October 27, 2017 - 7 Heshvan 5778 - Lech-Lecha
ES Highlights
Welcome
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Pinat HaParasha
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Understanding Our Differences
First Grade Principals' Coffee
Principals' Coffee Dates
STEM Update
Family Learning
Halloween Candy
In the Art Studio
Upcoming Events
Boy Scouts
Mazel Tov!
Lost and Found
Social Time!
ECC/MS/US Newsletters
ES Calendar
Tuesday, Oct. 31
All-School Faculty Meeting 
3:00 p.m. Dismissal
 
Sunday, Nov. 5
Yom Chesed
 
Wednesday, Nov. 8
Grade 2 Principals' Coffee
 
Thursday, Nov. 9
Parent-Teacher Conferences
 
Friday, Nov. 10
Begin 1:05 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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Welcome!
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
 
In this week's parsha it's four kings vs. five kings, fighting for control of the fertile eastern region of the Land of Canaan. During this battle Lot, living in Sedom, is taken captive and Avraham finds out about his nephew's plight. In order to rescue Lot and other prisoners from captivity, Avraham maneuvers through the night, invades enemy territory, and rescues the captives (sounds like the raid on Entebbe!) from the hands of the four kings.
 
During Avraham's return he is met by the king of Sedom. The Torah interrupts this encounter with the following event:
וּמַלְכִּי־צֶ֙דֶק֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ שָׁלֵ֔ם הוֹצִ֖יא לֶ֣חֶם וָיָ֑יִן וְה֥וּא כֹהֵ֖ן לְקל עֶלְיֽוֹן׃
And King Melchizedek of Shalem brought out bread and wine; he was a priest of G-d most high.
 
Just about everyone asks: Why did the Torah bring this story into the narrative and essentially break the continuity of story with the king of Sedom meeting Avraham?
 
Rashi states that the reason Melchizedek comes out to Avraham and brings him bread and wine is that
לחם ויין כַּךְ עוֹשִׂים לִיְגִיעֵי מִלְחָמָה,
Bread and wine - Thus is done for those wearied through battle.
 
Avraham and his soldiers were hungry and exhausted from the long battle, and Melchizedek , in an act of chesed, provides Avraham with food and drink.
 
Expanding on Rashi, Ohr HaChayim explains why the story of Melchizedek providing bread and wine to Avraham is placed in the context of the rendezvous with the king of Sedom:
להגיד שבח הצדיקים מה בינם לבין הרשעים כי מלך סדום יצא לקראת אברהם לראות פניו ריקם הגם שאליו יחויב להקביל פני אברהם במנחה כיד המלך והוא הרשע יצא בידים ריקניות, ושם הצדיק מבלי חיוב נדיבות יעץ והקביל פניו בלחם ויין:
This is to teach us about the difference between righteous people and those that are evil. The king of Sedom, who went out to greet Avraham, came empty-handed even though the king was obligated to bring gifts to Avraham (for saving his life and returning his kingdom). Malki Tzedek, on the other hand, without needing to bring anything (to Avraham), greeted Avraham with bread and wine.
 
According to the Ohr HaChayim, these stories are deliberately intertwined in order to demonstrate the stark contrast between Melchizedek and the king of Sedom. The King of Sedom, who Avraham saved, brought nothing! Zero! Zilch! Nada! Melchizedek , on the other hand, who was indirectly helped by Avraham's participation in the war, realized the benefit that he received, and that realization - perhaps in a demonstration of gratitude and thanks for saving the region from the tyrannous rule of the four kings - motivated him to bring Avraham and his hungry and tired army some much-needed food and drink.
 
This year at Maimonides we are learning how to act like Melchizedek and demonstrate our hakarat hatov for the direct and indirect good provided to us.
 
Click here to save or print the D'var Torah.
Thoughts of the Rav
Excerpted from Abraham's Journey by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
 
We do not know who Melchizedek was. Rashi (14:18) quotes a midrash that he was Shem the son of Noah (Nedarim 32b). We see that when Abraham came with his new philosophy of monotheism, there were other individuals who also knew about it. Melchizedek was the king of justice. "He was the priest of the Most High God" (Gen. 14:18), a servant of the Almighty. His philosophy was identical with that of Abraham. He was a contemporary of Abraham and apparently accepted the same certitudes, the same articles of  faith, the same moral norms Abraham had formulated. Why didn't he join Abraham? Together they would have been much stronger. Not long before, the Torah had called him Avraham ha-Ivri, lonesome Abraham, lonely Abraham: The whole world on one side and he on the opposite side. Where was Melchizedek? Apparently, he was so overwhelmed by Abraham's victory that he had to give expression to his amazement. But after this episode, Melchizedek disappears. We heard nothing of him before and we will not of him after. That is the difference between Abraham and  Melchizedek. Whatever Abraham knew, whatever Abraham treasured and considered precious and worthwhile, he wanted  to share with others.
 
Abraham later says to the king of Sodom, "I have lifted up my hand to the L-rd, the Most High G-d, the Possessor of heaven and earth" (Gen. 14:22). Interestingly, the phrase E-l Elyon Koneh shamayim va-aretz was coined not by Abraha m but by Melchizedek! And this phrase was incorporated into our Amidah prayer. Melchizedek had beautiful ideas, but he was never able to implement them. Abraham's greatness consisted not only in inventing ideas, in coining beautiful phrases, but in taking ideas and converting them into reality, into facts.
 
Pinat HaParasha is Back!
Please click here  to view the  Pinat  HaParasha for Parshat Lech-Lecha. You are encouraged to print the document and use it as a source for discussion at the Shabbat table.
 
Parent-Teacher Conferences

Get ready to sign up for Parent- Teacher Conferences!  The registration website will open on Monday, October 30 at 9:00 p.m. and close on Monday, November 6 at 10:00 p.m.

Fall Parent- Teacher Conferences will be taking place: 
  • Thursday, November 9: Grades K-12 from 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., ECC from 2:00 - 7:00 p.m. (no classes)
  • 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 http://www.maimonides.org/PTC

The registration website can be found here.  Please note that the link will not work until the website opens for conference registration.

Instructions for accessing the website were sent out yesterday.  If you did not receive an e-mail with your student(s) ID and registration information, please contact the division office.

Understanding Our Differences
 
On Tuesday the 5th graders participated in their first Understanding Our Differences program of the year.  The topic was autism, and specifically Asperger's.   
 
After watching a video about both subjects, the students were split into groups for different activities. While one group played "emotion charades," the other group worked on putting together a puzzle without being able to talk or communicate at all.  They saw how challenging it was to play both games this way.  Then the groups switched so that everyone had a turn to play both.   
 
At the end of the program, the class had a guest speaker. Aaron, a young man with autism, came to speak with the students about his life growing up with autism, as well as what he is doing now as an adult. He shared his experience in school and how much he enjoys game shows. At the end of his presentation, the students were able to ask questions.  He told us about his friends, where he lives now, his favorite game show, and more.   
 
The 5th graders learned so much during this program, especially to treat all people with respect and kindness.  They are looking forward to our next Understanding Our Differences program later in the year. 
 






First Grade Principals' Coffee
We held our first grade Principals' Coffee this very rainy Wednesday morning with a small group of parents sitting together with Rabbi David Saltzman and Mrs. Reena Slovin.  We enjoyed coffee and snacks, listened, asked questions, and had time to schmooze.
 
The principals were joined by first grade teacher Dani Carrus, Team Leader of our new David Sulman Computer Science Initiative.  Thanks to a generous grant given by Morah Rose-Jane in memory of her late husband, we have been able to train teachers and create a sequence of computer science and engineering learning beginning with the 4-year-old Early Childhood classroom and advancing through fifth grade.  At the younger grade levels, students begin to learn coding and to program robotics using programs such as Scratch Junior and Code.org, as well as programmable three-dimensional robots called KIBO and Lego robots called WeDO.
 
As Dani explained, she is about to begin a science unit about planets. The students will be creating 3-D planets and attaching them to KIBO robots, then programming them to rotate and revolve around the sun.  As a teacher, Ms. Carrus finds many benefits for the students from engaging in computer science learning. The students are, in essence, learning another language, while at the same time developing logic and sequence skills and building the ability to socialize and work collaboratively with others.
 
In addition, the computer science initiative is coupled with our existing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) science curriculum in grades K-5. The focus of the engineering process is to define a problem, plan a solution, create and then test a model, then make improvements and repeat the process.  Students are always encouraged to try things out, make improvements, and try again.
 
Parents had the opportunity to ask questions about topics and issues that were of interest to them. These included their wondering how the students learn to work together when doing this type of work.  Morah Dani explained that the students are explicitly taught skills for collaborative work and always do a "Technology Circle" following a lesson.  At this time, they reflect on how they worked together with their teams or partners and come up with ways to do better next time.
 
Next Principals' Coffee
The next Pr incipals'  Coffee will be for second grade parents, and will take  place on Wednesday, November 8 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:
3rd grade -  Wednesday, November 15
4th grade -  Wednesday, November 29
5th grade - Wednesday, December 6  

 
STEM Update
This week our third graders finished learning a set of stories about Avraham. They used Scratch Jr. to create their own representation of what happened in the story. They used verses from the text, as well as their own ideas.
 

Family Learning
This past Sunday  over 25 families joined us for a Super STEM Family Learning. The morning combined learning about the connection between our performing chesed and G-d providing rain, followed by a number of experiments and demonstrations about water. Families studied desalination, evaporation, drip irrigation, and how these technologies are used to clean and recycle water in Israel. The morning concluded with a Kahoot review and a raffle.

Many thanks to all the families and teachers that attended, and particularly to Chantal Lawrence for doing much of the planning.

The next Family Learning will be Sunday, November 9, from 10:15-11:30 a.m. We hope to see you there! 







Candy on Halloween
As you may be aware, Halloween this year will be on  Tuesday, October 31. A few students have asked if it is OK to give out candy. 

Students have been taught that even though we do not participate in Halloween by trick-or-treating, it might be considered meritorious to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters who come to our house mipnei darkei shalom , for the sake of maintaining good relationships with our neighbors.

Please feel free to contact Rabbi Saltzman or your child's limudei kodesh teacher if you wish us to discuss this issue further with your child.

In the Art Studio
The last few weeks have been spent introducing and reviewing techniques in the Printmaking, Collage, and Drawing centers. Students in grades 1-5 experimented with different media in the centers by creating mini projects. Then they learned about artists who use collage and printmaking to provide inspiration for their first independent projects of the year.  
 
 




 
Three Upcoming Events
Thursday evening, November 2 - An Evening in Memory of Rabbi Reuven Cohn z"l
Sunday morning, November 5 - Yom Chesed
Sunday evening, November 5 - Annual Kristallnacht Commemoration
 
 
An Evening in Memory of Rabbi Reuven Cohn z"l
 
Please join us for an evening of learning, tribute, and appreciation in memory of our beloved teacher Rabbi Reuven Zvi Cohn z"l on Thursday, November 2 at 6:45 p.m. at Saval Campus, 34 Philbrick Road.
 
Sign up to learn mishnah in Rabbi Cohn's memory at http://hadranalach.com/419
 
 
 
Yom Chesed Registration Extended!
 
Yom Chesed is a week from Sunday, on November 5!  Registration will close soon, but we currently have limited availability for some projects. Our Yom Chesed web page has a complete list of projects as well as an online registration form. 
 
This schoolwide community service initiative is in its 5th year and is fun for everyone, including students, parents, faculty, grandparents, alumni, and parents of alumni.
 
In addition to the many hands-on projects that take place in our school buildings and throughout the community, our Saval Auditorium will host two organizations that focus on medical needs. Gift of Life, a  bone marrow and blood stem cell registry, will be on hand to register new donors, and the Hope Time Cure Epilepsy Foundation will be here to share information about its mission to promote epilepsy awareness and provide support to individuals with epilepsy and their families.
 
Please don't wait to sign up - together we CAN make a difference!
 
 
 
Annual Kristallnacht Commemoration
 
Maimonides School's annual commemoration of the Kristallnacht pogrom is scheduled for Sunday, November 5 at 7:30 p.m. (ma'ariv at 7:15).
 
The speaker will be Dr. Jonathan Skolnik, assistant professor of German and adjunct assistant professor of history and Judaic and Near Eastern studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
 
Maimonides began this lecture more than 20 years ago, when Rabbi Isaiah Wohlgemuth, זצ"ל , described his personal experiences on Kristallnacht - the night of Nov. 9, 1938. Rabbi Wohlgemuth, who joined the Maimonides faculty in 1945, was then a young rabbi in the town of Kitzingen, where a mob attacked his shul. Rabbi Wohlgemuth subsequently was detained at Dachau for several months.
 
Reservations are not required but would be appreciated (mike@maimonides.org, 617-232-4452 x 405).
  
   
Boy Scout Open House on Sunday
Mazal Tov!

Send us your simchas!  Please share your simcha announcement s with us by sending details to info@maimonides.org.
 

Lost and Found - השבת אבידה
Below are the lost items we have collected.  Please take a look to see if anything looks familiar and retrieve it.  If you label lunchboxes, water bottles, and clothing, we will be sure to return them to your child directly.
 
 
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 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