February 16, 2018                     Parashat Terumah                       1 Adar, 5778 
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Rav Thoughts
Middle School Principals' Coffee
6th Grade Tzelem
7th Grade English
8th Grade Trip
Hot Lunch Forms
Absence Notifications
Social Time!
Division Newsletters
Quick Links
Find Maimonides On:
Dear Middle School Families,   
We've packed a lot of learning into the last week of school before February vacation. It's hard to believe we'll be coming back just a few days before Purim - plans for the Purim carnival are well underway, and it should be a great event!
Please enjoy this 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       

In the past we have discussed the oddity of celebrating Rosh Hashanah in Tishrei - the seventh month - as opposed to celebrating in the first month of Nissan. This discrepancy points to the distinct natures of these two roshei shanah. The universal one of Tishrei is appropriately set at the start of the agricultural season, in which the entire world is judged. And the particular Rosh Hashanah of Nissan is unique to Am Yisrael, celebrating the transformation of our family into a nation as we left Mitzrayim and received the Torah. 
The Netziv adds another level of parallel between the two. An integral part of the Rosh Hashanah of Tishrei is the build-up. The introspection, the recitation of selichot, and the anticipation all begin in Elul. The universal day of judgment requires a month of appropriate preparation.   
And what is the parallel preparation period for our particular Rosh Hashanah of Nissan? The month of Adar. What is the nature of the month of Adar, and how is it aligned with the themes of Nissan? The Netziv explains that to prepare for a celebration of our national identity, we spend a month becoming community-minded. We give matanot l'evyonim and re-enforce our bonds with friends and family through mishloach manot and seudat Purim
This is also seen in the mitzvah of machatzit hashekel, which we read about last Shabbos. It is announced on Rosh Chodesh Adar and given mid-month. This half shekel goes to the communal sacrifices of the Beit Hamikdash. It is our ante, our annual buy-in to the Jewish community as we tether ourselves to the values and fate of Am Yisrael. Through this mitzvah we recommit ourselves to our people by supporting the daily workings of the Beit Hamikdash - rededicating ourselves to our Jewish communal insititutions, which breathe spiritual life into our vibrant communities.  Appropriately, it is in this month of Adar that we will be celebrating the 80th year of Maimonides School.
In essence, Adar represents a time in which we recommit to Am Yisrael. A time in which we do the necessary maintenance to strengthen our bonds and our communities. A time to do all the necessary touch-ups so that with the arrival of Nissan we are ready to start anew - to celebrate our national identity with renewed vigor and pride .
Rav Thoughts
by Rabbi David Saltzman      
The Rav asks what he calls an obvious question: Why was the Mishkan necessary? Why did G-d need a home? The Rav answers that G-d does not need a home. On the contrary, G-d contracts Himself - He limits Himself from infinity down to a finite small house, and resides between the keruvim.
The Mishkan is really for man. It's a home for man, who is a homeless being. Being homeless means that man is exposed to nature and to a future which he cannot foresee. Humans have the ability to anticipate the future, but that sometimes causes endless suffering, as we constantly think about an event that might happen or which is destined to happen.
A bayit - a home in which man lives - can never offer man total security. There is only one home that can truly provide security. That is Hashem, who is called makomo shel olam - that is to say, the universe is within G-d. The only home where man can find security is within G-d.
The Mishkan therefore was built to provide man with a home, offered by the Almighty, where he can be close to G-d and feel that he is protected by His guiding hand.

Save the Date: Middle School Principals' Coffees
Rabbi Dov Huff invites our Middle School parents for coffee and conversation to discuss the home/school partnership in raising observant teenagers.
  • Tuesday, March 6: Sixth-grade parents
  • Tuesday, March 13: Seventh-grade parents
  • Tuesday, March 20: Eighth-grade parents

The coffees will take place from 8:45 - 9:45 a.m. in the business office conference room. We hope to see you there!

Sixth-Grade Tzelem

In girls' Tzelem this week, the topic of "Think It or Say It" was discussed. The students watched a video showing a scenario in which a girl said exactly what was on her mind, leading to hurt feelings and damaged friendships. This led into a conversation on the complex question of how to balance honesty and kindness. What would you tell someone if you realize the homework they just finished is all wrong? Is it necessary to tell someone that you don't like their toys?

The students split into groups to write scripts showing a scenario in which "honesty is the best policy" can be replaced by "if you have nothing kind to say, say nothing." Then they used their acting skills to prepare a video based on their scripts, inspiring themselves and each other to think it through: Which thoughts should be expressed aloud, and which should remain private?

Seventh-Grade English
by Jack Fidler
The seventh grade has just finished reading A Raisin in the Sun. Like millions of people before them, they found the ending moving and meaningful; the dilemmas and challenges faced by the characters remain relevant to today's world.
Through a combination of reading, performing scenes in class, and viewing a professional recorded performance, the students have been able to really penetrate the lives of these characters. As a final project on this play, they're now expressing in writing their thoughts on the play's conflict between money and dreams, and discussing the complications of living in an imperfect world.

Eighth-Grade Shakespeare Trip 
by Dr. Megan Hamilton
Our eighth graders thoroughly enjoyed watching a live performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream on Tuesday morning. They laughed at Puck's antics, asked great questions during the Q&A, and loved seeing Akiva pulled up on stage to star as "Pat" in "Pyramus and Thisbe," the play within the play.
Some of the students had doubted their ability to appreciate Shakespeare before the play began, and were surprised by just how much fun they had once it was underway. It was a pleasure to hear students buzzing about the actors and the production choices on our way home. We'll be continuing to study the play throughout the spring, and this was a great introduction!
Hot Lunch Round 3 Has Begun!
This round of hot lunches covers February, March, and April! If your child would still like to place an order, forms can be found here for Taam China and Jerusalem Grill . Enjoy!

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: svedol@maimonides.org

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!

MS logo, medium size