February 9, 2018 - 24 Shevat 5778 - Mishpatim
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Pinat HaParasha
Registration Deadline
Family Learning
Bracha Bee
Fourth Grade Principals' Coffee
Next Principals' Coffee
Understanding Our Differences
Rosh Chodesh Pizza
Alumni Newsletter
Screen Time
Cold Weather Reminder
Lost and Found
Kehilla Trip
Social Time!
ECC/MS/US Newsletters
ES Calendar
Sunday, Feb. 11
Family Learning

Tuesday, Feb. 13
3:00 p.m. Dismissal

Wednesday, Feb. 14
Grade 5 Principals' Coffee 8:00-8:45 a.m. 

Monday, Feb. 19- 
Friday, Feb. 23
February Vacation, 
No School

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 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.
Click here to save or print the D'var Torah
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.    
Pinat HaParasha
Please click here  to view the  Pinat  HaParasha for Parshat Mishpatim. You are encouraged to print the document and use it as a source for discussion at the Shabbat table.
K-12 Early Registration Deadline for 2018-19
Next Thursday, February 15 is the deadline for re-enrolling your children for the 2018-19 school year in order to take advantage of the $650 early registration fee. After February 15, the registration fee is $800.

To re-enroll, go to www.maimonides.org. Click on the "Quick Links" tab, log into My BackPack, and then click on "Enrollment/Re-Enrollment" to sign and submit the re-enrollment forms for your children.

Please contact Arline Tannenbaum in the Business Office should you have any questions ( atannenbaum@maimonides.org, 617-232-4452 ext. 425).

Family Learning on Sunday
This Sunday there will be Family Learning from 10:15 - 11:30 a.m. in the Brener lunchroom. We will be learning about and experiencing the special mitzvot of Purim. Come prepare grape juice for the Purim  seudah and learn how to write a megilla with sofer Ben Houben. These are just some of the activities and learning we have planned . See you then!

Bracha Bee
As part of our unit on hakarat hatov, this past week all 2nd - 5th grade students participated in the first round of our bracha bee. Students were asked 45 - 60 questions on a Google form, including questions about bracha rishona, bracha acharona, and different categories of brachot. After tallying up the scores, the top scorers will move on to the next round, which will take place next Thursday.

Fourth Grade Principals' Coffee
Our fourth grade principals' coffee began with a d'var torah from Rabbi Saltzman linking this year's theme of hakarat hatov with this coming week's parsha - Mishpatim.  
After that, Elementary School social worker Katie Hillman described the social curriculum for fourth grade, which consists mainly of the Open Circle program. Open Circle is a social and emotional learning program for grades K-5 aimed at developing skills for recognizing and managing emotions, empathy, positive relationships, problem-solving, and developing a classroom community where students feel safe, cared for, and engaged in learning.  The fourth graders have learned about "Silent Signals" - i.e. understanding emotions and feelings, and reading body language - and concrete ways to solve problems, whether in the classroom or in a less formal setting. They've spent considerable time discussing how and when we can solve problems, and how we need to calm ourselves down before being able to solve a problem.  Open Circle discussions are kept confidential within the classroom.  The teachers have specific lesson plans that they can use, either exactly or as a guideline.  The goal is to integrate these lessons within the academic curriculum for both limudei kodesh and general studies.

Fourth Grade teacher Sam Tarlin then described the fourth grade group as being cohesive, connected, and caring.  Close friendships seem to start developing in 4th grade in a very real way, but in the classroom setting, all the students get along and most are able to work with one another.  Social situations might take place outside of school time on Shabbat, birthday parties, or recess, and these do seep into the classroom.  When teachers hear about an issue from a parent or student, they address it, regardless of where it originated. Open Circle puts an emphasis on using words to make people feel good, not bad.  When unkind speech comes up in the classroom, it may be subtle, but students are still given regular reminders about how we use our words and how they make people feel.
Parents were wondering what social opportunities there were during the school day, other than recess. There are many, including lunch, transitions, and classroom collaborative work, such as art stations or the recent African mural project.

Next Principals' Coffee
The next Principals' Coffee will be for Fifth Grade parents, and will take place  Wednesday, February 14, 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!

Understanding Our Differences
by Noga Rose, 4th Grade 
On Tuesday, Understanding Our Differences came.  Someone talked about physical disabilities and showed us videos about kids with disabilities. The kids liked doing the same stuff as us.

Here is the link from photos from the Physical Disabilities unit in 4th grade:
Afterwards we did activities that show you what it's like to have a physical disability. One activity was trying to put on a shirt with only one arm. Another was using pictures to communicate.  The third was pictures of accommodations for people with physical disabilities.
At the end a speaker came. She was a 6th Grader with a rare disease that caused her to get tired very easily. She had a wheelchair and a service dog. The dog was able to open the door and pick up very delicate items.  We learned a lot about disabilities and it was really fun!

Rosh Chodesh Pizza
On  Friday, February 16, to honor  Rosh Chodesh, a  pizza lunch will be provided by the PTA for those who ordered in advance. Please send your child in a white shirt to mark the day.

Alumni Newsletter Online
The monthly alumni newsletter for January is now online, and can be found 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 w ould like to receive the alumni newsletter each month, contact Mike Rosenberg at (617) 232-4452 x 405 or mrosenberg@maimonides.org .

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.
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.  
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