December 15, 2017                    Parashat MiKetz                      27 Kislev, 5778 
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Rav Thoughts
Chanukah Activities
Eighth-Grade Computer Programming
Town Hall Meeting
Boy Scout Trip
Absence Notifications
Social Time!
Division Newsletters
Quick Links
Find Maimonides On:
Dear Middle School Families,    
The building is humming with activity today as the students enjoy a special day of Chanukah activities! They are cooking, crafting, racing, and finding the science in traditional Chanukah activities.

Please enjoy a d'var Torah, a thought from the works of Rav Soloveitchik, news about upcoming events, and some pictures and stories from the week.
Shabbat shalom and Chanukah sameach !  
D'var Torah
by Rabbi Dov Huff
There is no dedicated gemara on Chanukah. The how and the why of Chanukah are found in the second perek of Mesechet Shabbos, which talks about the proper and acceptable ways to light Shabbos candles. This provides the gemara with the opportunity to transition to talking about our other nerot.  But is there a deeper reason that Chazal chose Mesechet Shabbos to teach about Chanukah?
The Rav explains that the nerot of Shabbos and Chanukah complement each other. The entire essence of the nerot Chanukah is pirsumei nisa - spreading the light from inside our home and radiating it outwards to the world. They are a public display of the miracles of Hashem and a declaration of our praise and thanks. For this reason they can't be set above twenty amot and must be lit in a place and at a time that will maximize their visibility.
But nerot Shabbos are different. They are about keeping the light inside. They are about shalom bayit - creating a cocoon of spiritual light in the privacy of our homes. They are about families huddling together, warming in one another's spiritual glow.
While Chanukah is about radiating light to the outside, Shabbos is about reinforcing the light within. While on Chanukah we are projecting out a message of hakarat hatov and kiddush Hashem to the world, we are reminded on Shabbos that we need to set aside time to perfect, nurture, and fine-tune our own spiritual foundations. Because the stronger the light is within, the greater it can radiate out.
Questions for the Shabbos table:
1. What can you do on Shabbos to reinforce your spiritual foundation?
2. What things do you do in your life to spread spirituality?
Rav Thoughts
by Rabbi Dov Huff 
When we think about the appropriate place for the laws of Hallel in our sifrei halacha, our books of law, we would likely look towards hilchot tefilla. Since the recitation of Hallel is done as part of tefilla, it would seem appropriate to place the laws of Hallel in the sections about prayer. This is, in fact, what the Shulchan Aruch does. 
Interestingly, the Rambam does not. In the Mishneh Torah, one can find the halachot pertaining to Hallel right in the middle of Hilchot Chanukah. The Rav explains the reason for this is that the function of Hallel is giving praise to Hashem, and giving praise to Hashem is at the very core of the meaning of Chanukah. The underlying theme, the reason we light candles in the places and at the times that we do, the emphasis on pirsumei nisah - all flow from this idea, which is the very essence of Chanukah. 
Chanukah Activities
In celebration of Chanukah, today the students each had an opportunity to participate in projects of their choice: making sufganiot or challah, creating "stained glass" masterpieces to share with their families, competing to see who could build the longest-spinning dreidel, and searching through the building in a scavenger hunt for things they've never noticed before!


Next Wednesday, on the 8th day of Chanukah, we will participate in the Maimonides School 80th Anniversary celebration! While classes will run as usual, our lunch schedule will be different on that day. Please make sure your child brings a lunch that does not need to be heated. Jerusalem Grill lunch will be served as scheduled.
Eighth-Grade Computer Programming
by Lev Novikov

In Computer Programming, students have been making their way through the Introduction to JavaScript: Drawing and Animation course on Khan Academy and have started to make their own games using basic shapes such as ellipses, rectangles, and triangles. In this elective, some students are moving on to more advanced topics, such as random motion and 3D geometries.

Town Hall Meeting in Brookline
The Maimonides School Board of Directors
invites parents to a
Town Hall Meeting
Thank you to everyone who attended the Town Hall Meeting in Sharon this week.  It was a valuable evening of meaningful conversation.    
Steven Schwartz, Board Chair, and Naty Katz, Head of School, look forward to meeting with more of you after winter break, listening to your suggestions and concerns, and benefiting from this opportunity for open dialogue.

These meetings are intended to focus on the non-academic issues within the purview of the Board such as day school affordability, financial matters, and other topics of interest to the community.     

The second Town Hall Meeting will take place Wednesday, January 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Brookline -  click here to respond

Please check your e-mail for full details of the meeting locations, or write to for more information.
There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion during the meetings. To help us prepare, we encourage you to submit questions in advance to
We look forward to an evening of engaging conversation with you.

Boy Scout Trip to Israel
Maimonides Boy Scout Troop 54 is organizing a unique trip to Israel in February 2018. This will be a 12-day program during President's week, February 13-25.
The group will explore all over Israel with experts from botany, zoology, ornithology, ecology, and archaeology. 500 million birds begin migrating through Israel! The students will relate this information to the Tanach and Talmud.
Students do not need to be scouts, but they will need to register with the Boy Scouts of America before the trip. Participants may be families, children 12 years and up accompanied by an adult, teens aged 14 and up, and retirees.

Absences and Tardy Notifications

We wish that none of our students ever felt ill -- we'd love to have 100% attendance every day -- but we know that germs don't always listen to our desires!

However, we do need to know where our students are.
If your child needs to miss a day of school,
or will be tardy or leave early, please be certain to inform Sharona Vedol in the Middle School office
by email:

Please remember:
All absence notifications must come in via email. 
We ask that you e-mail the office for safety reasons -- it allows for far more efficient accounting of student absences .

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

Division Newsletters
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, Elementary School, or Upper School newsletter pages.

If you would like to contact a specific school office, please use these emails:
On behalf of the entire Middle School:
Shabbat Shalom!

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