November 10, 2017               Parashat Chayei Sara           21 Cheshvan, 5778 
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Rav Thoughts
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Eighth-Grade Field Trip
Sixth-Grade Hebrew
Seventh-Grade Chumash
Eighth-Grade Math
Hot Lunches
Yom Chesed
Boy Scout Trip
Absence Notifications
Social Time!
Division Newsletters
Calendar
Quick Links
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Dear Middle School Families,    
 
It's been a pleasure meeting so many of you at Parent-Teacher Conferences! We look forward to meeting more parents a week from Sunday, on November 19.
 
Even though the academic week was short, we did a lot of learning. 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 David Saltzman 
 
In this week's parsha, Eliezer is charged to find a wife for Yitzchak. He is told to find someone who embodies the character traits and philosophies of the first monotheistic family. Along the way, Eliezer davens to G-d for assistance in his mission. Almost immediately upon completion of his prayer, Rivka meets him at the well, and Eliezer is amazed at her acts of kindness and compassion. He knows his tefillah was answered! After he gives her some jewelry, she invites him to stay the night and meet her family. Before he journeys to her home, the Torah says that Eliezer:
וַיִּקֹּ֣ד הָאִ֔ישׁ וַיִּשְׁתַּ֖חוּ לַֽה'׃
וַיֹּ֗אמֶר בָּר֤וּךְ ה' אֱלֹקי֙ אֲדֹנִ֣י אַבְרָהָ֔ם אֲ֠שֶׁר לֹֽא־עָזַ֥ב חַסְדּ֛וֹ וַאֲמִתּ֖וֹ מֵעִ֣ם אֲדֹנִ֑י אָנֹכִ֗י בַּדֶּ֙רֶךְ֙ נָחַ֣נִי ה' בֵּ֖ית אֲחֵ֥י אֲדֹנִֽי׃
The man bowed low in homage to the L-rd
and said, "Blessed be the L-rd, the God of my master Abraham, who has not withheld His steadfast faithfulness from my master. For I have been guided on my errand by the L-rd, to the house of my master's kinsmen."
 
As we would expect, Eliezer recognizes the great benefit that Hashem just performed on his behalf, and even before leaving, he bows and gives thanks to Hashem. Eliezer thanked G-d and expressed hakarat hatov in the moment and while the event was still unfolding. As the Radak explains:
קידה על אפים השתחויה זו פישוט ידים ורגלים. והודה לא-ל שהצליח דרכו:
The bowing and thanking was to express his gratitude to G-d for having heard his prayer.
 
One lesson from this episode is not to miss an opportunity to give hakarat hatov, especially when you have the strongest feelings of appreciation. Saying a bracha when you eat, or saying thanks to someone immediately after they performed a favor for you, would emulate this trait of Eliezer.  
 
Secondly, at Rivka's home, Eliezer recounts the story to her family and recalls many of the salient details regarding how he knew Rivka was the right choice. It is interesting to note that when reviewing the story with Rivka's parents and brother, Eliezer also mentions that:
וָאֶקֹּ֥ד וָֽאֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶ֖ה לַה' וָאֲבָרֵ֗ךְ אֶת־ה' אֱלֹקי֙ אֲדֹנִ֣י אַבְרָהָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֤ר הִנְחַ֙נִי֙ בְּדֶ֣רֶךְ אֱמֶ֔ת לָקַ֛חַת אֶת־בַּת־אֲחִ֥י אֲדֹנִ֖י לִבְנֽוֹ׃
Then I bowed low in homage to the L-rd and blessed the L-rd, the G-d of my master Abraham, who led me on the right way to get the daughter of my master's brother for his son.
 
In addition to all the details of the encounter between himself and Rivka, Eliezer also recounts how he gave immediate thanks to Hashem. Eliezer, realizing this was an important element of his success, made sure to spread the important message of hakarat hatov as well.
 
Rav Thoughts
by Rabbi Dov Huff
 
There are three purchases we made of land in Eretz Yisrael
 
Avraham purchases Maarat Hamachpela in Chevron from Ephron in this week's parsha.
 
Yaakov Avinu purchases a plot of land in Shechem from the sons of Chamor.
 
David Hamelech purchases Har Habayit from Aravna HaYevusi.
 
The Rav points out that these three purchases correspond to the three crowns given to Am Yisrael - Keter Torah, Keter Kehuna, and Keter Malchus - the Crowns of Torah, Priesthood, and Kingship.
 
The purchase of Maarat Hamachpela in Chevron is connected to Malchus (Kingship), since it is the place where the reign of David Hamelech began.
 
The purchase of land in Shechem is connected to Torah, because in the time of Moshe Rabbeinu, we carved the words of the Torah into Har G'rizim, reminiscent of Matan Torah.
 
And finally, the purchase of Har Habayit is connected to the Kehuna (Priesthood), which expressed itself through the service in the Beit Hamikdash, situated on that holy site.  

Parent-Teacher Conferences
Thank you to everyone who joined us at conferences on Thursday and Friday!

Fall Parent- Teacher Conferences will continue: 
  • Sunday, November 19: Grades K-12 from 12:00 - 7:00 p.m., ECC from 2:00 - 7:00 p.m.
The conference hours can also be viewed at http://www.maimonides.org/PTC

Eighth Grade Field Trip

The 8th graders went on a mystery field trip Wednesday afternoon, organized by grade dean Dana Bar-Or and the shlichot.  Their destination was Coolidge Corner, where they split into groups and took part in a creative team-building activity.  Each team was given a list (in Hebrew) of tasks to accomplish, the goal being to fulfill as many as possible within the alloted time.  Examples of the tasks included "take a picture of yourself with a tourist," "help a stranger carry their bags," "give compliments to four people," "take a picture of yourself wearing sunglasses," and "ask three people how they are feeling."  The winning group will receive a special prize on Monday.





 
Sixth-Grade Hebrew
by Barak Cerf
During the past two weeks we have started learning a new topic: "The Human Body." We approached this topic in a very different and unique way, through תרבות הסלפי "The Culture of Selfies." Analyzing and discussing the reasons and the benefits - as well as the danger and disadvantages - of taking selfies, all the while emphasizing the human body parts, created a very interesting discussion and outcome in the form of an essay that each and every one of the students wrote.  Following our examination of selfie culture came מדרש תמונה, a discussion about the function of portraits and the reasons for the creation of portraits.   
 
Seventh-Grade Chumash
by Rabbi Jason Strauss

The 7th grade Chumash class started the year by studying and comparing two stories about the Jewish people complaining about a lack of water in Parshat Chukat. Students had the opportunity to "defend" or "prosecute" Moshe for his actions when he struck the rock at Mei Meriva. They also wrote and presented their own divrei Torah based on what they learned in class and their own research.

Most recently, we learned about the processing and use of the Parah Adumah (red heifer) found in Bamidbar 19. We asked questions such as: Why does the process of becoming pure from contact with a dead body have so many strange details? Are we allowed to ask why Hashem commanded the mitzvot we have trouble understanding? And what does Rav Soloveitchik say is meaningful about the kohen who purifies someone impure from tum'at met then becoming impure himself for one day?


 
Eighth-Grade Math
by Phillip Robson

8 th grade math has been a lot of fun so far this year. For the first time the students are working in one of three sections, allowing for more individualized support and challenge, as well as differentiated instruction.

Students have been asked over and over again to explain their thinking and their ideas, with a strong emphasis on why. The focus is on not only answers, but also strategies (and in many cases, a number of different ways to approach a single problem); it's not about what you must do, it's what you can do when solving a problem; it's not about what to think, it's about how to think. This conceptual-based learning has been a theme of Middle School math for a number of years now. It's hard but important work, and the students seem to be enjoying it.

In one of the classes, students have spent some time thinking about number sense, algebraic manipulation, and structure in order to solve real-world problems such as "How many atoms are there in the moon?"

In the other classes, the ideas studied have been linear functions and percents. Students have been wrestling with ideas such as "If a store sells an item at a 20% discount and tax is 25% of the sale price, why don't I really save anything at all?"

We are looking forward to building on this great start and having a fantastic year!

Middle School Hot Lunches!
The popular eighth-grade fundraiser continues with lunch from Taam China on Monday, November 6. Taam China has confirmed that during repairs they are open and available to prepare and deliver the food! Lunch from Jerusalem Grill will be served on Wednesday, November 8.

The eighth-grade students love serving hot lunches on Mondays and Wednesdays to everyone who ordered!

Our 5th Yom Chesed - Still Making a Difference!


Students, parents, alumni, grandparents, faculty and staff gathered to work together on meaningful  chesed projects on campus, around town, and in Israel during our 5th Yom Chesed on Sunday.
The  morning began with davening followed by a welcome by Head of School Naty Katz and a thoughtful d'var Torah by Eliana Diamond '21.  Yom Chesed co-chairs Stef Mishkin and Alissa Muzin then recognized the volunteers, sponsors, and participants who contributed to make this day so special. Following breakfast, participants headed to locations throughout the school and the community to work on a wide range of projects.
Our 17 projects helped the following organizations and groups: Alex's Lemonade Stand; Brookline Parks; Brookline Police, Fire, and Neighbors; Center Communities; Children's Hospital; Friends of IDF; Gift of Life; Gittel's Kitchen; Heading Home; Hebrew SeniorLife; Hope Time Cure; Jewish Family and Children's Service/Chai Works; Lone Soldier Center; Ohr Shabbat; Pantry Packers (in Israel); ROFEH; and Yachad.
Our Yom Chesed video conveys the excitement of this special day.
Many thanks go to all of our volunteers and sponsors, who helped to make this Yom Chesed so special!

 
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 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:
Eighth-Grade Field Trip 
On Wednesday, the eighth grade set out for Harvard Street to enjoy 
On behalf of the entire Middle School:
Shabbat Shalom!

   
 
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