Upper School Weekly Update

May 19th, 2017  -  Behar-Bechukotai
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
MAImodesty Fashion Show
Final Exam Schedule
Baseball Tournament
Help Write a Torah
Division Newsletters
Next Week

Sunday, May 21
Softball vs. Pope John (4:30), Boys' and Girls' Tennis vs. Hanover (TBD)

Monday, May 22
JV Baseball @ Schechter (3:30)

Tuesday, May 23
Boys' Tennis vs. Hopedale (TBD)

Wednesday, May 24
Senior Rav Seminar
Var Baseball @ St. Joseph's (4:30)

Thursday, May 25
Senior Rav Seminar
Softball @ Mt. Alvernia (4:30), JV Baseball vs. SSCA (TBD),
Boys' Tennis vs. Martha's Vineyard (TBD)

Friday, May 26 
Rosh Chodesh Sivan

In Two Weeks
Monday, May 29
Memorial Day
School closed

Tuesday, May 30 
Erev Shavuot
2:30 Dismissal

Last day of US classes

Wednesday, May 31 Shavuot
School closed

Thursday, June 1

School closed

Friday, June 2
Final Exams:
Talmud 9:00-10:30 
Navi 12:00-1:30 

Having a

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D'var Torah

by Rabbi Dov Huff
בימים ההם אין מלך בישראל איש הישר בעיניו יעשה
This idea, echoed in the distressing conclusion to Sefer Shoftim, is repeated in various forms several times as the sefer, and the period of the judges, come to a close. And in the last few perakim as it approaches the conclusion, we see the moral fabric of the Jewish people, which has been slowly unraveling over the course of the entire sefer, take a steep downward turn, accelerating the descent into chaos. The Navi is telling us the result of not having a מלך - the right kind of leader. We see in very violent, disturbing, and graphic terms the dire consequences of the leadership void. 
The story of the פלגש בגבעה and its Sodom-like parallels could not be more clear. The civil war and moral depravity were all unleashed by an individual doing an act of hachnasat orchim. As with Lot, the house is surrounded at night and the townspeople come with perverse and malicious intent. This Sodom-esque story plummets the nation into civil war. Sefer Shoftim ends in disaster. Having devolved precisely into the type of nation which the Torah warned us about in Parshat Kedoshim, there is little hope for the future of Am Yisrael. How appropriate that in the last chapters of the sefer all the characters are nameless - because in this society, no individual matters, no one has an identity, no one has a name. 
But hope does come from the unlikeliest of places. As we approach Shavuot we remember Ruth, a heroine who would right the course of Jewish history and save our nation from what it had become. Dr. Yael Ziegler maintains that the book of Ruth is the tikun - the correction, the antidote to Sefer Shoftim. Ruth is a book of kindness and morality. It is not an epic tale but an everyday one in which small acts of chessed pull back the nation from the brink of disaster. 
In sharp contrast to the end of Sefer Shoftim, Ruth is a book of names. It is a book of people. It is a story of individuals and their life struggles. It is a story about hope and the power of chessed. The word for "name" appears 14 times in the short sefer. In Ruth, everyone has a name - with one exception. The one nameless character in the sefer is "ploni almoni" - the person who refused to marry Ruth and do yibum - the mitzvah of perpetuating the name of the deceased. How appropriate that he remains nameless. He forfeits his individuality because he refuses to rebuild the name of the family of Elimelech and Naomi. And he fades anonymously into the background of history. 
Contrast that with Ruth. Not only is she not Jewish, but she comes from Moav - the nation which grew from the remnant of Sodom. The values of Sodom are in her DNA, and yet she rejects those values for those of Torah with her proclamation of ameich ami. This perspective sheds new light on the opening words of the sefer - "And it was in the days of the judging of the judges." Amazingly, this beautiful story of chessed took place in the worst of times. Ruth is the light in the darkness, the Moabite princess who modeled chessed. She is the remedy to a society without names, who paved the way for her great-grandson David Hamelech. She showed us what kind of leader can transform a world in which "each man does what is right in his own eyes" to one in which each person does what is right for their fellow man.
Questions for the Shabbos table:
  1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning?
  2. With this idea in mind, how might we explain the awkward introduction to Elimelech and his family in the first two pesukim?
  3. Where else in the megillah do we see the "name" theme come up?
Thoughts of the Rav 

by Rabbi David Saltzman
וְהִתְהַלַּכְתִּי בְּתוֹכְכֶם וְהָיִיתִי לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ לִי לְעָם :
I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people.
The Rav learns from this verse how we should approach G-d during prayer.
Man fears G-d but also loves Him. Man withdraws from G-d but also longs for Him. In this state of mind, he sees G-d not only as a lofty exalted King, apart from reality, but also as a merciful Father, the source of his being, a shelter and a safe shore. Man yearns for G-d, and desires to cling to Him and cleave to Him forever.
From the midst of this experience, man views G-d like a friend walking among his companions. G-d approaches man in lovingkindness and sympathy, which incorporates an element of friendship. This pasuk expresses the idea that G-d descends into the world of man as his familiar companion and as one who lives in the same abode. This perspective permits man to pour out his feelings to G-d and have a dialogue with Him through prayer.
MAImodesty Fashion Show 
MAImodesty, the Maimonides School fashion club, presented a Mother's Day treat on Sunday with a fashion show, along with a concert by Kol Isha, the Upper School girls' choir. The fashionista models included students from all divisions, faculty, and parents.


Final Exam Schedule
Friday, June 2:
9:30-11:00am - Talmud 
12:00-1:30pm - Navi
Monday, June 5: 
9:30-11:00am - History 
12:00-1:30pm - Chumash

Wednesday, June 7:
9:30-11:00am - English 
12:00-1:30pm - Science

Friday, June 9:
9:30-11:00am - Math 
12:00-1:30pm - Jewish History
Monday, June 12:
World Languages (all projects due)
Baseball Tournament
The Ezra Schwartz Memorial Baseball Tournament began this week, with games on Thursday and Friday. The Maimonides M-Cats lost their game against Atlanta Jewish Academy, and were victorious in their game vs. Ramaz. The tournament will conclude on Sunday.


Help Write a Torah
As you may have heard, there is a beautiful and inspiring initiative underway, a joint initiative of The Afikim Foundation and Israel's Ministry for Diaspora Affairs, to write a Global Unity Sefer Torah celebrating the 50th Anniversary of a Reunited Jerusalem.   Jews everywhere can inscribe letters in the Torah, NOT with money, but with simple acts of chesed, everyday kindnesses that positively impact the lives of others. To see more information about this global initiative, please watch this 1-minute video !
Since groups may reserve blocks of letters, we've taken the opportunity to reserve 1000 letters  for our Maimonides family.  Let's complete the Maimonides block in the Global Unity Torah and inspire goodness in the world in honor of Jerusalem!  The custom link for our school's block can be accessed by  clicking here.  You may reserve letters for yourself and/or your entire family as a group.  (All blue letters are available.) It only takes a minute. 
A digital file containing the names of everyone who participated and their acts of chesed will remain permanently with the Torah, which will be dedicated in Jerusalem on May 24, Yom Yerushalayim.  (There will also be a drawing for 3 round-trip tickets to attend the dedication!) 
Please challenge yourself to commit and record at least 3 acts of kindness by May 24 - actions that are manageable and within your reach. There is no chesed too small!  
Visit  jerusalem50.org  for more information, or go directly to our block  here .

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 the other divisions'
newsletters, please click here 
for the Elementary and Middle Schools, or click here for the Early Childhood Center.

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