Upper School Weekly Update

November 3rd, 2017  -  Vayera
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Memorial for Rabbi Cohn
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Interview Practice
Run Around the Res
Visit from Rabbanit
Upcoming Events
Alumni Newsletter
Lady M-Cat
Basketball Tournament
Mazel Tov!
Division Newsletters
Social Media
Next Week
In Two Weeks
Mon., Nov. 13
Seminary Visit: 1st period, Midreshet HaRova (all senior girls attend)
Yeshiva Visit: 1st period, Mechinat Keshet (all senior boys attend)
T ues., Nov. 14
Seminary Visit: 5th period, MMY (all senior girls attend)
Yeshiva Visit: 5th period, Mevasseret (all senior boys attend); lunch, Mechina in Atzmona (interested senior boys attend) 

Wed., Nov. 15
Yeshiva/Seminary Visit: 1st period, Yeshivat/Midreshet Torah V'Avodah (all seniors attend) 
Yeshiva Visit: 2nd period, KBY (all senior boys attend) 
Seminary Visit: 2nd period, Midreshet Moriah (all senior girls attend
Thu., Nov. 16 
Senior College Visit Weekend, no senior classes
Fri., Nov. 17

Having a

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D'var Torah

by Rabbi Dov Huff

"And as the multitudes gathered around (Avraham) asking him about his teachings, he would tell each one according to their understanding until he returned them to the path of truth" (Rambam, Mishna Torah, Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 1:3)
The main question we ask ourselves as parents and teachers is: How do we connect our children to yahadut? The Rambam in the Mishna Torah, Hilchot Avodat Kochavim describes the evolution of idolatry and how, at its peak, Avram was able to find G-d. The Rambam details how Avram looked around at the physical world, captivated by the seed of an idea which would blossom into ethical monotheism:
"Though he was a child, he began to think [incessantly] throughout the day and night, wondering: How is it possible for the sphere to continue to revolve without having anyone controlling it? Who is causing it to revolve? Surely, it does not cause itself to revolve."
This rational approach was sharpened by contrast to the irrational, commonplace practices of idol worship. This fundamental concept would flower into a way of life taught to his thousands of followers and passed down to his descendants. The origin story of Avraham Avinu is a very compelling one. And yet, on this topic, the Torah is silent. 
At the end of Parshat Noach we are told that Avram is taken to Charan by his father. Immediately following the brief introduction, we are told that Hashem appears to Avram and says "come with me." What happened in those critical decades in between? Would it not be crucial to tell us in the Torah how Avraham found his connection to G-d? Would that not be the most important thing for us to know, as parents trying to connect our kids to our people and tradition?
Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter explains that the Torah intentionally left out the story of Avraham's spiritual journey because if we were told how Avraham connected to Hashem, we may think that is the only way to connect to Hashem. But in reality, each child is unique and has their own journey. Some connect through rigorous Talmud Torah and some through inspirational Shabbatonim. Some connect through chessed and some through chassidut. Some connect through Eretz Yisrael and some by wanting to emulate the role models they have in their families and teachers.
Rabbi Schacter is telling us that the Torah's message is that there are multiple ways for our students to become Avraham Avinus and Sarah Imeinus. And it is our job to help them get there.

Questions for the Shabbos table:
1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning?
2. What connects you to Hashem?
3. What is the most important part of your Jewish identity? 
Thoughts of the Rav 

by Rabbi David Saltzman
In this week's parsha, Avraham is informed by G-d Himself of His plan to destroy Sedom and Amora. Upon hearing this devastating news, Avraham approaches G-d in prayer and supplication on behalf of the two doomed cities. What motivated Avraham to beseech G-d for mercy in an attempt to save these two cities, rooted in evil, from imminent destruction?
The Rav writes that tefilla creates two communities. First, it forms a community between man and G-d, and second, it creates a community between people. This is reflected in the emphasis on praying with the tzibbur, the congregation, and is the reason that many of the blessings in the Amida are formulated in the plural.
In The Lonely Man of Faith, the Rav writes:
"When disaster strikes, one must not be immersed completely in his own passional destiny, thinking exclusively of himself, being concerned only with himself, and petitioning G-d merely for himself. The foundation of efficacious and noble prayer is human solidarity and sympathy or the covenantal awareness of existential togetherness, of sharing and experiencing the travail and suffering of [others]."
Upon hearing of the coming destruction, Avraham, being a member of the larger community, was innately moved to pray when he was told about the future suffering of the people. We should react in the same way when we hear of the anguish and agony of others.  

Memorial for Rabbi Cohn z"l
Hundreds of students, parents, and community members came together last night for an evening of tribute and appreciation in memory of Rabbi Reuven Zvi Cohn z"l.  Featured speakers included Head of School Naty Katz, Director of Student Life Benji Hain, Rabbi Noah Cheses '03 from the Young Israel of Sharon, and several family members and students of Rabbi Cohn, followed by a shared learning session led by son Rabbi Dr. Naftali Cohn.  A special highlight was a video comprising interviews with many of Rabbi Cohn's current students from Maimonides, sharing their thoughts and recollections, which can be viewed here.

Parent-Teacher Conferences
Remember to sign up for Parent- Teacher Conferences!  The registration website will close this coming Monday, November 6 at 10:00 p.m.

Fall Parent- Teacher Conferences will be taking place: 
  • Thursday, November 9: Grades K-12 from 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., ECC from 2:00 - 7:00 p.m. (no classes)
  • Friday, November 10: Middle/Upper Schools only, from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (no MS/US classes)
  • 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

The registration website can be found here.  If you did not receive an e-mail with your student(s) ID and registration information, please contact the Upper School office.

Interview Practice for Seniors
Mrs. Amy Rosen, Director of Student Development, hosted an interview preparation session for seniors this week.

During the session students learned  from Ms. Lisa Rosenbaum, mother of three Maimonides alumni and longtime interviewer for MIT, about what she, and other interviewers, look for in an interview. Presenters also provided additional interview tips and distributed sample practice questions to students, who then paired up and conducted practice interview sessions with each other.
Run Around the Res
The Middle and Upper School physical education classes' fall "Run Around the Res" this week was a showcase for a new generation of athletes.
The winner of the girls' race around the reservoir was seventh-grader Natalie Neusner in six minutes, 27 seconds. A sophomore, Itay Nevo, won the boys' race in five minutes, 27 seconds. The distance is a little less than a mile.
Tova Gelb, grade 9, finished second among the girls, four seconds behind the winner. The next three finishers, all in eighth grade, were Yakira Galler, Mira Ganz and Zahava Fisher-Greisdoff. Sam Herzlinger, Grade 9, came in second among the boys, followed by sophomore Daniel Solouki, eighth grader Yoni Saltzman, and Yossi Picard in Grade 11. 
Visit from Rabbanit Taragin
Rabbanit Shani Taragin, a well-known teacher from Israel, visited several of our Upper School limudei kodesh classes this week and shared her wisdom with our students. 
Rabbanit Taragin spoke to 12th graders about Akeidat Yitzchak. She then met with the 11th grade and shared a story from the Talmud about Choni HaMa'agel (Choni the Circle Drawer) and his connection to tefillah, focusing on the theme of prayer and the way people connect to G-d.
Rabbanit Shani Taragin is currently pursuing her Ph.D in Tanach while teaching at Midreshet Lindenbaum.  Rabbanit Taragin also teaches at Matan, Migdal Oz, Sha'alvim, Lander's College, and the Women's Beit Midrash in Efrat and Ramat Shilo. She is a graduate of Nishmat's Keren Ariel Program for certification as a halachic advisor in issues of family purity law. Rabbanit Taragin lectures and leads Tanach tours throughout Israel and serves on the local religious council dealing with issues of Jewish law and education.  
Two Events on Sunday 
Yom Chesed is Here!
Yom Chesed is this Sunday starting at 9:00 a.m. All registered participants should have received their project assignments via email. We are looking forward to seeing everyone on Sunday! 
Annual Kristallnacht Commemoration
Maimonides School's annual commemoration of the Kristallnacht pogrom is scheduled for Sunday, November 5 at 7:30 p.m. (ma'ariv at 7:15).
The speaker will be Dr. Jonathan Skolnik, assistant professor of German and adjunct assistant professor of history and Judaic and Near Eastern studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Maimonides began this lecture more than 20 years ago, when Rabbi Isaiah Wohlgemuth, זצ"ל , described his personal experiences on Kristallnacht - the night of Nov. 9, 1938. Rabbi Wohlgemuth, who joined the Maimonides faculty in 1945, was then a young rabbi in the town of Kitzingen, where a mob attacked his shul. Rabbi Wohlgemuth subsequently was detained at Dachau for several months.
Reservations are not required but would be appreciated (mike@maimonides.org, 617-232-4452 x 405).

Alumni Newsletter Online
The monthly alumni newsletter for October is now online, and can be found here . This issue's articles include:
  • Recent Alumnus Joins Team Working to Revolutionize Agriculture
  • Couple Expanding Their In-Home Therapy Service to New England
  • Graduate's Virtual Jewish Coffee House Spreading the Spoken Word
  • A Dear Friend Remembers Rabbi Reuven Cohn '65, ז"ל
If you would like to receive the alumni newsletter each month, contact Mike Rosenberg at (617) 232-4452 x 405 or mrosenberg@maimonides.org .    
Lady M-Cats Star Returning to Boston
One of Maimonides School's most celebrated student-athletes will compete with her collegiate teammates in Boston on
Motza'ei Shabbat, November 18.
Michal Alge '14 and the Yeshiva University Lady Macs will help open the Emmanuel College Tip-Off Classic with a match against the host school. The game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Jean Yawkey Center on the Emmanuel campus, 400 The Fenway. (Shabbat ends at 5:05 p.m.)  There will be a special presentation by Maimonides to Michal at halftime.
Tickets are $5 each and may be reserved by writing mike@maimonides.org or calling (617) 232-4452, ext. 405. A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit Maimonides athletics. There will also be a game on Sunday afternoon, November 19.
Last season Michal led the Lady Macs in scoring (almost 25 points per game), rebounding (13), and minutes played, and was tied for steals. She is still part of the Maimonides School landscape as director of the M-Cat Sports Camp each June and July.
Invitational Basketball Tournament
Save the dates! The annual Maimonides Invitational Basketball Tournament in memory of Leland Gelman is scheduled for Thursday - Sunday, December 7-10. Visiting teams will be from Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School (boys and girls), Joel Braverman High School of Yeshivah of Flatbush (boys and girls), Atlanta Jewish Academy (boys) and Melvin Berman Hebrew Academy (girls). Contact Ahron Solomont (asolomont@aol.com) for information on serving as a tournament volunteer.
Mazel Tov!
Send us your simchas!  Please share your simcha announcements with us by sending details to info@maimonides.org.
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