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Elul 24, 5773 / August 30, 2013

Community Newsletter of the Maimonides Hebrew Day School of the Capital District Candle-Lighting: 404 Partridge Street Albany NY 12208 (518) 453-9363/3434 7:16

produced by Rabbi Mendel & students in the TNT (Torah ‘n Technology) Program Maimonides is accredited by the NYS Board of Regents & is a beneficiary of UJF-NENY

Shabbos Ends:


PICTURES FROM B.F.F.’s VISIT TO M.H.D.S. TOP LEFT: Tom Peled speaks with our students about his personal story and the long bicycle rides he’s taken, thousands of miles on one bike named “Amanda” seen in back. TOP RIGHT: Tom rides off toward Springfield and Boston MA to the cheers, singing and balloons of our kids. His team follows soon after. LEFT: Riding in heat or rain or up steep hills isn’t easy, and he says he can use all the strength he can get, and spiritual strength helps a lot, too! RIGHT: Rabbi Rubin asked the students to think of a word we say in the daily prayers that is very similar to the Hebrew word for bicycle. Esther Wildman knew the answer (it is in the blessings before Shema) so she and Rabbi Rubin revealed the answer with huge Hebrew letters on a big blue sign.

bunch of good questions, here are two: Eli K: How much did your bike cost? Tom P: Under $1,000 and that’s cheap for a long-distance bike. I biked it through Europe Bike for the Fight is an Israeli cycling team two years ago, and across the USA (LA to NY) spreading awareness & raising funds for cancer last year. More than the bike’s performance, or research in Israel. This bike trip began in your own fitness; it’s the passion you have, the Toronto, and is headed to Boston, NYC and willpower in your mind, that really powers you. ends in Washington DC. It so happens that they stopped in Albany on our first day of school! They slept the night at Shabbos House MAIMONIDES and spoke to students there at “Torah-Tuesday” 404 Partridge Street and came to Maimonides the next morning. Albany NY 12208 Tom Peled is the passionate founder of Bike for the Fight, which was his personal response to his father’s struggle with a rare form of cancer. He explained to our students that this bike ride is his way of turning a negative into a positive. At Shabbos House he shared 3 F’s in dealing with crisis, and that he experienced all 3 after his father’s passing: Freeze (depression), Flight (escape), Fight (combat it, do something) - hence Bike for the Fight. Our students asked a


Sara H: Did you ever fall off? Tom P: Yes, of course! What do you do when you fall down? You get up and get back on the bike and ride on! That’s an important lesson for life, too. Everyone falls down and may get a little hurt, but we have to get back up and keep on going, stronger than before. I learned to take the negative and turn it into a positive.



The old entrance carpet area (with steps up and down and the landings) is being replaced this week with new beautiful carpet thanks to Modern Carpet Co. (downtown Albany: 1048 Broadway, 465-6300). It will give the area a fresh new feel, and a much improved look.

3 WAYS TO SUPPORT THE B.F.F. The Bike for the Fight team gave our children blue bracelets (usually sold for $5 each), you can text BFF to 80100 to make a $10 (on cellphone) donation, and they also have an online site at


REALLY, U SAY IT EVERY DAY? Tom was amazed that Esther knew it from the daily prayers and that we say “Ofanim” every day. He asked Rabbi Rubin to show it to him, and then took a picture with his phone of that spot in the daily prayers.

RABBI LABER’S TOMATOES Rabbi Laber brought his 7th grade students delicious tomatoes from his garden and asked them to think of possible connections to Rosh Hashanah. Here’s what they came up with:  Tomatoes are round, like Rosh Hashanah Challah, and the cycle of the year.  Like a pomegranate, tomatoes have many seeds inside and they, too, are edible.  Some kids insisted on the tomatoes with the stems still attached, for it somewhat resembles a crown, and we crown Hashem as King on Rosh Hashanah.  Tomatoes may be acidic, but they can also be very sweet - for a sweet New Year!  Homegrown tomatoes may not look as pretty or uniform as store-bought, but they sure are tastier. Externals can be deceiving.  They are a fruit from the “New” World!  It could look somewhat like an apple. In fact its Italian name “pomodore” comes from the words: golden apple. Rabbi Laber also learned with them about the laws of “Eruv Tavshilin”, which needs to be set aside for each of this month’s 3-day YomTovs that flow directly into Shabbos. Can a tomato be used as part of the Eruv Tavshlin? Not unless it was cooked!

KINDERGARTEN MY-MACHZOR In the 3 half-days of school before Rosh Hashanah, Morah Dini’s Kindergarteners already worked on their own Machzor, to be best prepared for the holiday. Bluma’s holding the cover with her name on front. Michla is holding hers open to the page about the different types of Shofar Blasts. They also made paper Shofars, (>) that actually do make sounds!

BROKEN & UNBROKEN Talking about the various types of Shofar blasts… Rabbi Mendel shared with 7th graders a psychological insight into the sequence of the Shofar sounds. Each broken blast (Shevarim or Teruah) is sandwiched, surrounded and supported by whole, strong, unbroken sounds (Tekiah). Here’s one message: It’s OK to be down sometimes, that’s life, but the sequence teaches us that we need to make sure there’s whole and unbroken on either side. In the same vein: A few years ago Leibel Wolf spoke for the community at Maimonides and used an analogy of a 2x4 beam suspended across two chairs. Suppose you put a brick on the middle of the 2x4 for a few minutes. What will happen to the wood? It sags a bit. Take off the brick? The wood will bounce back. Now suppose you leave the brick there and don’t take it off for a long time? The wood will sag and it won’t bounce back. The brick is a symbol for problems, and the wood is us! Everyone has problems, but we need time to bounce back up in between.. like the unbroken, strong Tekiah sound between each of the broken Shevarim and Teruah sounds.

6th grade with Morah Leyee Chumash Shmos (perek 4) class learned about not making assumptions and suspecting innocent people (“Choshed b’Ksharim”) as Hashem criticized Moshe for saying “The Jews won’t believe me!” This teaches us to try to give other people the benefit of the doubt, even when it may not seem likely.

NEW APPS PROJECT “Tishrei Foods” is the APPS topic, and can include anything from apple dipped in honey and pomegranates, to Kreplach on Erev Yom Kippur or Stuffed Cabbage on Simchas Torah or even hot cider (a local upstate NY Fall tradition, great in a cold Sukkah). It can be a classic traditional food or your own family custom. The medium can be an elaborate menu, a business advertisement, a cookbook, clay models of food, posters or shopping lists. It can be on paper, 3-D, a Powerpoint or a short video. Be creative! It’s due about 10 days after Sukkos, so there’s some time.

OOPS, 1609 NOT 1509... Last week, in the mini-MC summer edition we mentioned the Chai-Elul yartzeit of the Maharal of Prague and the school’s 2009 focus on 400 years since Henry Hudson’s voyage & Maharal of Prague. But we mistakenly wrote 1509, when both the Maharal & Hudson date back to 1609. A century of a difference!

GIVE WITH TARGET… ONCE A WEEK UNTIL 9/21 Thank G-d this is not a daily vote, but you can (and please do) vote once a week for Maimonides, as each vote can be a dollar (or more) for our school! We have just 3 weeks left, it can add up to several hundred dollars! Go to:

BOXTOPS ADD UP Each one is worth 10 cents. Please send them into the school office. Thanks!

NU, DID YOU GET THE NEW CANDLE-LIGHTING MAGNET? The handy & useful Shabbos Candle-Lighting magnets (our highholiday fundraiser) for your refrigerator has been mailed to area homes this week. You should get yours soon. If you don’t get it this coming week and would like to get one, call the school office 453-9363 or email:

THE THREE KEY BLESSINGS Rabbi Shmuly’s 4-5 Mishna class learned parts of the 4th chapter of Rosh Hashana about the three major segments of the Rosh Hashanah prayers: Malchiot (G-d’s Kingship), Zichronot (Memories) and Shofrot (about Shofar). The verses on these 3 make up the majority of the Rosh Hashanah Musaf.

MAXIMUM HEIGHT LIMITS 7th grade Gemorah is now learning about maximum Sukkah height, the first day’s homework was to come up with things (anything) that has a maximum height. The best idea? The maximum clearance for trucks under some bridges and tunnels.

A 1927 YESHIVA TORAH V’DAAS SHANA TOVA CHALLAH COVER This Challah Cover was given to supporters of one of America’s earliest Yeshivot (founded in 1917), Yeshiva Torah V’Daas (Brooklyn) in 1927! That means that this Challah cover gift was from the Yeshiva’s 10th year. It has Hebrew, Yiddish & English writing, line-art illustrations of the Yeshiva buildings on Wilson Street and Bedford Ave (the yeshiva has long since moved to Flatbush and new buildings). If you look closely at the tree branches, it a blessing for the new year that goes according to the letters of the Aleph-Bais. Rabbi Rubin says this came from Yetta Leifer obm and it is a special local connection to the great Yeshiva in NY which some Albany residents supported and a few even attended.

NEWSLETTER SPONSORSHIP Please look ahead and reserve dates for MC newsletter sponsorship (people usually give $54 or $72) to mark a yartzeit, or celebrate a Simcha. It is a meaningful way to support local Jewish education and share the occasion with the extended community. Contact the office to reserve your sponsorship date.

MORE CAMPER GOOD NEWS! As our students return at the start of the school year, we heard that more of our Maimonides students earned top honor awards in their respective camps whether it was “Best Student” “Best Camper” “Best Davener”. It’s quite remarkable that a small school from a small community should have such a disproportionate number of awardees in quite a number of different camps! Kol HaKavod! You make us very proud! Keep it up…

HEBREW SHANA TOVA CARDS Third graders working with Morah Devorah Leah wrote their own handwritten Shana Tova cards in Hebrew, with full sentences and personal sentiments.

GENERAL STUDIES REPORTS? Why no General Studies reports in this MC? Because this week we had half-days Hebrew only prior to Labor Day & Rosh Hashanah. Full day studies begin on Monday, Sept 9th.

HIGH HOLIDAY TROPE Rabbi Laber introduced the 8/9 boys to the special Torah-Reading trope of the High Holidays. They practiced reading the Akeidah, he explained the slower tempo, a little Haftora -like & more serious mood of the trope.

1ST GRADE SHANA TOVA BOOK SELICHOT MINHAGIM These boys are very proud of their Shana Tova books. You can see key Tishrei Hebrew words on the bulletin board behind them.

Sephardim begin at the start of Elul, most begin on Sat Night before Rosh Hashanah, and others go thru Aseres Yimei Teshuvah.

Summer Fun This “High Five” was chosen by students from a whole bunch of Summer Fun Hi-5 submitted.


Great Escape topped a lot of lists, as did Camel Beach Water Park. One student’s highlight was DisneyLand in California. Another family enjoyed Mountain-Sliding at Jiminy Peak.


Summer camp was on almost everyone's list. Whether it was daycamp or overnight, students wrote about Colors Wars, camp-trips, spirited davening, winning Shabbos competition.


Family-time was a big item that many students listed, whether it was visiting nieces and nephews, playing with cousins or spending quality time with grandparents.

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Nature outings was also big on lists. Kids enjoyed State Parks, beaches, hikes and picking fresh fruit and berries on farms.

Bonfires, Firepits, BBQ’s and Bivouacs, and camping, too. Fireworks were also a common memory.

at Maimonides and in the Community 9/1: FINAL WOMENS SHIUR 5773

Gedalia, the last governor of Judea was assassinated (by a fellow Jew) on Rosh Hashanah. The fast day mourning 9/1: SELICHOT SAT NIGHT his death and the end of CBAJ is doing an earlier Selichot program with Jewish rule for many S’more and Kumzits at 9:15pm and Selichot at 10. centuries in Israel was Shomray Torah will be doing Selichot at Halachic pushed off until the day Midnight which is 1:00am. Get into the High after Rosh Hashanah. Holiday spirit, it comes very early this year… This year that day is Shabbos, so it is pushed 9/2: COUNTY FAIRS THIS SUNDAY off again to Sunday. It is If you want to go to a (smaller-size) county fair, a day-time fast with these local/nearby fairs are open this Sunday (these special Selichot prayers. fairs are either free for kids or very reasonable). Check their websites for specific information: 9/18-25: SUKKOT  Columbia County Fair on Route 66 in Chatham CELEBRATIONS NY. It’s their 173rd year! 9/21: Sat Night at  The Schaghticoke Fair is at Routes 67 & 40. Shabbos House Now in its 194th year!  And the Fonda Fair, to our west. It is also an old 9/22: Fun-Fair Day at Saratoga Chabad 12-4 tradition, now in 172nd year! 9/22: Delmar Chabad Party 5pm 9/2: END OF 5773 SARATOGA BBQ Sukkah 9/23: Sushi in Sukkah 6pm at Saratoga Chabad followed by Mincha & in Clifton Park Maariv. If you plan to come, please RSVP by early 9/24: Joint Family Sunday afternoon: 526-0773. outing.. Ideas? 9/24: Late Night 9/2-4: NO SCHOOL THIS WEEK Hoshana Rabba Study at  Mon (9/2) Labor Day, no school. Shomray Torah  Tues (9/3) Teacher Orientation - no school. More dates/events to be  Wed (9-4) No school, Erev Rosh Hashanah. announced soon… School resumes at 8am on Monday, September 9 for the first full-day of classes. 9/29: ESTY Given by Mrs. Devorah Leah Kaufman at her home 27D Weis Rd at 4:45pm. Last of the season!

9/4: SET ASIDE ERUV TAVSHLIN This month we have 3 sets of holidays that begin Wednesday night and run straight into Shabbos. In order to be allowed to prepare food on Friday for Shabbos (according to the permissible laws of Yom Tov) an “Eruv-Tavshilin” needs to be set-up on Wednesday afternoon, Erev YomTov. It’s simple, easy and written with instructions in the Siddur.

9/4-6: ROSH HASHANAH Prayer services in all local synagogues. Tashlich is said on the afternoon of the first day (Thursday).

9/7: SHABBOS SHUVAH The Shabbos between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (this year the day after Rosh Hashanah) is called “Shabbos Shuvah” (repentance/return). It is customary for the Rabbi to give a special sermon.



ROSH HASHANAH “SIMANIM” Many of the traditional foods we eat on Rosh Hashanah are “signs” or symbols for blessings we’re asking for the coming year. Morah Devorah’s students made these “Simanim” placements of laminated apples with pictures of some of the classic New Year Simanim:  Apple dipped in Honey for a very sweet New Year ahead.  “Rimonim” Pomegranates - may we have many merits and Mitzvos like the numerous seeds inside.  Carrots in Hebrew is “Gezer” so we’re asking for a good decree “Gzar Din”. In Yiddish is “Meren” which means to increase or multiply.  “Rosh Dag” head of a fish, so that this year we should be connected to a head, and not to a tail. The placemat also has the “Yehi Ratzon” special prayer that is said when we dip the apple in the honey. Many also have a custom to say individual “Yehi Ratzons” for each special “Simanim” food that we eat.

Tishrei 25 (this year on Sept 29) is Esty (Rubin) Cohen’s Yartzeit and time for the annual memorial lecture on relationship matters. Stay tuned for lecture details (on this date or perhaps the following week) as well as the formal dedication ceremonies for the new MHDS Science-LibraryMedia Center.

Looking ahead… Save the Dates! 10/13: Taste of Yeshiva, this time in Delmar 10/29: Shais Taub on “Addiction, Recovery & Judaism” at Shabbos House, students & community 12/4: Chanukah Dinner & School Raffle-Auction 2/9: Womens Spa for Body & Soul 5/28: Annual MHDS Scholarship Tribute Dinner


Former Times-Union editor (and past Berger ---------------------------------------------------------------Memorial Awardee) Harry Rosenfeld will speak RABBI LABER’S HONEY about his book: “From Kristallnacht to Watergate: Contact Rabbi Avraham Laber 833-0704 for his Memoirs of a Newspaperman” at College of S Rose organic, raw honey (produced by local bees under Lally School of Education 1009 Madison, 7:30pm. his rabbinical supervision). Very limited supply. He also sells his own Bald Mountain grown garlic.


The plan is for “Terra” to open on this date at 283 Washington Ave. Stay tuned for updates and for kashruth announcements.

MAIMONIDES SCHOOL & COMMUNITY (Nursery / Elementary / High School) 404 Partridge Street Albany NY 12208 (518) 453-9363/3434 Founded in 1980, Maimonides is chartered by the NYS Board of Regents and is a JF-NENY Beneficiary

“A Beautiful Blend: Torah & Worldly Experience!”


Wishing all our readers and the entire Jewish community a Shana Tova, a Ksiva vChasima Tova, a year filled with happiness, health, success a...