May 19, 2017 - 23 Iyar 5777 - Behar-Bechukotai
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Complete Dismissal Form
Yom Yerushalayim
Rosh Chodesh
Class Placement
Yom Orchim
Summer Tutoring
Spring Concert
Understanding Our Differences
Third Grade Field Trip
Nut-Free Policy
Fidget Spinners
Global Unity Torah
Lost and Found
ECC/MS/US Newsletters
ES Calendar
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

דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם וְשָׁבְתָה הָאָרֶץ שַׁבָּת ה ':
Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them: When you come to the land that I am giving you, the land shall rest a Sabbath to the L-rd.
With this pasuk, we are instructed to allow the land of Israel to lie fallow for an entire year. The mitzvah of Shemitah obligates farmers to not work the land for an entire year and allow others to take from the produce that happens to grow. As the pasuk states, everyone can partake during the Shemitah year:
וְהָיְתָה שַׁבַּת הָאָרֶץ לָכֶם לְאָכְלָה לְךָ וּלְעַבְדְּךָ וְלַאֲמָתֶךָ וְלִשְׂכִירְךָ וּלְתוֹשָׁבְךָ הַגָּרִים עִמָּךְ :
And [the produce of] the Sabbath of the land shall be yours to eat for you, for your male and female slaves, and for your hired worker and resident who live with you,
And in Parashat Mishpatim the command is to leave it for the poor people:
וְהַשְּׁבִיעִת תִּשְׁמְטֶנָּה וּנְטַשְׁתָּהּ וְאָכְלוּ אֶבְיֹנֵי עַמֶּךָ וְיִתְרָם תֹּאכַל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה כֵּן תַּעֲשֶׂה לְכַרְמְךָ לְזֵיתֶךָ :
But in the seventh [year] you shall release it and abandon it; the poor of your people shall eat [it], and what they leave over, the beasts of the field shall eat. So shall you do to your vineyard [and] to your olive tree[s].
There are a number of reasons suggested for this mitzvah. The Sefer HaChinich offers the following:
ועוד יש תועלת אחר [ ת ], נמצא בזה שיוסיף האדם בטחון בשם יתברך , כי כל המוצא עם לבבו לתת ולהפקיר לעולם כל גדולי קרקעותיו ונחלת אבותיו הגדלים בכל שנה אחת ומלמד בכך הוא וכל המשפחה כל ימיו , לא תחזק בו לעולם מדת הכילות הרבה ולא מעוט הבטחון .
And there is another benefit, the outcome of this is that a person will add to his trust in G-d, may He be blessed, since anyone who finds it in his heart to give and abandon to the world all of the produce of his lands and his ancestral inheritance for an entire year, and educates through this himself and his family for all of his days, will never have the trait of stinginess overcome him too much nor will he have a deficient amount of trust.
Keeping the mitzvah of Shemitah leads to a dual positive outcome:
  1. Cultivating and advancing one's relationship with G-d by developing a deeper trust in G-d.
  2. Learning to be generous with one's possessions. As the Sefer HaChinuch writes:
ועוד יש תועלת , נמצא בדבר לקנות בזה מדת הותרנות , כי אין נדיב כנותן מבלי תקוה אל הגמול .
And there is another benefit in this matter, to acquire the trait of letting go (i.e. of one's possessions), for there is no one more generous than he who gives without hope for recompense.
In class this week, we discussed how both these outcomes build on each other and contribute to the farmer's demonstration of arvut. When the farmer realizes that Hashem is the One Who gives them their produce during the Shemitah year, and then also comes to the conclusion that the food is not really their own, it will be easier for the farmer to give food to others in non-Shemitah years. Shemitah reminds the farmers, every seven years, that the food belongs to Hashem and is not really theirs. The farmer actualizes that belief by leaving food for other people in year 7. That act helps the farmer develop arvut by taking the responsibility to feed people who are poor in years 1 - 6. The 7th year influences the farmer's arvut behavior for the upcoming 6 years of the cycle.
Thoughts of the Rav
by Rabbi David Saltzman 
וְהִתְהַלַּכְתִּי בְּתוֹכְכֶם וְהָיִיתִי לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ לִי לְעָם :
I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people.
The Rav learns from this verse how we should approach G-d during prayer.
Man fears G-d but also loves Him. Man withdraws from G-d but also longs for Him. In this state of mind, he sees G-d not only as a lofty exalted King, apart from reality, but also as a merciful Father, the source of his being, a shelter and a safe shore. Man yearns for G-d, and desires to cling to Him and cleave to Him forever.
From the midst of this experience, man views G-d like a friend walking among his companions. G-d approaches man in lovingkindness and sympathy, which incorporates an element of friendship. This pasuk expresses the idea that G-d descends into the world of man as his familiar companion and as one who lives in the same abode. This perspective permits man to pour out his feelings to G-d and have a dialogue with Him through prayer.

Please Complete the Form: 3:00 p.m. Dismissal on Tuesday, May 23
There will be a 3:00 p.m. dismissal for the Elementary School and Early Childhood Center on Tuesday, May 23 due to a faculty meeting.  We need to hear from everyone regarding when you plan to pick up your child, so  please complete a form  for each child by Monday, May 22.

Please contact  LaShanta in the Elementary School office 617-232-4452 ext 300 or if you have any questions.

Wear Blue and White for Yom Yerushalayim
On Wednesday, May 24, please send your children dressed in blue and white for Yom Yerushalayim.

Rosh Chodesh Pizza
Next Friday, May 26 pizza lunch will be provided by the PTA for those who ordered in advance. Please remember to send snacks and drinks with your children.
Class Placement for 2017-2018 School Year
We will soon begin the process of class  placement  for the academic year of 2017 - 2018.
Our goal is to create diverse, compatible classes with roughly equal numbers of students who can work together in a positive learning environment. We try to balance each class in terms of gender, learning style, and personality. Special relationships which either contribute to or interfere with learning or good classroom harmony will be taken into consideration.
Your child's current teachers are familiar with all of their students' scholastic behaviors and learning styles. We have asked them to help us contribute important academic and behavioral information about your child. Their input will help your child be placed in an environment most conducive to their learning.
If you believe it is important for your child to share a classroom with a particular classmate next year in order to enhance his or her educational experience, please submit the names of three classmates. We will try to place your child with at least one. Please note that classes may be shuffled during the year and your child will begin the year with at least one request.  
The online form can be accessed here:

Please submit this information by next Friday, May 26.

If you have more than one student enrolled in the Elementary School, please fill out the online form individually for each child.  Requests MUST  be received by Friday, May 26 in order to be considered.  We value your input in this process, but we cannot guarantee that all specific requests will be met. 
Thank you for your cooperation as we complete this important task.

Yom Orchim
Once again, Yom Orchim - our annual Special Visitors' Day - was a huge success.  Grandparents, uncles, aunts, older brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends joined our students in their classrooms, participating in their learning and filling our building with excitement and energy. 

Yom Orchim started off with our Zimriya (Song Festival) in celebration of the 50 th  anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, which we will celebrate next week.  The entire Elementary School, together with our guests, gathered in the auditorium. Each grade sang a Hebrew song, related to Yerushalayim, which included movement and choreography. There were also performances by the 3 rd -5 th   Grade Chorus and the 3 rd -4 th  Grade Activity Period Israeli folk dance group. Musical accompaniment was provided by music teacher Andrew Malkin and our multi-talented Shifra Gerber.

Guests were then invited to visit their students' classrooms, where special interactive learning activities took place. Yom Orchim ended with a delicious luncheon for our guests and pizza for our students. At the luncheon, everyone heard a fascinating d'var Torah written and delivered by fifth grader Gabriel Herzlinger.

It was our pleasure to meet and host all of special guests, and we hope that they will return to visit us very soon.

Summer Tutoring
Some parents may be looking for summer tutors for their children.  Please take a look at our chart of teachers and Gateways specialists who are available during the summer months, and contact them directly if you are interested.

Spring Concert is Monday
The Maimonides music department will be holding its annual spring concert next 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. 
Understanding Our Differences
On Tuesday, the fifth  grade participated in their final Understanding Our Differences program of the year. This time we focused on individuals with intellectual disabilities.  After watching a video about children with Down's Syndrome, the students split into small rotating groups for different activities. One group drew pictures depicting the elimination of the "R" word. Another group looked at pictures of the everyday life of people with disabilities.  The students were able to see that these people do many of the same things as the students do - chores, setting up their bedrooms, etc. The final group worked with cards to find adjectives to describe themselves.

In the afternoon, the students were visited by a guest speaker, Marie. Marie, who has Down's Syndrome, lives independently.  She came to speak about herself and her life and work in the Yellow House. At the end of her presentation, the students asked many interesting questions.

We're so glad to have had the opportunity to be part of this valuable program.

Third Grade Field Trip
The third graders spent Monday  at Drumlin Farms enjoying the Native Pathways program. The program was an excellent addition to their Native American unit as the students spent the day in nature, learning how the Native Americans lived off the land thousands of years ago. The amazing array of activities included analyzing artifacts, baking a traditional corn cake called a nokahik, playing a game to teach hand-eye coordination, and using tools to grind corn, skin a hide, and drill
holes. The trip was a smashing success, and a great time was had by all!  

Reminder: Maimonides is Nut-Free

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.

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.

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
Please check and see whether you recognize anything belonging to your child.  Thank you! 

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