June 9, 2017                     Parashat Beha'alotecha         15 Sivan, 5777 
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Rav Thoughts
Poetry Slam
End-of-Year Trips
Special Siyum
Living Room Learning
Alumni Newsletter
Yom Chesed
Absence Notifications
Division Newsletters
Quick Links
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Dear Middle School Families,   

The end of the year is coming up fast! We're enjoying this last week with your children and look forward to next week's field trips and the Aliyah ceremony for eighth graders.

Please read on for a d'var Torah, a thought from the works of Rav Soloveitchik, and some highlights from the week.
Shabbat Shalom!  

Brian Cohen
Associate Principal, Middle School      
D'var Torah

by Rabbi Dov Huff

In this week's parsha there is an interesting exchange between Moshe Rabeinu and Yehoshua. Upon seeing Eldad and Meidad prophesy in the camp, Yehoshua runs to his rebbe insisting that they be imprisoned. Moshe Rabeinu counters that he wishes all of Bnei Yisrael were neviim. This position of Moshe Rabeinu is a bit of a surprising shift from what we may normally think of when it comes to a navi. We are used to thinking of elite, special, unique individuals, selected from birth to be in direct communication with Hashem. Moshe's response is that all of Bnei Yisrael, with enough hard work and self-improvement, could rise to the level of a navi.
Of course this has to be tempered by the end of the parsha, in which Aharon HaKohen and Miriam HaNevia make the mistake of assuming that they are on the same level as Moshe because Hashem speaks to them as well, and are punished as a result. Just because we all have navi potential does not mean that we are all on the same spiritual level.
Nevertheless, this idea - that we all have potential to grow to great spiritual heights - is a critical one. But this potential can only be met with hard work and commitment. The person best equipped and positioned to increase students' spirituality and commitment to yahadut is not the rebbe or morah in the school but the student himself or herself. The Chovat Hatalmidim tells us that our teachers do not know our shortcomings, weaknesses, and the best ways to inspire us as well as we do. We need to take ownership of our spiritual development. Our rebbeim and morot are resources and guides to help us in our quest, but the student must take the helm of their own spiritual journey.
This is especially appropriate as we head into summer. The summer is an opportunity to put all the hard work, inspiration, and skill development we have worked on this year into practice. Summer is not a break from this growth, but perhaps the most critical time for it. It is a time when our students can internalize and find their own meaning in their avodat Hashem. They can build their own relationship with Torah as they learn it lishma, and with tefillah as they open up the siddur, cultivating the intrinsic motivation to talk to Hashem.
May we all enjoy a well-deserved break and a relaxing, fun-filled summer which does not pause, but furthers, our spiritual growth.
Rav Thoughts
by Rabbi David Saltzman 
וַיֹּאמֶר משֶׁה לְחֹבָב בֶּן רְעוּאֵל הַמִּדְיָנִי חֹתֵן משֶׁה נֹסְעִים | אֲנַחְנוּ אֶל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אָמַר ה' אֹתוֹ אֶתֵּן לָכֶם לְכָה אִתָּנוּ וְהֵטַבְנוּ לָךְ כִּי ה' דִּבֶּר טוֹב עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
Then Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses's father-in-law, We are traveling to the place about which the Lord said, I will give it to you. Come with us and we will be good to you, for the Lord has spoken of good fortune for Israel.
The Rav writes that whenever he read this pasuk it brought a tear to his eye and he wanted to cry. This is due to the simplicity with which the great Moshe, the master of all wise men and the father of all prophets, spoke. He used the grammatical first person נֹסְעִים אֲנַחְנוּ, אִתָּנוּ , because Moshe was certain - there was not even a shadow of doubt in his mind - that he was going to enter the Promised Land. He was convinced that he would see the hills of Judea, climb the mount of Lebanon, and be one of the ba'ey ha'aretz.
By this point in the narrative, there was no doubt about Moshe's destiny, and for this reason the Rav would have to control his tears whenever he read this pasuk.
Middle School Poetry Slam
Today the entire Middle School came together for the annual Poetry Slam! We heard some great performances from students and faculty alike -- classics, modern poetry, original works, and raps. Every year we're amazed by the creativity and performance ability of our Middle School students. And as always, the traditional Fox in Socks eighth-grade reading competition was a highlight of the event!

Special guest Mr. Mattoon read an ode to Mr. Cohen, by turns touching and hilarious.

Jacob C. performs an original rap with his friend Yoni S., while MC Noam S. looks on.

Team Two lines up to race through Dr. Seuss's tongue-twisting tale Fox in Socks.

End-of-Year Field Trips
Next Thursday, every grade will enjoy an end-of-year field trip!

Grade 6 will be playing sports in Larz Anderson Park, followed by trampolining at Launch Watertown! Every student must bring in a signed liability form from Launch, available here. A permission slip has been emailed to all parents.

Grade 7 will be going to Canobie Lake Park. This is always a highlight for the seventh grade! They will be back at school in time for regular 3:45 dismissal. A permission slip has been emailed to all parents.

Grade 8 will be canoeing on the Charles River with Charles River Canoe and Kayak! Every student must read the Charles River Safety Information handout and bring in a Parental Permission Form, available here. A school permission slip has been emailed to all parents.

We're all looking forward to these special events!

Siyum Masechet Moed
We were honored to celebrate a siyum with sixth-grader Ben Z. this morning. Ben has completed studying all the mishnayot of Masechet Moed with his father. Ben spoke at shul to share his learning with the entire Middle School, and then shared a celebratory bagel breakfast with the sixth grade.

Living Room Learning

Maimonides School is pleased to bring you
a taste of our Limudei Kodesh program
in our Living Room Learning series!

Limudei Kodesh teacher Karyn Spero
for an hour of informal learning
as we engage each other and the Jewish sources
in a conversation of Torah.
Monday, June 12
7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
at the home of 
Claudine and Adam Grossman
1016 Centre Street, Newton
Wednesday, June 14
8:00 - 9:00 p.m.
at the home of
Tova Katz and Ithamar Jotkowitz
25 Columbia Street, Brookline
"For the Love of Torah":
The Rise in the Centrality of Torah Study for Living Room Learning Its Own Sake

In this shiur we will explore the 
development of the role of Torah study from the period of the Tanach to the present day. Through an in-depth analysis of texts from the Tanach and rabbinic sources, we will discuss the historical and cultural changes that pushed Torah study to the fore as a precious gem that is meant to be learned for its own sake. 
All are welcome. 
For more information or to RSVP, please contact Karyn Spero  

Alumni Newsletter Online
The monthly alumni newsletter for May is now online, and can be foun d here. This issue's articles include:
  • A Decade After Launch, Alumna's HydroChic Continues to Grow, Prosper
  • After Israeli Navy Service, Graduate a Source of Vibrant Judaism in Perth
  • Recent Graduate on the Front Lines to Educate Her Campus about Israel
  • 1967 Graduate Recalls Tension, Euphoria in School as Six-Day War Progressed
If you would like to receive the alumni newsletter each month, contact Mike Rosenberg at (617) 232-4452 x 405 or mrosenberg@maimonides.org.    
Get Involved in Yom Chesed
Would you like to be involved with Yom Chesed, our day of community service?

Our fourth Yom Chesed is scheduled for Sunday morning, November 5, 2017. Yom Chesed is an all-ages community service initiative for our entire Maimonides community.  Our past Yom Chesed events have each involved over 500 participants helping a broad range of community organizations in hands-on projects.

While November seems a long way off, planning for this event begins now! If you are interested in helping to coordinate one of our Yom Chesed projects, or would like to find out more information about volunteer opportunities, please contact one of our Yom Chesed coordinators, Stef Mishkin, stefmish@msn.com, or Alissa Muzin, alissamuzin@gmail.com.

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:
We are not using the absence hotline this year!
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 .

Division Newsletters
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 Elementary and Upper Schools, or click here for the Early Childhood Center.

If you would like to contact a specific school office, please use these emails:
On behalf of the entire Middle School:
Shabbat Shalom, and Chag Kasher V'Sameach!
Brian Cohen

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