Upper School Weekly Update

May 25, 2018  -  Naso

In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Updated Timeline for Course Confirmation
Rose Ruderman Award
Genes in Space
Yachad Awards
Summer Clean Up
Days of Learning
Cradles to Crayons
Tribute to Nathan Katz
Final Exams
Division Newsletters
Social Media
Next Week 
Sunday, May 27
Monday, May 28
Tuesday, May 29
9th Grade Physics Field Trip
Wednesday, May 30
Thursday, May 31
Friday, June 1 
Last day of classes
for grades 9-11

Having a

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D'var Torah
by Rabbi Dov Huff
Parshat Naso devotes an inordinate amount of precious klaf real estate to detailing the set of korbanot brought by the twelve nesiim on the days of the chanukat hamizbeach. Each of the nesiim brought an identical korban, but instead of detailing it once, it does so twelve times. This seems to fly in the face of our general principle (in the words of the Ramban) " אין בה אות יותר וחסר " - that there is not even an extra letter in the Torah! So how do we explain the seeming superfluous nature of the seventy-plus psukim devoted to this set of korbanot
This morning I suggested to the students that the message of Parshat Naso is a message about consistency. It is the Torah's way of telling us how to build a relationship with Hakadosh Baruch Hu. And it is the same as the way we build any relationship. It is to the people who are always there for us that we feel closest. Less so to those who only do occasional dramatic demonstrations of care. The message of these korbanot is reflected in the korban tamid - the consistent offering - the daily sacrifice. And the message trickles down from there to the institution of tefillah - our daily maintenance and cultivation of our relationship with Hashem
It is not enough to daven to Hashem when we find ourselves in crisis or in need. Our relationship with Hashem requires consistent nurturing and commitment. Prayer to G-d when we need something relies on our connection to G-d. And that connection is only strong if it is cultivated and worked on every day. 
We spoke about how often we think of the rigidness of tefillah "getting in the way" of true connection with Hashem. That we would feel more connected if we were allowed to do our avodah our own way. There is certainly room for individual creative and meaningful expressions of our relationship with G-d. But relationships at their core are built on what we can do for the other. The question is less about what works for me, what do I want, how do I feel connected, as much as it is about realizing what is my commitment to and responsibility towards the other - what do they want and need from me. 
Perhaps another message of the korbanot nessiim is that there is one thing (besides the day) that changes in each of the twelve sets. One detail that makes it important enough for the Torah to repeat it. And that is the individual offering it. Externally the words I say in my tefillah look just like the ones being said by the person next to me, but in truth they are expressions of two entirely unique and special relationships. No one has the interaction with Hakadosh Baruch Hu that I personally have. In this sense each of the twelve six-pasuk units are entirely different. Perhaps the Torah is telling us that there is no repetition here at all. The korban offered by one person is nothing like the same korban being offered by someone else.  
As the school year winds down and we eagerly anticipate the arrival of summer, consistency is what we need to focus on. The summer is "down time" from school, but there is no "down time" in our relationship-building with G-d. This is the time to be extra mindful of our daily tefillah and limud Torah. May we have a summer in which our consistency allows us to nurture and deepen our own personal and unique relationship with Hashem.
Questions for the Shabbos table:
  1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning? 
  2. How else could we explain the repetition?
  3. What are the things that you need in your relationships, and what are the things that others need from you?
Thoughts of the Rav
by Rabbi David Saltzman 
The Rav wonders: Why is Birkat Kohanim placed in the section of hoda'ah (thanksgiving) when repeating Shemona Esrei? Why is it not placed in the bakasha (request) section, since we are asking Hashem for His blessing? 
The Rav answers that Birkat Kohanim is a blessing that emanates from Hashem (through the kohanim). There is no greater chesed we can receive than a blessing from Hashem Himself. When you receive a beracha of such magnitude, you immediately realize the need to give thanksgiving, and therefore this beracha is placed in the hoda'ah section.  
Updated Timeline and Process for Course Confirmation 


An update on course confirmation information

We encountered some necessary delays in processing the course information mailings to you.  But not to worry, we have revised the timeline in a way that preserves the original timeframe for the process.  See below for the revised timeline. 

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we roll out this new process in the best possible way.  A reminder that the Curriculum Guide, which contains information on course offerings and eligibility requirements, can be accessed through the parent and student portals of the Maimo website using your MyBackpack login information  (read below for more information on the Curriculum Guide).

Shabbat shalom,
Mr. Mattoon and Rabbi Huff  

Next Wednesday, May 30: 2018-19 hard copy course confirmations are mailed to students and parents in rising grades 7, 8, 10, 11, and 12 (rising 9th graders will be sent their information in hard copy by mail on  July 2). These course confirmation documents will contain each student's course line-up for next year, including the  courses they have been placed into by each department.  

By Wednesday, June 6Any student in grades 10-12, or any parent in grades 7-8, who wishes to ask a question about a placement decision - most especially in disciplines with more than two sections (math, science, Hebrew, and/or Talmud), and to a lesser extent the other disciplines with only two sections (English, history, Navi and Chumash) - must submit a standardized "Query Form" to department chairs by this date.  Students and parents may request these Query Forms from the appropriate department chair(s).

Wednesday, June 13: End of placement question period, including the end of conversations between departments, students, and parents around placement decisions.  

Monday, June 18: Departments share final responses to formally submitted Query Forms.

Curriculum Guide:
The faculty, under Science Department Chair Chris Williams' able leadership, has worked hard this year to author a Maimonides Curriculum Guide for grades 6-12. This guide builds on the course descriptions you are accustomed to seeing on our website. The Curriculum Guide gives a fuller picture of the depth and breadth of our outstanding curricular opportunities for students. The guide offers additional information about each course, particularly prerequisites and standards that define eligibility for each course level. This information is important for understanding one part of how departments make placement decisions for each student. These placements are at levels best suited to maximize each student's potential at a given time in their learning curve (e.g., college prep, accelerated, honors, or AP levels).  

Our motivation for authoring this guide is to share a more detailed and comprehensive narrative of the 6th-12th grade Maimonides academic program so that students and parents have more clarity around it, and also around expectations for course standards and placement. We also want to give parents a stronger and more comprehensive sense of the academic trajectory their child will follow from 6th grade through graduation in 12th grade.  

Having recently concluded the Curriculum Guide's drafting process, which began in October, we have now posted the Curriculum Guide for your review. It is listed as the first item under "Academic Resources" on the parent portal of the school website: http://www.maimonides.org/parents. You will need to log in with your MyBackpack account to gain access.

Rose Ruderman Award
Mazal tov to senior Racheli Cohen, this year's recipient of the Rose Ruderman Scholar Award. This award, presented to students in each of the local Orthodox day schools, is given to
students based on their outstanding scholarship as well as 
their reliability, commitment to community building, and kindness.
The award,  now in its ninth year, is presented annually by the Ruderman Family Foundation and  Combined Jewish Philanthropies  (CJP) in remembrance of Rose Ruderman z"l. The award grew out of a 10-year effort to boost Orthodox Jewish school education by the Ruderman family, who first established a need-based scholarship endowment in Rose's name in 1999.

Amy Rosen, Director of Student Development, said that "Racheli Cohen epitomized her devotion to the Jewish elderly and needy through her leadership of the Maimonides soup kitchen. A long-standing enterprise of over 20 years, the soup kitchen had reached a critical juncture where it looked as if it might have to close. But through Racheli's laser-focused determination and hard work, she found the support and resources to keep the soup kitchen open, enabling it to continue to feed the elderly citizens who depend on the kosher meals it provides."
Genes in Space
Mazal tov to sophomore J.J. Berlove on receiving Honorable Mention in the 2018 Genes in Space contest for students in grades 7 through 12. J.J. presented a proposal for genetic research in space which garnered the prize of a miniPCR DNA Discovery System™ which was given to the school. This complete biotechnology toolkit includes the same DNA technology that is currently in use aboard the International Space Station. For more information about Genes in Space, please click here .
Yachad Award Honorees
Yachad Club co-presidents Abby Bessler and Nir Solooki, both members of the Class of 2018, were honored by New England Yachad with Peer Leadership Awards at their end-of-year banquet.
Shira Almekies, Noa Atar, Gavi Krimsky, and Senai Weglein - all graduating seniors - were recognized with Spirit of Yachad awards.

Mazal tov to all our Yachad award recipients!
Summer Clean Up!
Our facilities department would like to remind students that lockers need to be emptied by Wednesday, June 20. Please remove all items from lockers and dispose of trash in the many trash bins that are located in our classrooms and hallways. Please return any library books to the library. The school will not be responsible for any items left in lockers after June 20.

Students are also reminded to check the lost and found for any missing items. Lost and found bins are located in the 9th grade hallway, across from U12. There is also a lost and found box in the US office where items such as jewelry, phones, and other small items are gathered. Items remaining in the lost and found bins will be donated to charity at the end of June.

Days of Learning Sponsorship
We are grateful to Simone and David Sherman for sponsoring days of learning this week. If you'd like to learn more about supporting our school with a day of learning sponsorship, please visit our website .

Donations to Cradles to Crayons
The Maimonides eighth grade is collecting items for Cradles To Crayons in honor of their Middle School Aliyah (graduation) ceremony!
They would appreciate if you could help them by donating new or gently-used items for babies and children. There will be collection boxes near the entrance of the Saval shul. The organization could use kids' clothes, games, books, and bedding.
Cradles to Crayons is especially looking for:
  • Boys Pants 4-5/7-8
  • Boys Shirts 2T-12
  • Girls Shirts 2T-12
  • Twin Blankets
  • Girls' and Boys' Sweaters
  • Girls' and Boys' Boots
Thank you!

Tribute to Nathan Katz

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
9:30-11:30am - US Final Exam Hand-Backs 

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:
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