Ephraim Banks, Meira Banks, Choshen Brody, Harry Davidoff, Yonatan Fromer, Nessa Jaffe, Orlee Lefman, Leah Milgram, Eitan Orkaby, Ethan Ravid,
Aviva Slama, and Eva Wolfe.
The 4th and 5th grade contestants were: Nitzan Brody, Nava Chein, Eitan Gellman, Eliezer Gorfajn, Akiva Huff, Ariel Jeselsohn, Leah Kaplan, Deena Levin, Joseph Mandel, Aaron Missaghi, Yotam Sapir Sheva Scharf, and Ozzie Vidan. 
In the end, we had the following winners:

2nd - 3rd Grade 
Aviva Slama and Eva Wolfe
4th - 5th Grade
Nava Chein and Joseph Mandel

Congratulations to everyone for learning so much about berachot

Fifth Grade Principals' Coffee
Our Fifth Grade principals' coffee took place this past Wednesday morning with a small but lively group of parents.  
In keeping with this round's theme of social/emotional learning and classroom dynamics, Rabbi Dovid Reisman joined us for the first part of the meeting to share the Tzelem curriculum that is used in 5th grade. After students have been exposed to the Open Circle social and emotional learning program for four years (since first grade), in fifth grade they switch to the Tzelem curriculum developed at Yeshiva University, which is also used in our Middle School.
Rabbi Reisman explained that there are two lessons on values and from whom we get our values. Other topics include decision making, problem solving, and assertiveness training.  There are also Tzelem sessions dealing with puberty (separate for boys and girls), as well as preparation for attending Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations. Members of our faculty who have expertise in different areas teach many of the sessions. As an example, recently Deborah Leschinsky, our Director of Technology, taught a session on Internet safety, which focused on what students need to do to protect themselves on the Internet.  This week a Brookline police officer came in to talk to the students about cyberbullying, which has become an increasing concern even among children as young as 10 or 11. 
A related topic of interest to parents is how to help the children act according to the values we're teaching and still feel that they are liked by their peers.  The children need guidance as to how to determine the appropriate way to report problematic behavior by their classmates without being socially punished for it.  We asked parents to urge their children to tell an adult if someone is bothering them, as well as if they observe or learn about something that puts another student in danger, either physically or emotionally.
Parents also wondered when it is appropriate for them to involve the school in interactions that take place outside of school. We told parents that we believe it is important for parents to notify us so that we can decide whether, how, and when to intervene. Often events that take place on weekends or in the evening involve several students in the grade, and relational issues are likely to spill over into school. We want to make sure to take advantage of our ability to address concerns with the entire group when appropriate.
We also explained the role of the Middle School social worker and grade deans. While the Middle School social worker does not go into classes as frequently, she does meet and get to know each child.  She has a very nice and inviting office and students feel very comfortable going in to speak with her or just hang out.  Beginning in sixth grade, students also have grade deans who serve as their homeroom teachers. The sixth grade has two primary teachers, which eases the transition from Elementary School.
Mrs. Zippy Portman joined for the second half of the meeting and answered some questions from parents about how homework assignments are recorded in fifth grade.   Mrs. Portman explained that many students are not writing the assignments in their planners, so we have a Googledoc online which teachers update daily.  This was not working for some students, so the teachers have now added a weekly sheet in the pocket of their homework folder on which students can circle the word "math" or whichever subject they have homework in, thereby giving them a quick way to remind themselves of what they need to do. Each student is able to decide which homework assignment recording strategy works best for them.

Family Learning
This Sunday over 20 families joined us to learn about the special mitzvot of Purim. Participants learned laws about the Purim seudah and made grape juice. We then learned about meshloach manot and prepared bags for ROFEH to distribute on Purim. We also had a special presentation by sofer Rabbi Benjamin Houben, and made our own kosher ink for writing a megilla.
Many thanks to everyone who participated, and to the Gorfajn and Vedol families for making many of the arrangements. 
February Vacation Learning and Mitzvah Program
We are excited to offer our learning and mitzvah program for February vacation. Below is a list of mitzvot that each student can perform daily. Simply place a checkmark in the box next to the appropriate mitzvah which your child performed. Please include a parent signature on the form. After vacation please submit the chart to your child's limudei kodesh teacher.  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!

Purim Dress-Up Days

Purim Carnival Costume Guidelines
The Elementary School will be having our annual Purim Carnival on Shushan Purim, Friday, March 2nd. Students should bring their costumes to change into for the carnival. Everyone will have time to change prior to the carnival.  

Consistent with the guidelines of dressing modestly addressed in the Parent Handbook, please adhere to the following for the Purim Carnival:
  • Girls may wear pants (regular - not spandex pants/tights) as part of their costume at the carnival only, not for the entire day
  • Boys may wear shorts as part of a sports costume  
  • No tank tops or sleeveless shirts  
  • No coloring of hair  
  • Girls may apply a moderate amount of makeup  
  • Skirts should continue to be proper length  
  • Facsimiles of weapons should not be brought as part of the costume  
Thank you in advance for your understanding of and adherence to the above guidelines.

Elementary School Students to Perform in Jewish Day School Choral Festival
For the past nine years the Maimonides 2nd through 5th Grade Chorus groups have participated in the annual Jewish Day School Choral Festival, along with elementary, middle, and high school students from other Jewish day schools in the greater Boston area. Since the festival is taking place on  Sunday, March 4th, right after Purim and a few weeks before Pesach, the Maimonides students will be singing one song for each of the two holidays.  This festival is a wonderful way for the whole family to spend an hour on a  Sunday afternoon, with proceeds going to a great cause. Please see the flier below for more details.

Screen Time for Students
We know that many parents try to limit screen time for their children and would like better guidelines or alternative means for students to practice their skills.  
We have compiled the chart below with our recommendations and requirements for each grade. If your child does not do well with these programs and you would like alternative ways for them to work on their skills, please let the teachers know and they will be glad to make other suggestions and/or supply other materials.

Reflex Math
KeyboardingWithout Tears
or Typing Club
Ariot Cal or iTalAm
Dah Ber
20 minutes a week; possibly more for specific students.
2x week
15 Minutes
Recommended 15 minutes a week;
possibly more for specific students
Recommended 15 minutes a week
1 x week
15 minutes or more
Recommended 2x week
10-15 minutes;
possibly more for specific students
2x week
10-15 minutes
As assigned by teacher
Recommended for specific students
Required 3x week
15 minutes
between school & home
Required 2x week
15 minutes
 As assigned by teacher
Optional & Occasional
Recommended for specific students
3x week
15 minutes until completed  
Typing Club: Optional up to
3x week 15 minutes
As assigned by Teacher
Recommended for specific students
3-4x week
15-20 minutes until completed
As assigned by Teacher

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.

Lost and Found - השבת אבידה
We are in the process of collecting items that have been sitting in the Lost and Found collection for several weeks and will be donating them shortly.  Please take a look at the photos below to see if anything looks familiar and retrieve it.  

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.
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