May 12, 2017 -16 Iyar 5777 - Emor
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Yom Orchim
Alumni Newsletter Online
Family Learning
Nut-Free Policy
Curl Up and Read Day
Fidget Spinners
Second Grade Field Trip
Spring Concert
Global Unity Torah
Lost and Found
ECC/MS/US Newsletters
ES Calendar
Fri, May 19
Yom Orchim

Tues, May 23
Faculty meeting  
3:00 p.m. dismissal
Mon, May 29
Memorial Day 
No School
Tues, May 30
Erev Shavuot
2:30 p.m. dismissal

Wed, May 31 -
Thu, June 1
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 wonderful 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 second half of the parasha we are introduced to all the Biblical holidays. All the chagim are listed in succession, from Pesach to Shemini Atzeret. However, smack in the middle of discussing Shavuot and Rosh HaShana the pasuk interjects the following mitzvah, interrupting the list of holidays:
וּבְקֻצְרְכֶם אֶת קְצִיר אַרְצְכֶם לֹא תְכַלֶּה פְּאַת שָׂדְךָ בְּקֻצְרֶךָ וְלֶקֶט קְצִירְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט לֶעָנִי וְלַגֵּר תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָם אֲנִי ה' אֱלֹקיכֶם:
When you reap the harvest of your Land, you shall not completely remove the corner of your field during your harvesting, and you shall not gather up the gleanings of your harvest. [Rather,] you shall leave these for the poor person and for the stranger. I am the Lord, your G-d.
Why is this mitzvah inserted in the middle of the holiday discussion? Even Rashi, who does not usually include the question on the verse in his commentary, is compelled to ask here:
אמר רבי אבדימס ברבי יוסף מה ראה הכתוב ליתנה באמצע הרגלים, פסח ועצרת מכאן וראש השנה ויום הכפורים והחג מכאן
Rabbi Avdimi the son of Rabbi Joseph says: Why does Scripture place this [passage] in the very middle of [the laws regarding] the Festivals - with Passover and Atzereth (Shavuoth) on one side and Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the Festival [of Succoth] on the other?
An answer to this "interruption," rooted in p'shat by directly connecting the topic of Shavuot to the mitzvot pertaining to the field, is offered by the Ibn Ezra, who comments:
וטעם להזכיר ובקצרכם את קציר ארצכם - פעם שנית, בעבור כי חג שבועות בכורי קציר חטים, הזהיר שלא תשכח מה שצויתיך לעשות בימים ההם.
The commandment of when you reap the harvest of your land is mentioned a second time [cf . 19:9] apropos the festival of Shavuot, which involves the first-fruits of the wheat harvest. We must not forget the commandments which pertain to that time of year.
Rashi instead quotes a Midrash and states:
ללמדך שכל הנותן לקט שכחה ופאה לעני כראוי, מעלין עליו כאילו בנה בית המקדש והקריב קרבנותיו בתוכו:
To teach you that whoever gives לֶקֶט , gleanings, שִׁכְחָה , forgotten sheaves, and פֵּאָה , the corners , to the poor in the appropriate manner, is deemed as if he had built the Holy Temple and offered up his sacrifices within it.
Perhaps Rashi is making the connection that doing this mitzvah is like building the Beit HaMikdash, since the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed for sinat chinam, hatred for no reason, and these mitzvot demonstrate arvut through ahavat chinam, pure love for another. This ahava for another, rooted in arvut, will rebuild the Beit HaMikdash (speedily in our day!!). The reason is that these mitzvot, because of their anonymous nature, are perforce performed at a higher level of arvut. When the farmer leaves food for the poor, and thereby performs these mitzvot, nobody else knows that the farmer is doing the mitzvah. And the farmer does not know who is taking his produce.
Doing these mitzvot in an anonymous manner is a way to demonstrate pure arvut and ahavat chinam to others, and thereby atone for and undo the transgression that caused the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash. Let's hope that our acts of arvut, by giving to those who are in need, will lead to the prompt rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash.
Thoughts of the Rav
by Rabbi Dov Huff       
This week's parsha was the source of great controversy in the times of the Mikdash. While the Pharisees (keepers of the oral tradition) understood the mitzvah of Sefirat HaOmer as starting on the second day of Pesach, the Boethusians (Baitusim), who rejected the oral tradition, insisted that it starts on the Sunday which happens to coincide with Pesach.
Even though the Baitusim were mistaken, the Rav explains their thinking with three pieces of evidence:
1. The paragraph in this week's parsha which describes the mitzvah tells us to perform this mitzvah "when you harvest [the land's] grain." It does not link the mitzvah explicitly to Pesach. In fact, Pesach is not mentioned at all in that paragraph.
2. The phrase used is "mimachorat haShabbat" - literally, the day after Shabbos, which one could understandably interpret as referring to Sunday. 
3. The command is to count seven "complete weeks" - perhaps a complete week means from Sunday to Shabbos. 
While our mesorah has textual answers to all these proofs, the Rav felt that the Baitusim fundamentally misunderstood the Omer, Shavuot, and their connection to Pesach. Shavuot is not only an agricultural chag, as the Baitusim presented it. It is the final part of the redemptive process which began in Mitzrayim. We were not entirely redeemed until we received the Torah. While the first three leshonot geulah (vehotsaiti, vehitsalti, vegaalti) had been realized, the final one, velakachti - Hashem taking this nation as his own - did not happen until Matan Torah.
Yom Orchim registration extended until Monday!
There is still time to register a guest for Yom Orchim, which will take place next Friday, May 19!  Please go to our online registration page or contact Ellen Pulda, or 617-232-4452 x423, by Monday, May 15 to register a visitor for Yom Orchim. Remember, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbors are welcome to be your child's guest. Please note that online registration will close at the end of the day Monday.

Pizza for lunch next Friday
In honor of Yom Orchim, all students will receive one slice of pizza and two Oreos during lunch next Friday.  Please feel free to send additional food and snacks with your child(ren) to supplement the pizza.

Family Learning - A Successful Year
This past Sunday a number of families joined us for the last Family Learning of the year, themed around netina - giving. We concentrated on how the food that Hashem provides to us becomes ours through saying a blessing. 
After learning from a few sources, those attending had the opportunity to participate in three hands-on experiences showing how altering food changes the bracha that we recite. Groups rotated through grinding barley into flour, squeezing oranges into juice, and pressing grapes into juice. In each of these cases, we learned why the blessing changes. Family Learning concluded with a Kahoot presentation reviewing content from the entire year.

A great big "thank you" to the Vedol and Gorfajn families for all of their assistance making Family Learning successful again this year, and many thanks to Benji Hain for running one of the booths.


Reminder: Maimonides is Nut-Free

We are sending this reminder because we are finding that some students are bringing items in their lunches that contain nuts.  It is important that parents check all ingredients of all foods very carefully, as we have students who are highly allergic to nuts, even if they are present in foods that another child at their table is eating.

The information below is copied from the 2016-17 Elementary School Handbook:

Nut Free: Maimonides School is a nut-free environment, meaning that children should not bring foods with peanuts or tree nuts listed in the ingredients. Foods may contain traces or have been processed in a plant that also processes peanuts and tree nuts.

Curl Up and Read Day
On Wednesday the 5th graders celebrated all the great reading they did over the course of the year with a Curl Up and Read Day.  Each student read 10 books on their own in order to earn this fun day. The students came prepared with sleeping bags, pajamas, snacks, stuffed animals, and of course books! We had many guest readers including Rabbi Saltzman, Mrs. Slovin, Mrs. Verdun, Ms. Benjamin, Morah Dani, Morah Renee, Ms. Brooks, and Morah Limor. Everyone had a great time. What a wonderful way to celebrate reading!

Fidget Spinners

As many of you are aware, fidget spinners have reached enormous popularity with our students. It seems that a large number of them own spinners, and many have been bringing them to school.  Because these spinners are held in one hand and spun using a finger from the other hand, and because they then whirl around for several minutes, they are very distracting both to the students using them and to others watching.

Although our faculty supports the idea that some students benefit from a fidget object that helps improve their focus, we encourage students to use these objects discreetly and productively while in the classroom. Fidget spinners are not discreet, and are being used in our classrooms in a manner that is distracting from student learning. Additionally, in the lunchroom they take away from children's ability to eat or converse with friends, and on the playground they take away from physical exercise.

We are therefore respectfully requesting that you instruct your child to leave these items at home or, failing that, in their school bag during the day.  We have told students that the only time and place where spinners are permitted is after school while waiting for pick-up.

If your child feels that they would benefit from a different fidget object, please encourage them to work with Ms. Hillman or their teacher to identify an appropriate object.

Second Grade Field Trip
On Tuesday the 2nd graders went to the zoo to see the animals that were on Noah's ark.  The students were able to see the animals firsthand and review their Hebrew names, as well as spending some time on the playground.  Everyone enjoyed the day and had a ton of fun seeing the different animals.

Spring Concert is Monday, May 22
The Maimonides music department will be holding its annual spring concert on Monday, May 22 at 4:00 p.m. in the Brener Gym.  Performances will include the combined second though fifth grade chorus, and combined third through fifth grade band, as well as the Middle School band.  Please e-mail Andrew Malkin at with any questions. 
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 .
Lost and Found
We would like to clear out our lost and found area prior to Yom Orchim.  Please retrieve all items by next Thursday, May 18, or they will be removed and donated.  As always, labelled items will be returned to your child. 

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 the other divisions' newsletters, please click here for the Early Childhood Center, or click here for the Middle and Upper Schools.

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

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