Upper School Weekly Update

April 13, 2018  -  Shemini

In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Yom HaShoah
PTA Lunch
Math Tournament
Financial Aid
Melacha Fair
Israel Guidance Night
College Process
Ayeka Workshop
Final Exams
Baseball Tournament
Alumni Newsletter
Division Newsletters
Social Media
Next Week 
Sunday, April 15
ACT Tests
 
Baseball vs. Millis (V, 2:00)

Monday, April 16  
Rosh Chodesh Iyar, long davening
 
Tuesday, April 17  
Faculty Meeting: 3:00 dismissal
 
Special Schedule
 
Tennis -- Boys @ Watertown (4:00), Girls vs. Brimmer (4:15)
 
Wednesday, April 18
Yom HaZikaron

Thursday, April 19
Yom HaAtzmaut
 
Ezra Schwartz Memorial Baseball Tournament, Sharon (through Sunday)
 
Friday, April 20
Regular Schedule

Ezra Schwartz Memorial Baseball Tournament, Sharon (through Sunday)  
 
In Two Weeks
Monday, April 23
 
Tuesday, April 24

Wednesday, April 25
 
Thursday, April 26
Softball vs. SSCA (TBD)
 
Friday, April 27
9th grade PSAT


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D'var Torah
by Rabbi Dov Huff 

Every year when we read Parshat Shemini I find myself trying once again to understand what happened with Aharon's two sons Nadav and Avihu, who perished in a divine fire after they brought a "strange" "unauthorized" korban. Were they drunk (as hinted to by the juxtaposition of this event to the prohibition against drinking when performing the service)? Were they overly ambitious in their avodah, forgetting that it can only be done in prescribed ways? Did they somehow disrespect Moshe and Aharon?
 
The "why" question is only compounded by Moshe Rabbeinu's response to Aharon: "This is what Hashem said, I will be sanctified through those close to me." What does this mean, and when did Hashem say this? Was the taking of the two somehow a sign of their greatness (Rashi)? Was this a criticism, saying that only through proper avodah can Hashem's name be sanctified (Rashbam)?    
 
As I thought about this yesterday, on Yom Hashoah, it occurred to me that the unanswered question of "why" is one which is a part of living with the reality of great tragedy. And not one which we typically find answers to. As I watched Mrs. Ruth Mermelstein and Mrs. Rita Kessleman recall in vivid and terrible detail their experiences in Auschwitz, bravely recounting the murder of their friends and family, it reminded me of Aharon's response to his brother - "vayidom Aharon" -- "Aharon fell silent."
 
This same word is used by David Hamelech in Tehillim 37, where he insists that in the face of evildoers, "Dom laHashem vehitcholel lo" - "Be silent towards Hashem and be patient with Him." This is followed by "Al titchar bematzliach darko b'ish oseh mezimot" - "do not fret... because of a man who executes malicious plans."
 
The silence being employed by Aharon Hakohen and promoted by David Hamelech is anything but a shortage of words or a lack of response. On the contrary, in the face of the unknown "why," it is a thundering, profound, heroic expression of patience and trust in Hashem - a silent surrender to and affirmation of our emunah that Hashem will both help us through tragedy and protect us from those who would execute malicious plans. How powerful and superhuman is Aharon's demonstration of faith! And how inspiring is it for us to witness these two survivors displaying the strength and courage to live through the unthinkable and heroically emerge on the other side with emunah, meaning, and purpose. 
 
After the tragedy in our parsha the mantle is passed to Aharon's two remaining sons, who are twice referred to as banav hanotarim - the ones who were left - the survivors. Mrs. Mermelstein and Mrs. Kessleman showed us what it means to be the notarim - to carry the responsibility of telling the story despite the pain it brings. They showed us how to have the strength to commit time and resources to Eretz Yisrael and the courage to build committed Jewish families in defiance of the Nazis. To persevere in response to a great tragedy. After two straight presentations Mrs. Kessleman was tired, but when we announced that we would be singing Hatikvah, with renewed strength she stood up with purpose and faced us. With a look of pride and defiant strength in her eyes she joined us in Hatikvah, making every word resonate with new meaning.  
 
And then they made us realize that we are also the notarim. As the Middle Schoolers lined up to thank Mrs. Kessleman, she hugged them, seeing in us the promise "vehaKadosh Baruch Hu matzileinu miyadam" - that the flame of the Jewish people will not be extinguished. Mrs. Mermelstein left the Upper Schoolers with the thought that we must remember that her generation experienced these tragedies so that we, the next generations, could live as proud Jews. This is our responsibility as their banim and banot hanotarim
 
May our students learn to have the depth of emunah and commitment to Am Yisrael modelled by these inspirational women. And may they merit to be carriers of the stories and memories of all the kedoshim who perished in the Shoah.  

Thoughts of the Rav 

by Mrs. Stephanie Samuels
 
In this week's parsha, we read the story of the untimely and tragic death of Aharon's two oldest sons, Nadav and Avihu. According to the text, there is really only one difference between their actions and the action of their father. While they both brought the same ketoret, incense, Aharon's sacrifice was according to G-d's will, while his sons' offering had not been commanded by G-d.
 
The sin of Nadav and Avihu highlights a dichotomy in our approach to religious observance. On the one hand, our religiosity is very serious and disciplined. At the same time, however, all mitzvot should be experienced through joy. How can we resolve this dichotomy?
 
The Rav explains that the Jewish approach to religious observance is to live a disciplined life according to G-d's commandments. For example, we pray in accordance with set times, location, and behavior. Prayer is obligatory, an act where we surrender to G-d's will. The hope is that eventually, we can transform that ritual experience into a profound spiritual experience.
 
In contrast to this, the pagan approach to religious life begins with excitement and fervor and culminates in sin and disillusionment. This is comparable to the experience of using drugs or alcohol to create an artificial feeling of happiness, which masks underlying sadness or disappointment.
 
According to the Rav, the sin of Nadav and Avihu was that they were overcome by ecstasy, and totally missed the point - that a Jewish life worth living, a joyous life, is one that is imbued with a sense of mitzvah, of obeying G-d's commandments.

Yom HaShoah Speakers Share Survival Stories
The Upper School commemoration of Yom HaShoah included moving speakers as well as a tekkes which allowed our stu dents to share stories of relatives who perished in the Holocaust.
Our entire Upper School gathered to hear the testim ony of Holocaust survivor Mrs. Ruth Mermelstein, great-grandmother of t hree Maimonides students. Mrs. Mermelstein grew up in Munkacs and is the author of Beyond the Tracks , a book which tells the story of her childhood in Munkacs and her experiences in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. Mrs. Mermelstein has spoken all across the country at Jewish day schools, public schools, and synagogues, speaking to different age groups from el ementary school through high school and with adult groups as well.
Mrs. Mermelstein's talk was followed by the  family connections presentation , the recitation of the Kel Maleh Rachamim, and the singing of Hatikvah.
As part of their Jewish History curriculum, 9th and 10th graders also had the opportunity to learn the story o f Mrs. Rita Kessleman , who grew up in 
Grodno, Poland with her parents, three siblings, and 79 extended family members. She is a survivor of the Grodno Ghetto, and spent close to two years as an inmate in Auschwitz and seven months in Bergen-Belsen before being liberated by the British Army. She lost her entire immediate and extended family during the Shoah.  Mrs. Kesselman and her late husband, Morris (also a survivor), rebuilt their lives in the United States and lived in Sharon, MA for 54 years, where they raised children and grandchildren. She has devoted her life to supporting the State of Israel and to perpetuating the memory of the 6 million kedoshim. She and her husband provided the financial support for major building projects at Israeli hospitals, and for several Holocaust memorials and museums throughout the United States.
PTA Lunch for All Students on Yom HaAtzmaut

In celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut, the PTA will be providing an Israeli-style lunch to all students on Thursday, April 19.  Parent volunteers will be in each lunchroom to help with distribution. 
 
Teacher Appreciation Week begins Monday, April 23 and the PTA is excited to recognize our dedicated teachers!  More information will be sent out next week.

Maimonides Takes First Place in Global Math Tournament
Maimonides School took 1st place in the 2018 Jewish High School Math League International Math Olympiad. Our math team, comprising students in grades 9-12, competed against 51 other Jewish day schools with 1,000 participants in total.

In addition, senior Benni Trachtenberg was one of only three students to receive a perfect score.

The team rankings were based on the sum of the top four students' scores from each school, placing Maimonides School first in the team competition.

Congratulations to all the Maimonides students who participated, with many thanks to Math Competition Coordinator Michael Schockett and Middle/Upper School Math Department Chair Phil Robson for their leadership and support.


Reminder: Financial Aid for 2018-19
If you have filed a financial aid application for the upcoming school year, the deadline for submitting the required 2017 tax documentation is Thursday, April 19.
 
Please contact Arline Tannenbaum at ext. 425 or atannenbaum@maimonides.org with any questions.

9th and 10th Grade Melacha Fair Showcases Learning
Kol hakavod to our 9th and 10th graders and their rebbeim for all their hard work getting ready for Tuesday's wonderful Melacha Fair! The students prepared impressive displays and oral presentations on the melachot of ShabbatFor additional photos, please clichere .
 


Israel Guidance Night for Juniors and Parents
Juniors and their parents are invited to our annual  Israel  Guidance Night which will take place  Monday April 23, from  6:00-7:00 p.m. in the Saval Library.

This program is designed to help students and their parents prepare for the  Israel Yeshiva/Seminary/Program application process.

You will learn more about the  Israel application timeline, the types of  guidance opportunities we offer, and how visits to Maimonides from the various schools work, among other things. There will also be time to ask questions about the process.

While attendance is not mandatory, it is strongly encouraged.

We will be providing a pizza dinner for our students between  5:00-6:00 p.m., and refreshments for parents will be provided at the event.

Please RSVP to  epulda@maimonides.org  

Program Introducing College Process for 9th Grade Parents
As part of our efforts to increase awareness among our parent body about the long-range view of the college process, there will be an informal conversation for 9th grade parents on Tuesday, April 24, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Saval library. 

While 9th grade is in one sense somewhat early to broach the college topic, it is in another sense ideal timing because there is great benefit to better understanding how the college process landscape looks today.

The aim is to frame the college process in broad but real terms for you so that you can be informed about the years ahead.  This includes not only an accurate understanding of our approach to college guidance, but also some thoughts about curricular choices and summer opportunities, and answers to your questions about standardized testing.

After a brief introduction, the conversation will follow an informal Q and A format concerning anything on your mind.

We will need to cap attendance at the first 15 parents who RSVP, but if total RSVPs for this event exceed 15, we may be able to repeat the event in May.  If you are interested in attending this gathering, please RSVP by April 18 to epulda@maimonides.org. 

Ayeka:  A Special Interactive Workshop on Spirituality and Connection

Join us on Monday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Saval Auditorium for a special program featuring Rabbi Aryeh Ben David, Founder and Director of
Ayeka: The Center for Soulful Education. Rabbi Ben David will be sharing his vision of Jewish education that promotes a personal and vibrant relationship with Jewish text, Judaism, G-d, and spirituality.  He will also discuss how we can focus on soulful parenting in today's busy and complicated world.  RSVP t o msnyder@maimonides.org


Final Exam/Assessment Period Schedule for Grades 9, 10 and 11
Please note the following schedule for the 2018 Final Exam/Assessment Period for grades 9-11:

Friday, June 1
Last day of US classes; 2:30 dismissal

Monday, June 4
9:00-10:30am (11:15am for extended time) - History
12:00-1:30pm (2:15pm for extended time) - Navi

Wednesday, June 6
9:00-10:30am (11:15am for extended time) - English
12:00-1:30pm (2:15pm for extended time) - Talmud 

Friday, June 8
9:00-10:30am (11:15am for extended time) - Math 
12:00-1:30pm (2:15pm for extended time) - Chumash

Monday, June 11
9:00-10:30am (11:15am for extended time) - Science
12:00-1:30pm (2:15pm for extended time) - Jewish History 

Wednesday, June 13
Projects due by 10:30am - World Languages

Friday, June 15
9:30-10:30am - US Final Exam Hand-Backs 

Ezra Schwartz Memorial Baseball Tournament Next Weekend
The second Ezra Schwartz Memorial Baseball Tournament in Sharon is coming up and will take place from April 19-22. Visiting teams will be from the Frisch School, Yeshivah of Flatbush, and Yeshiva University High School of Los Angeles (YULA). Ezra, זק"ל , a 2015 Maimonides graduate and varsity baseball player, was killed by a terrorist in Israel in November 2015. The tournament was established by family and friends to honor Ezra's passion for baseball and create a fun environment in which to remember him. More information can be found at http://ezraschwartzbaseballmemorial.com/.
 
Alumni Newsletter Online

The monthly alumni newsletter for March is now online, and can be found here. This issue's articles include:
  • Graduate's Hospitality Career Thrives in the Hub of Boston's Medical Universe
  • Alumna's New Venture Explores Text, Tradition through Tangible Creating
  • Graduate Finally Finds Income, Spare Time to Pursue Comedy Projects
  • Class Notes 
If you would like to receive the alumni newsletter each month, contact Mike Rosenberg at (617) 232-4452 x 405 or  mrosenberg@maimonides.org.

See What's Happening in other Divisions
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 Middle School newsletter pages.

If you would like to contact a specific school office, please use these emails:
Let's Get Social!
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