Upper School Weekly Update

December 22nd, 2017  -  Vayigash
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
80th Anniversary Celebration
Student Review
Meat and Meet
Writers' Workshop
Town Hall Meeting
Mazel Tov!
Division Newsletters
Social Media
Next Week
In Two Weeks
Mon., Jan. 1
New Year's Day
School closed
 
T ues., Jan. 2
Rav Senior Seminar: 5th period and X-block
   
Wed., Jan. 3
Boys' Basketball @ Winthrop (7:00 p.m.)
   
Thu., Jan. 4
Girls' Basketball vs. Pope John (JV 5:30 p.m., V 6:45 p.m.)

Boys' Basketball @ Pope John (JV 5:30 p.m., V 7:00 p.m.)
 
Fri., Jan. 5
Seniors: Project Shalom, no Friday classes for rest of year

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D'var Torah
by Rabbi Dov Huff
Our 11th grade parents joined us this week on Rosh Chodesh Chanukah for tefillah, singing, and breakfast. I would like to share with you the following dvar Torah, which was delivered at shacharit by 11th graders Eve Spear and Talya Saltzman.
 
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Nowadays, many of us feel a need to "zone out" ourselves from the pressures of life. We'll retreat to social media or any other mind-deadening activity to escape from feeling "too much" reality.
 
We've gotten pretty good at numbing our emotions, but do we ever consider what makes us passionate? And how do we channel those deep feelings into positive action?
 
This week's parsha, Vayigash, describes the heart-wrenching reunion between Yakov and his beloved son, Yoseph. For 22 agonizing years, they had been separated, with Yakov fearing the worst. What will happen at their first meeting?
 
Yoseph's emotional response is expected after being separated from his beloved father;
וַיִּפֹּל֙ עַל־צַוָּארָ֔יו וַיֵּ֥בְךְּ עַל־צַוָּארָ֖יו עֽוֹד : he falls on his father's neck and weeps.
 
Yakov's reaction, according to Rashi, is quite unusual. He does not embrace or kiss Yoseph. Instead, he recites the Shema prayer. Imagine how many tears Yakov shed during those long years. Finally, he is reunited with his child who was torn away from him. As Yakov's heart spills over with an overabundance of love and gratitude, he chooses to channel those feelings into prayer.
 
Why did Yakov choose this heartfelt moment to occupy himself with prayer? Why didn't he have a more emotional reaction like his son?
 
Through his calm reaction at this most passionate moment of his life, Yakov imparts an essential message to us. He teaches us to ask: What makes us passionate, and how can we direct our greatest passions in the most positive ways?
 
And, in our happiest moments, how do we channel our most deep-felt emotions? Do we use our moments of intense happiness to give thanks and appreciation to our Creator? Do we channel our joy and celebration into thanking and praising Hashem?
 
Yakov's message is evident in our lives especially around Chanukah. Chanukah is a joyous holiday where we sing, dance, eat and celebrate outwardly, the way Yosef did when he was reunited with his father. We are in a constant state of intense happiness throughout the holiday. However, we learn from Yaakov that it is also important to channel our positive, excited emotions into prayer to Hashem. Therefore, on Chanukah we add special tefillot into our davening -- Hallel, Al Hanissim and Bimei Matityahu -- so that we can channel our excited, celebratory emotions into praising and thanking Hashem.
 
Thank you!
Thoughts of the Rav 

by Rabbi Dov Huff 
 
The Midrash tells us that when Yosef hatzaddik sent wagons to his father, Yaakov avinu, to transport him back to Egypt, Yosef was confirming that he was alive by alluding to the final sugya, the last topic, that they had learned together before Yosef disappeared - the egla arufa, the case of a body found outside a city.
 
The Rav describes Yaakov Avinu's complex reaction upon hearing the news: Od Yosef chai, vechi hu moshel b'chol Eretz Mitzrayim.
 
On the one hand, Yosef is alive - his beloved son, the boy he raised with deep Jewish values. On the other hand, he has been integrated into Egyptian society in an extreme way. He is the ruler!
 
This is why the Rav says that the subtle reference to egla arufa was so important. Not only to show that Yosef still identified with the Torah, but on a deeper level as well. The mitzvah of egla arufa dictates that when we find a dead body outside of the city, the elders come out with a cow and exclaim over the corpse, "our hands did not spill this blood." The Mishna in Sotah is surprised by this. Do we have any suspicion that the beit din, the Torah scholars, the leadership, committed this murder? Certainly not. Rather, this is Jewish responsibility towards our fellow man. It means that we take responsibility for not taking better care of this victim. 

This, says the Rav, was the deeper message of the wagons. Yosef was saying, "I am still Yosef. I may be the ruler of Egypt, but I am a ruler in the way that you taught me. I am ruling in Egypt by the values of Yaakov avinu. With responsibility, care, and sensitivity." 
 
 
80th Anniversary Celebration
The 8th day of Chanukah was a very special day at Maimo as the entire school came together to officially launch our 80th Anniversary. The celebration began with a skit featuring 9th grader Eliana Diamond and 10th grader Aviel Taube as "former" Maimo students from previous decades, dressing and talking like it was still the era in which they attended. The 1960's were particularly interesting! 

Following the skit our Class of 2018 introduced a special song,
"Maimon80s," and then the party started. Students of all ages donned festive hats and enjoyed dancing as well as a slew of carnival-style activities, where the older students shared their talents with the younger children, before gathering for a photo shoot in the courtyard to mark this special moment in Maimo history.
 
The extravaganza culminated with the exciting announcem ent that in honor of our 80th, Maimo will be hosting a concert on March 8th featuring Israeli superstar Gad Elbaz.  

It was a day both to recognize our roots, and to feel great pride in where we are today.  See it through your child's eyes with this 80th Kick-Off video.
 
     

 
 
Student Review of Julius Caesar at the Huntington
by Shari Glass '18
 
Although the election is in the past, power still remains a topic at the forefront of everyone's mind. Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, has made a massive resurgence in the past year due to the fear many Americans are feeling about our current presidential leadership. At the Huntington Theater on November 29th, an all-female cast provoked conversation about feminism and women's abilities as leaders. Through this performance, director Bryn Boice and producer Deb Sullivan created an equalizing and empowering perspective on the role of women within this brutal society and within our own.
 
This history play tells the story of Caesar, a man rapidly acquiring an empire, and the envy which some of his contemporaries felt towards him. Eventually, this led to the assassination of Caesar.  
 
The play effectively demonstrates the consequences of excessive power. The original play portrayed women as perspicacious, but although they are in touch with their intuition, they do not hold any leadership or influential roles. Because of the all-female cast, women played characters who held high authority, and who were undeniably the pillars on which the play stood. The casting choices provided women with lead roles, while in a traditional production, women would never have been cast in these roles.  
 
Clearly, it is essential to express to modern women that they are capable of any and all strong roles historically considered a "man's." The intention of this production was to inspire conversation about modern feminism while reinforcing equality for women. Undoubtedly, the play accomplished its goals. The performance instantly sparked conversation, especially within our class. This play, whether its viewers agree or disagree with its goal, causes them to accept that women can achieve all that men can.   
 
 
Here's the Beef!
The Meat and Meet club held their second "meating" this week, which featured a festive feast in anticipation of the winter break.
 
 
What's Happening in the Writers' Workshop?
English teacher Ms. Sharon Pywell recently led a  student workshop on how to say something without saying it.  The workshop was directed more at fiction writing than analytical prose, but many of the points presented could apply to both.  In any prose, careful selection of verbs and modifiers changes the tone and leads readers to particular conclusions.  Detail (including details we leave out) can convey a great deal.  Writers can use this information strategically to get more effect from fewer words.  And of course the largest lesson is, perhaps:  make every word earn its space on the page.
 

Town Hall Meeting in Brookline on January 3
The Maimonides School Board of Directors
invites parents to a
Town Hall Meeting
   
Steven Schwartz, Board Chair, and Naty Katz, Head of School, look forward to meeting with you after winter break, listening to your suggestions and concerns, and benefiting from this opportunity for open dialogue.

These meetings are intended to focus on the non-academic issues within the purview of the Board such as day school affordability, financial matters, and other topics of interest to the community.     
 
The next Town Hall Meeting will take place Wednesday, January 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Brookline - click here to respond.

Please check your e-mail for full details of the meeting locations, or write to communication@maimonides.org for more information.
 
There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion during the meetings. To help us prepare, we encourage you to submit questions in advance to chairman@maimonides.org  
 
We look forward to an evening of engaging conversation with you.
 
Mazel Tov!
Send us your simchas!  Please share your simcha announcements with us by sending details to info@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.

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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.
 
  
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