December 22, 2017                      Parashat VaYigash                       5 Tevet, 5778 
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Rav Thoughts
Maimon80s Celebration
Running Chug
Town Hall Meeting
Boy Scout Trip
Absence Notifications
Social Time!
Division Newsletters
Quick Links
Find Maimonides On:
Dear Middle School Families,    
It's hard to believe winter break is here already! We hope you'll enjoy rest and relaxation with your families and friends, and that everyone will return to school with lots of energy and ready to learn!

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!  
D'var Torah
by Rabbi Dov Huff
Our 11th grade parents joined us this week on Rosh Chodesh Chanukah for tefillah, singing, and breakfast. I would like to share with you the following dvar Torah, which was delivered at shacharit by 11th graders Eve Spear and Talya Saltzman.
Nowadays, many of us feel a need to "zone out" ourselves from the pressures of life. We'll retreat to social media or any other mind-deadening activity to escape from feeling "too much" reality.
We've gotten pretty good at numbing our emotions, but do we ever consider what makes us passionate? And how do we channel those deep feelings into positive action?
This week's parsha, Vayigash, describes the heart-wrenching reunion between Yakov and his beloved son, Yoseph. For 22 agonizing years, they had been separated, with Yakov fearing the worst. What will happen at their first meeting?
Yoseph's emotional response is expected after being separated from his beloved father;
וַיִּפֹּל֙ עַל־צַוָּארָ֔יו וַיֵּ֥בְךְּ עַל־צַוָּארָ֖יו עֽוֹד : he falls on his father's neck and weeps.
Yakov's reaction, according to Rashi, is quite unusual. He does not embrace or kiss Yoseph. Instead, he recites the Shema prayer. Imagine how many tears Yakov shed during those long years. Finally, he is reunited with his child who was torn away from him. As Yakov's heart spills over with an overabundance of love and gratitude, he chooses to channel those feelings into prayer.
Why did Yakov choose this heartfelt moment to occupy himself with prayer? Why didn't he have a more emotional reaction like his son?
Through his calm reaction at this most passionate moment of his life, Yakov imparts an essential message to us. He teaches us to ask: What makes us passionate, and how can we direct our greatest passions in the most positive ways?
And, in our happiest moments, how do we channel our most deep-felt emotions? Do we use our moments of intense happiness to give thanks and appreciation to our Creator? Do we channel our joy and celebration into thanking and praising Hashem?
Yakov's message is evident in our lives especially around Chanukah. Chanukah is a joyous holiday where we sing, dance, eat and celebrate outwardly, the way Yosef did when he was reunited with his father. We are in a constant state of intense happiness throughout the holiday. However, we learn from Yaakov that it is also important to channel our positive, excited emotions into prayer to Hashem. Therefore, on Chanukah we add special tefillot into our davening -- Hallel, Al Hanissim and Bimei Matityahu -- so that we can channel our excited, celebratory emotions into praising and thanking Hashem.
Thank you!
Rav Thoughts
by Rabbi Dov Huff 
The Midrash tells us that when Yosef
hatzaddik sent wagons to his father, Yaakov
avinu, to transport him back to Egypt, Yosef was confirming that he was alive by alluding to the final sugya, the last topic, that they had learned together before Yosef disappeared - the egla arufa, the case of a body found outside a city.
The Rav describes Yaakov Avinu's complex reaction upon hearing the news: Od Yosef chai, vechi hu moshel b'chol Eretz Mitzrayim.
On the one hand, Yosef is alive - his beloved son, the boy he raised with deep Jewish values. On the other hand, he has been integrated into Egyptian society in an extreme way. He is the ruler!
This is why the Rav says that the subtle reference to egla arufa was so important. Not only to show that Yosef still identified with the Torah, but on a deeper level as well. The mitzvah of egla arufa dictates that when we find a dead body outside of the city, the elders come out with a cow and exclaim over the corpse, "our hands did not spill this blood." The Mishna in Sotah is surprised by this. Do we have any suspicion that the beit din, the Torah scholars, the leadership, committed this murder? Certainly not. Rather, this is Jewish responsibility towards our fellow man. It means that we take responsibility for not taking better care of this victim. 

This, says the Rav, was the deeper message of the wagons. Yosef was saying, "I am still Yosef. I may be the ruler of Egypt, but I am a ruler in the way that you taught me. I am ruling in Egypt by the values of Yaakov avinu. With responsibility, care, and sensitivity." 
Maimoni80s Celebration!
Wednesday was the kickoff of Maimonides School's 80th Anniversary celebration! Many of the Middle School students were in on the surprise and loved preparing the gym and seeing the confused expressions of the younger students turn into joy and excitement.

The schoolwide celebration began with a skit featuring "former" Maimo students from previous decades, dressing and talking like it was still the era in which they attended. The 1960's were particularly interesting!   
Following the skit there was dancing, singing, games, and arts and crafts at various booths, where the older students shared their talents with the younger children.  The extravaganza culminated with the exciting announcement that in honor of our 80th, Maimo will be hosting a concert on March 8th featuring Israeli superstar Gad Elbaz .  

It was a day both to recognize our roots, and to feel great pride in where we are today.  See it through your child's eyes with this 80th Kick-Off video.

The skit about Maimonides' history was a huge hit!

What's a Maimon80s celebration without dancing?

Middle School girls put their slime-making expertise to good use running the slime-making booth -- one of the most popular places to be at the celebration!

Happy 80th Anniversary, Maimonides School!
Running Chug
On Tuesday, the girls' running chug ran out for its traditional jog to J.P. Licks before it gets too cold for ice cream. The exercise kept the chill off, and the girls were delighted to celebrate their fitness accomplishment!

Town Hall Meeting in Brookline
The Maimonides School Board of Directors
invites parents to a
Town Hall Meeting
Steven Schwartz, Board Chair, and Naty Katz, Head of School, look forward to meeting with 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 next 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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