January 5, 2018                      Parashat Shemot                       18 Tevet, 5778 
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Rav Thoughts
Sixth-Grade Trip
Student Perception Surveys
Mazal Tov
Alumni Newsletter
Blood Drive
PTA Hat Show
Boy Scout Trip
Absence Notifications
Social Time!
Division Newsletters
Quick Links
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Dear Middle School Families,    
It was great to see your children back at school this week, however briefly! It sounds like everyone had a great vacation, and we hope they've been helping shovel and prepare for Shabbat over these two snow days. We're looking forward to next week's expected milder weather and a full week of classes!

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
The Ramban says in his introduction to Sefer Shmot that the 
sefer is about "exile and redemption." This title is certainly appropriate when we think about the exile and enslavement in Egypt, as well as the eventual salvation and redemption when Hashem took us out. This description, however, only takes us as far as Parshat Beshalach, about a third of the way through the entire sefer. It seems to leave out one of the most significant moments in Jewish history -- in which we receive the Torah -- as well as the multiple parshiyot devoted to the building of the Mishkan. 

The Ramban explains that in reality, the receiving of the Torah and the building of the Mishkan are  essential aspects of our redemption. Without the Torah -- which guides us -- and the Mishkan -- which brings us closer to Hashem, we would not truly be redeemed. We could have left Mitzrayim and been free, but if nothing came after, we would  have had no sense of meaning or purpose . We would be left standing in the desert.  
The idea that our Torah learning and its resulting closeness to Hashem are steps in our  process of redemption adds yet another level of meaning to the Torah we learn here every day. May our limud Torah serve to bring us closer to our ultimate geulah for all of Am Yisrael speedily in our days.
Rav Thoughts
by Rabbi David Saltzman  
Ra bbi Soloveitchik writes that while Moshe was gazing upon the burning bush, he made two observations. One was that the bush was indestructible. It was אֵינֶנּוּ אֻכָּל  - not being consumed. The second miracle was that the fire didn't spread.
The Rav translates מַדּוּעַ לֹא יִבְעַר הַסְּנֶה  as: Why did the bush not catch fire? There was a fire in the middle, but the exterior did not catch fire at all!
He answers that there were two messages for Moshe from this miraculous mareh. The first was to teach Moshe that the covenantal community is indestructible. No matter how difficult circumstances are, and no matter how great the suffering, the covenantal community will never terminate.
The second miracle was that the external personality of a Jew, and even their deeds, are not indicative. Sometimes there is a conflict between the external personality and the inner personality. In spite of the cold, thorny, and scratchy demeanor on the outside, deep down in the center of the heart there is warmth, sensitivity, and love.
For these reasons, a Jew should never be expelled or considered lost to the community.
Sixth-Grade Trip
Save the Date!

The sixth grade will be visiting the Christa Corrigan McAuliffe Center for Integrated Science Learning for a "field trip to Mars" on Tuesday, January 16! This will be an all-day field trip, rain or shine, and is a highlight of the sixth-grade year. Further information will be coming home soon!

Student Perception Surveys
by Scott Mattoon

Before the winter break we launched the first wave of our online Student Perception Surveys to grades 6-12. Developed last year in collaboration with department chairs and teachers, these surveys are utilized to learn more about what students are experiencing in some of their classes. The surveys pose questions that span all disciplines, and also some that are specific to each discipline.
Before the first surveys began last month, we met with students to discuss the survey's intention and the importance of the process - most notably that we respect their perspective, and so they must respect the survey by offering their most thoughtful and constructive responses. We emphasized the essential understanding that while it is not the students' job to evaluate the teachers (that is the administration's job), it is the students' job to share their individual experiences in the learning process.
Our teachers are, to be sure, the academic and pedagogical experts in students' learning process; but only the students have firsthand experience in that learning process that is an essential complement to the learning relationship between teacher and student. Knowing what they perceive about their experiences is vital to our broader efforts to connect our lessons to them in effective ways. Our teachers, as a natural part of their ongoing professional practice, will engage with their department chairs and principals in thoughtful reflection on the survey results as they consider their approach to their classes in the remainder of the year.
We value the excellence among our faculty; it takes trained and nimble intellects, instinctive and compassionate hearts, and open minds for our faculty to be successful at Maimonides. Through this survey, and our iterative reflection process, we also value understanding the student experience as a key to leveraging all that our faculty have to offer.
Mazal Tov

Mazal tov to Dayna and Michael Delman on the bar mitzvah of Jonah '22. Mazal tov as well to sister Michelle '17.
Send us your simchas!  Please share your simcha announcements with us by sending details to info@maimonides.org.

Alumni Newsletter Online
The monthly alumni newsletter for December is now online, and can be found here. This issue's articles include:
  • Sister Fuels Alumna's Commitment to Children, Adults with Special Needs
  • Graduate Presenting Annual Rav Soloveitchik Seminar Sessions to Seniors
  • Work at U.S. Think Tank Immerses Graduate in Middle East Issues
  • Highlights from the Maimonides Invitational Basketball Tournament in Memory of Leland Gelman
If you would like to receive the alumni newsletter each month, contact Mike Rosenberg at (617) 232-4452 x 405   or  mrosenberg@maimonides.org.

Blood Drive on Tuesday 
PTA Hat Show on Sunday, January 14 

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: 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!

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