November 17, 2017 - 28 Heshvan 5778 - Toldot
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Pinat HaParasha
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Family Learning
Rosh Chodesh Pizza
HaKarat HaTov
Grade 2 Field Trip
Grade 3 Principals' Coffee
Next Principals' Coffee
Grade 5 Field Trip
STEM Update
In the Art Studio
Mazel Tov!
Lost and Found
ROFEH Toy Drive
Special Movie Screening
Social Time!
ECC/MS/US Newsletters
ES Calendar
Sunday, Nov. 19
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Wednesday, Nov. 22
12:00 p.m. Dismissal

Thursday, Nov. 23- Friday, Nov. 24
No School

Wednesday, Nov. 29
Grade 4 Principals' Coffee
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
וַיְהִי֙ כִּֽי־זָקֵ֣ן יִצְחָ֔ק וַתִּכְהֶ֥יןָ עֵינָ֖יו מֵרְאֹ֑ת וַיִּקְרָ֞א אֶת־עֵשָׂ֣ו ׀ בְּנ֣וֹ הַגָּדֹ֗ל וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֵלָיו֙ בְּנִ֔י וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֵלָ֖יו הִנֵּֽנִי׃
When Isaac was old and his eyes were too dim to see, he called his older son Esau and said to him, "My son." He answered, "Here I am."
The last section of this week's parasha informs us that Yitzchak was unable to see. The Medrash picks up on this new development of the human condition and explains that Yitzchak's eyesight was weakened because:
יִצְחָק תָּבַע יִסּוּרִין, אָמַר לְפָנָיו רִבּוֹן כָּל הָעוֹלָמִים אָדָם מֵת בְּלֹא יִסּוּרִים מִדַּת הַדִּין מְתוּחָה כְּנֶגְדּוֹ, מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁאַתָּה מֵבִיא עָלָיו יִסּוּרִים אֵין מִדַּת הַדִּין מְתוּחָה כְּנֶגְדּוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא חַיֶּיךָ דָּבָר טוֹב תָּבַעְתָּ וּמִמְּךָ אֲנִי מַתְחִיל, מִתְּחִלַּת הַסֵּפֶר וְעַד כָּאן אֵין כְּתִיב יִסּוּרִין וְכֵיוָן שֶׁעָמַד יִצְחָק נָתַן לוֹ יִסּוּרִים וַיְהִי כִּי זָקֵן יִצְחָק וַתִּכְהֶיןָ.
Yitzchak requested that humans be afflicted with pain and/or suffering before death so they will experience their judgement in this world and then G-d's judgement will be eased in the next world. G-d says to Yitzchak, "good idea and I will start with you." The pasuk then states, "And Yitzchak became somewhat blinded."
The Mishna Berura comments that this episode with Yitzchak is the reason we have the following halacha:
חַיָּב אָדָם לְבָרֵךְ עַל הָרָעָה בְּדַעַת שְׁלֵמָה וּבְנֶפֶשׁ חֲפֵצָה, כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁמְּבָרֵךְ עַל הַטּוֹבָה, כִּי הָרָעָה לְעוֹבְדֵי הַשֵּׁם הִיא שִׂמְחָתָם וְטוֹבָתָם, כֵּיוָן שֶׁמְּקַבֵּל מֵאַהֲבָה מַה שֶּׁגָּזַר עָלָיו הַשֵּׁם. נִמְצָא שֶׁבְּקַבָּלַת רָעָה זוֹ הוּא עוֹבֵד אֶת הַשֵּׁם, שֶׁהִיא שִׂמְחָה לוֹ.
A person is obligated to bless on the bad with a full mind and wanting soul, in the way that he blesses happily on the good, because the bad, for servants of G-d, is their happiness and goodness. Since he has accepted out of love what G-d has decreed, he finds that by accepting this bad, he is serving G-d which brings happiness to him.
The author comments that Yitzchak realized it would be better to be judged in this world rather than being judged after one passes away, in the Olam HaBa. Whatever pain and suffering we experience during our physical life is multiplied if we experience that judgment in the next world. This recognition, although very difficult, is the perspective one should take when one encounters hardships. When one recognizes the purpose of these painful events, it should motivate that person to bless and give hakarat hatov to G-d for preventing them from a worse fate in the future.
For many people this is not an easy halacha to follow. But it is the expectation, as it demonstrates our complete belief in G-d and our understanding that He is looking out for our best interests at all times. That being said, may we only experience smachot!
Thoughts of the Rav
by Rabbi David Saltzman
When Rivka was having pain from her pregnancy, the pasuk states that she went to seek out G-d. The Rav explains that people sometimes have feelings of religious loneliness, which is a positive experience and part of the religious experience. It's the feeling that one has when they feel as if they were thrown into this world, which has neither regard nor understanding for their singularity and unique role. Rivka, at this time in her life, was feeling this religious loneliness. She understood then that she needed to search out G-d to resolve her inner crisis.
According to the Ramban, Rivka went to find Hashem so she could daven to Him. Through tefilla, one can internalize and gain a new understanding about oneself. By initiating a dialogue with G-d through tefilla, she realized that she was not just an insignificant part of the cosmos. Instead, Rivka came to understand her unique and difficult role, and through that new understanding she resolved her crisis.
Pinat HaParasha is Back!
Please click here  to view the  Pinat  HaParasha for Parshat Toldot. You are encouraged to print the document and use it as a source for discussion at the Shabbat table.
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Thank you to everyone who joined us at conferences last Thursday!
Fall Parent- Teacher Conferences will continue: 
  • Sunday, November 19: Grades K-12 from 12:00 - 7:00 p.m., ECC from 2:00 - 7:00 p.m.
The conference hours can also be viewed at 

Family Learning
This Sunday, November 19, we are looking forward to hosting the third Family Learning. We will be continuing with the overall theme of chagim (holidays) and the focus will be on Rosh Chodesh. It's very convenient that Rosh Chodesh is this Sunday!
The question for the morning is: What is the connection between Rosh Chodesh and Oreo cookies? 

We will be learning about the first mitzvah that was commanded to the Jewish people, and how the phases of the moon inform us about Rosh Chodesh.

We hope to see you in the Brener lunchroom from 10:15-11:30 !
Rosh Chodesh Pizza
On  Monday, November 20, to honor  Rosh Chodesh, a  pizza lunch will be provided by the PTA for those who ordered in advance. 
Hot Lunch was scheduled to be on Monday. Instead, the hot lunch usually served on Monday will be served on Tuesday instead. 

Hakarat Hatov
Hakarat hatov entered its next phase this week as all 3rd - 5th graders gave a presentation to the ECC - 2nd graders about the next project. As ambassadors for the first phase of hakarat hatov this year, the 3rd to 5th graders explained the project and delivered hakarat hatov boxes to each class. Classes also received cards in order to write hakarat hatov messages.  
Throughout next week, until Thanksgiving, each day all students will write messages of gratitude to Hashem, their parents, relatives, or others, which will be posted on the hakarat hatov letters outside the lunchroom.
Grade 2 Field Trip
On Wednesday the second grade students had the opportunity to go back to the 17 th century on a trip to Plimoth Plantation! They met Wampanoag Native Americans and Pilgrims and learned about their daily lives - what houses they lived in, what they ate, how they dressed, and much more. It was so much fun learning about the history of Plymouth and how people lived hundreds of years ago! 
Grade 3 Principals' Coffee
This Wednesday we hosted a number of 3rd grade parents at the Principals' Coffee. We started with a dvar Torah about Yitzchak giving thanks to G-d through building a mizbayich after he was promised that he would inherit the land of Israel.  
HaMorah Dani Carrus, Team Leader of our new David Sulman Computer Science Initiative, then gave a presentation about our  coding and STEM initiative, taking place in ECC through 5th grade. We watched some fabulous student creations combining Scratch Jr. coding and their Torah learning. In one example, students coded the scene in which the three men visited Avraham and his subsequent conversation with G-d about Sedom. Students programmed the scene on their iPads, adding pictures and text to depict the story.
Other conversations focused on the new chumash skills program, increased social maturity, and working in groups and with partners.
Next Principals' Coffee
The next Pr incipals'  Coffee will be for fourth grade parents, and will take  place on Wednesday, November 29 at 8:00 a.m.  in the  library  on the third floor.  Principals' coffees are taking place for parents of students at each grade level on mornings from October through December. The coffees are an opportunity for parents to talk with the principals, ask questions, give i nput, 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:
5th grade - Wednesday, December 6  

Grade 5 Field Trip
Several 5th grade students wrote to share their impressions of the class trip to the Lowell mills on Monday as part of their unit on immigration.

by Devora

We went to Lowell to learn about the mills. In the factories it was hot, filled with cotton dust, and noisy. It was hot because the factory owners wanted the cotton to be happy, and the cotton was happy if it was hot. It was filled with cotton dust because of the machines. The cotton dust made it hard for the mill girls to breathe and they got lung diseases. It was noisy because all of the machines were really loud. We only heard 15 of the cotton machines running and that was really loud, but there were usually 105! Some of the girls became deaf or hard of hearing because of all the noise. Overall it was a great field trip.

by Sarit
On November 13, my class went to the Lowell Mills. Our class went because we have been learning about immigration. I liked pretending to be the immigrants. We each got a passport from a real immigrant and we would have to pass the "immigration inspector" which was really our tour guide and tell her our name, how we say hello in our native language, and what country we came from. I learned that a lot of countries are famous for their coffee like Colombia, Greece, and Portugal.

by Hayim

Today, the fifth grade had a special treat. We went to the Lowell Mills and boardinghouse historical center. At this center, we learned what it was like for the mill girls and immigrants a long time ago. We looked at the lives of immigrants and even hosted a re-creation of a town meeting to give Irish immigrants a good, free school. On this trip, I learned the difference between today and a long time ago, "today and yesterday" so to speak.

by Leyvi

Yesterday my grade went to Boott Cotton Mills National Park Museum. We were there because it was a fun and educational field trip, especially because we are in our immigration unit. On the field trip. I learned more about power looms, more about how the textile mills worked, and more about how it was like to live in a boarding house. While I was there, I got to see how 1/3 of the noise was like in the cotton mill. It was really loud.

STEM Update
Here are some great ways you can work on coding at home with your child!

ScratchJr - for kids ages 5+, created by MIT Media Lab and Tufts University
       App for Android or iPad

Scratch - for kids ages 9+, created by MIT Media Lab and Tufts University
        On the computer, Android, or iPad

Tynker - for kids ages 8+ 
        On the computer, Android, or iPad

KIBO robotics - for kids ages 4+, created by KinderLab Robotics and Tufts University 

WEDO robotics - for kids ages 7+, created by Lego

In the Art Studio
On Wednesday, first graders began the second art unit by exploring different sculpture materials. They learned that a sculpture is a type of art that is 3-dimensional, and materials like paper that start out flat can be made 3D. They also experimented with different attachment methods.

Mazel Tov!

Mazal tov to Chaya Durani, Elementary School Hebrew language coordinator, and Rabbi Avinoam Durani, Upper School Judaic studies teacher and Grade 11 dean, on the birth of their grandson.
Send us your simchas!  Please share your simcha announcement s with us by sending details to

Lost and Found - השבת אבידה
As the cold weather approaches, 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 Sharpie to write your child's name.

If you have a Parent-Teacher Conference scheduled for this Sunday, we recommend you stop by the Lost and Found display in front of the Brener office to take a look.

We plan to donate all remaining unclaimed items during the winter break.

ROFEH Toy Drive 
Please bring a new, unwrapped toy for our ROFEH Toy Drive! Boxes will be placed in front of the Elementary, Middle, and Upper School offices.

Special Movie Screening 
There will be a special screening of the movie My Hero Brother on Sunday, December 10 at 6:00 p.m. at West Newton Cinema, co-sponsored by Maimonides School, Young Israel of Sharon, New England Yachad, and Striar Hebrew Academy.
My Hero Brother tells the remarkable story of a group of young people with Down syndrome who embark on a demanding trek through the Indian Himalayas with their siblings. As they deal with physical and emotional challenges, unresolved conflicts come to the surface and heartwarming friendships develop.
Click here to purchase tickets. For more information, contact   

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