Upper School Weekly Update

October 27th, 2017  -  Lech Lecha
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Upcoming Events
Lady M-Cat
Basketball Tournament
Mazel Tov!
Social Media
Division Newsletters
Next Week
In Two Weeks
Sun., Nov. 5
End Daylight Saving Time  
Yom Chesed
SAT Tests
Mon., Nov. 6
Seminary Visit: 1st period, Migdal Oz; 4th period, Midreshet Amit (all senior girls attend)
Tues., Nov. 7
Seminary Visit: 1st period, Machon Maayan (all senior girls attend) 
Wed., Nov. 8
End of 1st Quarter
Seminary Visit: 8th period, Midreshet Lindenbaum (all senior girls attend) 
Thurs., Nov. 9
No Classes
Parent-Teacher Conferences 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Fri., Nov. 10
No Classes
Parent-Teacher Conferences 8:00 am - 1:00 pm

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D'var Torah

by Rabbi Dov Huff

This week's parsha starts with a command from Hashem to Avram - a seminal moment which changes the course of Jewish history - lech lecha.
Go from your land, from your birthplace, from the house of your father, to the land that I will show you. 
When we see this pasuk at the beginning of the parsha it strikes us as a major course change. The command is shrouded in mystery. Go to some unknown land on an unspecified mission with a vague promise that Hashem will make you a great nation and a source of blessing. 
But when we look at last week's parsha, and we meet Avram for the first time, we learn that his father Terach had picked up the family, uprooted them from their homeland, and set off on a journey. And what was the destination? Eretz Canaan! They were already on their way to Israel! They stopped for many years in Charan and there Terach died. It seems strange, though, that Hashem then comes to Avram with a surprise revelation. Pushing him to embark on a journey -  one which he was already on. 
The message is that it is not the same thing to go to Eretz Canaan as it is to go to Eretz Yisrael. What is the difference? The difference is the mission. Hashem sent Avram el Haaretz - to the land. Haaretz is the way that Eretz Yisrael is referred to in the Torah. It carries with it a deeper meaning. A higher purpose. A connection to Hashem and a responsibility towards mankind. It is not the same thing to go to Eretz Canaan as it is to go to Haaretz
Being a part of this mission, seeing the greater purpose, and striving for meaning in all our life journeys is our responsibility as the children of Avraham and Sarah. Lot, when confronted with this responsibility, was not up for the challenge. The Radak explains that when they realized they had to part ways, Avram and Lot were facing east, looking at the Yarden. Avram tells Lot that if he decides to go left, to Northern Israel, Avram will go right, to Southern Israel, and vice-versa - but at all costs, stay in Haaretz - cleave to the mission!
Instead "Lot raised his eyes and saw the entire plain of the Jordan and it was fully watered." Lot does not bother to look to the right or the left. He just looks at what is directly in front of him. And he sees the grass is greener on the other side of the Yarden. He sees a normal life. He sees an easy way out. And he takes it. His parting was not just from Avram and not just from Eretz Yisrael. He was abandoning the mission. He was trading being a part of the zera Avraham for the fertile pastures of Jordan.
Our challenge is connecting our kids to both these aspects, so that on their life journeys they never take the easier "Lot route," abandoning their calling. And so that their destination is always Haaretz and not Canaan - elevating every moment, infusing everything with purpose and meaning. 
Questions for the Shabbos table:
1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning?
2. How can we find more meaning in our tefillah? In our limudei kodesh classes? Our general studies classes?
3. What are moments in our lives where we are tempted to make a "Lot decision" because that is what everyone else does?
Thoughts of the Rav 

Excerpted from Abraham's Journey by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
We do not know who Melchizedek was. Rashi (14:18) quotes a midrash that he was Shem the son of Noah (Nedarim 32b). We see that when Abraham came with his new philosophy of monotheism, there were other individuals who also knew about it. Melchizedek was the king of justice. "He was the priest of the Most High God" (Gen. 14:18), a servant of the Almighty. His philosophy was identical with that of Abraham. He was a contemporary of Abraham and apparently accepted the same certitudes, the same articles of  faith, the same moral norms Abraham had formulated. Why didn't he join Abraham? Together they would have been much stronger. Not long before, the Torah had called him Avraham ha-Ivri, lonesome Abraham, lonely Abraham: The whole world on one side and he on the opposite side. Where was Melchizedek? Apparently, he was so overwhelmed by Abraham's victory that he had to give expression to his amazement. But after this episode, Melchizedek disappears. We heard nothing of him before and we will not of him after. That is the difference between Abraham and  Melchizedek. Whatever Abraham knew, whatever Abraham treasured and considered precious and worthwhile, he wanted  to share with others.
Abraham later says to the king of Sodom, "I have lifted up my hand to the L-rd, the Most High G-d, the Possessor of heaven and earth" (Gen. 14:22). Interestingly, the phrase E-l Elyon Koneh shamayim va-aretz was coined not by Abraha m but by Melchizedek! And this phrase was incorporated into our Amidah prayer. Melchizedek had beautiful ideas, but he was never able to implement them. Abraham's greatness consisted not only in inventing ideas, in coining beautiful phrases, but in taking ideas and converting them into reality, into facts.

Parent-Teacher Conferences
Get ready to sign up for Parent- Teacher Conferences!  The registration website will open on Monday, October 30 at 9:00 p.m. and close on 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.  Please note that the link will not work until the website opens for conference registration.

Instructions for accessing the website were sent out yesterday.  If you did not receive an e-mail with your student(s) ID and registration information, please contact the division office.

Three Upcoming Events 

Thursday evening, November 2 - An Evening in Memory of Rabbi Reuven Cohn z"l
Sunday morning, November 5 - Yom Chesed
Sunday evening, November 5 - Annual Kristallnacht Commemoration
An Evening in Memory of Rabbi Reuven Cohn z"l
Please join us for an evening of learning, tribute, and appreciation in memory of our beloved teacher Rabbi Reuven Zvi Cohn z"l this coming Thursday, November 2 at 6:45 p.m. at Saval Campus, 34 Philbrick Road.
Please note: There will be a pizza and learning sesson at 5:15 p.m. for Upper School students wishing to stay at school to attend the program. Please have your student email Ellen Pulda in the Upper School office (  epulda@maimonides.org) if he/she will be attending.
Sign up to learn mishnah in Rabbi Cohn's memory at http://hadranalach.com/419
Yom Chesed Registration Extended!
Yom Chesed is a week from Sunday, on November 5!  Registration will close soon, but we currently have limited availability for some projects.  Our  Yom Chesed web page has a complete list of projects as well as an online registration form.    
This schoolwide community service initiative is in its 5th year and is fun for everyone, including students, parents, faculty, grandparents, alumni, and parents of alumni.
In addition to the many hands-on projects that take place in our school buildings and throughout the community, our Saval Auditorium will host two organizations that focus on medical needs. Gift of Life, a  bone marrow and blood stem cell registry, will be on hand to register new donors, and the Hope Time Cure Epilepsy Foundation will be here to share information about its mission to promote epilepsy awareness and provide support to individuals with epilepsy and their families.
Please don't wait to sign up - together we CAN make a difference!

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).

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.
Let's Get Social!
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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