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BH Teves

17, 5774 / December 21, 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 4:06 Shabbos Ends: produced by Rabbi Mendel & students in the TNT (Torah ‘n Technology) Program 5:12 Maimonides is accredited by the NYS Board of Regents & is a beneficiary of UJF-NENY


This Newsletter is sponsored in loving memory of

Mrs. Dorothea Capon passed away a week ago on Thursday. She greatly missed her beloved husband Abe who died in 2001. He cherished his Sephardic heritage, he especially relished prayer chants, saying them with much meaning and feeling. They were a sweet couple, longtime Albany residents active in the Jewish community, members of Temple Israel and supporters of Maimonides, Chabad and other local Jewish activity. Condolences to their family, may her memory be a blessing.

Dorothea Capon She and her husband Abe were warm & sweet Jews, long-time Albanians, proud of their heritage and supporters of Maimonides. May their memory be a blessing.

SNOW IS BIG NEWS THIS WEEK ROOF COLLAPSE IN VESTAL, NY Temple Israel of Vestal NY is also home to the Hillel School of Binghamton. The roof of their building collapsed and now the school is trying to find a new home. In this picture you can see colored synagogue windows & stacks of chairs in back on right. This unexpected disaster adds to the existing struggle to maintain & support this small upstate Jewish school, similar to Maimonides. Along with HACD, we’re all part of the Upstate NY Day School Consortium.

It creates (and takes away) opportunities for play, changes the landscape and outdoor plans, affects travel, and what to wear to school. It also makes you shovel... You can’t miss it! These Kindergarten students used “Ish Sheleg” snowman to learn some Hebrew. See this week’s “Hi-5” for meaningful life lessons our BABY MOSHE IN THE BASKET students (& faculty) learn from snow. These Kindergarten girls, both wearing pink, are holding “baby Moshe in the basket” (like COLORED ICE big sister Miriams!) that they and their Nursery kids carefully classmates made with Morah Dini for the used a dropper with Parsha of the week, Shmot. From this week on, coloring to create Moshe is in every Parsha except Tetzaveh. colored ice-cubes. It’s Some painted the outsides black for the tar a fine-motor skill, and used to waterproof the basket in the Nile each extra squeeze River. Did you know what Israelis call minimakes a difference! hotdogs in pastry dough? “Moshe ba’Teiva”!

MAIMONIDES WHY A BRICK ON THE TABLE? Talk about rebuilding after a disaster… Rabbi Mendel shared with MHDS students what they did at Shabbos House for Friday Night after the Fast of the 10th of Tevet. All the students wondered about the brick sitting on the table (near the Challah and grape-juice..) and the answer had to do with each Mitzvah being a symbolic brick to rebuild the Beis HaMikdash. You can google: “What’s this Brick doing on the Table?” to see more about this online.

404 Partridge Street Albany NY 12208

LAST FRIDAY’S “CHAZAK-BREISHIS CARNIVAL” AT SCHOOL THIS PAST FRIDAY The Chazak-Breishis Carnival had such a buzz of activity and excitement. These pictures can’t capture the vibe, but they certainly capture the kids’ expression! Thanks to Chana L. for taking most of these shots. (A) Fruit-Loop Bracelet making for the jewelry that Eliezer gave Rivka, including bracelets (B) finding Lavan’s lost idols hidden in the yarn and sand (C) Dressing up as the tribes at the Photo-Booth (D) Yaakov was mummified in Parshas Vayechi, so Shaina A. is wrapping up Avremi W. from Nursery in toilet-paper. See more booths & photos on page 3 >>



Talk about tragedies… 6th grade is learning about ancient Greece and how they expressed themselves into two types of theater art forms, that inspire entertainment forms to this day. Each student is writing a short comedy or tragedy play to share with the class. Most chose comedy.

Rabbi Mathless’ Chumash students reported that while Yitzchak understood Eisav to be a wild type and not as good as Yaakov, he also saw a lot of potential in Eisav, and thought he might be able to bring that out in him with a blessing. And Hashem didn’t make it obvious to Yitzchak that Eisav wasn’t the right choice, because everything and everyone needs a fair chance. You don’t disqualify anyone so fast.


RAMBAM DISPLAY 4 YARTZEIT Rabbi Rubin and the HS Girls opened up the school’s archives to organize and put on display selections of Rambam/Maimonides publications, events, learning etc that show our local connection to the Rambam dating more than 30 years. It’s a great walk down memory lane! Look for it to be displayed on the indoor windows of the Media-Library in connection with the Rambam’s Yartzeit, this coming Monday, 20th of Tevet.

LIVING UP TO UR POTENTIAL 7th graders are studying the Revolutionary War. Each student prepared a powerpoint of a Rabbi Mendel’s 7th grade Gemorah class just specific battle (i.e. Yorktown, Bennington, learned that a house less than 4x4 Amos can Saratoga) and shared it with the class. not serve as a “connector between two cities” for the laws of walking beyond cities on Shabbos. But a PROGRAMMING CODE “Burgenin” (humble watchmen’s Mr. Sinha is substituting for Mrs. Sahay while she visits her ailing father in India. He took a hut) can serve as that connector. But why? few lessons to show 8-9 graders to show them Burgenin are usually even smaller than 4x4? That’s because Burgenin fulfill their purpose, some examples of computer code and what they’re good for what they are designed, but a types of programming goes into computer house less than 4x4 does not fulfill its purpose games and software. He showed them a few and design. This gives us good life perspective, websites where they could learn some basic too: Its not always about how big or fancy, or code, a few beginner steps, on their own. smart and successful we are, it’s about how much we fulfill our potential and design! B.F.G. DOING WHAT’S RIGHT

Mrs. Maher’s 4/5 are enjoying Roald Dahl’s BFG story, and used wonderfully descriptive words when reporting on it in TNT class for MAZAL TOV TO EMMUNAH this MC Newsletter. The best part and family on her Bat-Mitzvah celebration this of their reporting? Maimonides weekend, they are having several celebrations Middos connection! While other between here and California, and are very A SNOW SCENE IN HEBREW monsters ran off to do horrible happy to be celebrating this important These students were each given the same basic things to kids, the BFG protected Sophie, and milestone with her! snow scene, with blank lines underneath for stuck to doing what’s right, even if he was them to write a few Hebrew sentences about considered strange because of it. And another PLISHTIM WAR & ELI’S PASSING that snow scene, and what they’d add to it. lesson: Until you got to know BFG, you might 6th grade Navi learned about a battle the Jews And add they did! From sledding to hot lost against the Philistines, followed by Eli the chocolate, snowmen to the winter chill… They be quite afraid of him, thinking he’s a scary High Priest’s death & accompanying tragedies. were eager to display their work for the “MC”! giant and all.. But once you get to know him…

THIS PAST FRIDAY’S “CHAZAK-BREISHIS CARNIVAL” CONTINUED... (E) a happily finished mummified product (F) these kids are quite eager to make their own bracelets at Rivka’s Jewelry (G) More tribal dress-up. Notice the sheep, because they were shepherds and tending sheep when Yosef came looking for them. (I) Smell to guess the spice from Yosef’s Caravan, Rabbi Laber is blindfolded as he tries to guess, but he knows his herbs and spices! (J) This is a great shot of Simmy excitedly finding Yosef’s cup in all the paper bags, with Devorah Leah, Riki and Meital looking on. The different facial expressions are great! (K) This was a neat high-tech look at Noah’s Ark, you hold the iPad with the special APP over the puzzle and different parts of the picture come to life! (L) … but you have to complete the puzzle first for it to work. (M) Yaakov’s “Yoshev Ohel” study tent.. makeshift-style with two wooden Menorahs holding up a Chanukah tablecloth! (N) Throw Yosef (the Ball) in the Pit. Look closely to see the orange blur… that’s the orange ball headed for the 100 point slot! (O) Calev designed the bow and arrow for this booth about Eisav’s hunting. Thanks to the kids for all the creative ideas, beautiful signs and putting it all together, and to HS for manning booths so the classes could go around and enjoy the carnival.


1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

Morah Devorah Leah’s class just completed their 2nd chapter of Chumash and shared these 5 student insight/life-lessons learned: Hashem didn’t create the world all at once, he did it in steps, one day at a time. The same with us and our learning. Everything we need can be found in nature, which shows how Hashem cares for us. Only Hashem can create something from nothing. It’s hard for us to understand how it works, or what nothing is. We learn how important it is to control our evil inclination from the story of Adam and Chava, the snake, and the forbidden fruit. Chava and Adam were not created totally separately so that husband and wife should feel connected to each other and learn to respect and trust each other.


HS Girls studied it this week in Earth Science, and it has real world application in zoning, environmental issues, and flood zones. There are many factors: whether the surface is permeable or not, what sediment, debris or pollutants will the water carry along, how high water tables are, whether storm sewers can handle it, types of nearby bodies of water etc.


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LIQUID STATES & PROPERTIES 8-9 Gemorah class with Rabbi Rubin is now studying Shabbos 5b which questions what’s the at-rest and movement properties of liquids (and solid objects floating in liquids) in regard to carrying on Shabbos (for which we must ascertain the at-rest and movement states). Materials engineering expert Dr. Floyd Tuller of the Berkshires happened to be there that day this week and participated in the discussion & shared some insights.

Mrs. Maher’s 4/5 grade students, while prehistoric studying early civilization, did a live HAPPY BIRTHDAY RABBI YOSSI classroom experiment about what it would be Special celebration this Shabbos at Clifton to live without language and Park Chabad. This year his Chai (18th of) vocabulary and a rich way to Teves (milestone) birthday falls on Shabbos. communicate. Cherish your words!!!

6th grade’s “Matter Party” as they complete a unit on matter and begin studying about the elements and the Periodic Table. 2&3 making P.I.E.s (actual tasty pies) which stands for: Persuade, Inform & Express which are forms of an author’s purpose. Gandhi Film seen by 8-9 as part of a unit on Indian history in Social Studies class. Mishna Studies on 4 types of Watchmen w/ varying levels of responsibility Morse Code in Science Enrichment…

FLYING TZITZIT ON WSJ COVER A large photo on the cover of the Wall Street Journal this week was of a snowboarder in Jerusalem doing a stunt, with his Tzitzit flying. Now that we read this week of the exile in Egypt and Hashem telling Moshe to take the Jews out, this photo recalls the tambourines the women played at the Splitting of the Sea. Do you know why?

5 LIFE LESSONS FROM at Maimonides and in the Community Based on student insights, faculty input and online responses, too.

12/21: CHASSAN TORAH, KIDDUSH presentation on frost-bite (actually a type of burn from the cold) fire-safety and other safety & A CHIDDUSH… THIS SHABBOS Chiddush means Torah novella, a new creative idea or insight in Torah learning. Rabbi Rubin often says a Chiddush in his talk on Shabbos morning, but this Chiddush is different and addresses the question: “Do we see the fruit of our labors?” and explains the complicated background of the seemingly simple “Eilu Devarim” Mishna said each morning in the daily prayers. And Kiddush? Everyone knows what a Kiddush is! This week the two come together at Shomray Torah after Musaf on Shabbos. The Kiddush is also in honor of the Morgenbesser Chassan Torah this year.


protection and precautions.



Find out more or call Nechama Laber 833-0704.

1/18: PIZZA NITE III AT MHDS Look for the 3rd Pizza Nite this season at “Nathan’s Kitchen” by the HS girls. Stay tuned for specials!

1/11: YUD-SHVAT MELAVA MALKA Look for an inspiring Chassidic Melava Malka get together at Shabbos House, open to all. Program and details to be announced soon.

is screened live 7:30pm at CBAJ on Sat Night.


1/20: WOMENS BET MEDRASH 12/21: CBAJ PARENT-CHILD STUDY This month’s topic is Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New 6:15pm with pizza and prizes. Bring your own text or texts are provided.

12/22: SPORTS CARD SHOW There’s not much in the way of public events this time of year that’s not holiday-themed or related. This show features 35 vendors, 9am-3pm at Best Western at 200 Wolf Road, all showing and selling sports cards and memorabilia. $2 admission, kids under 12 are free. If this is your kind of thing…

12/23-1/1/2014: MHDS DECEMBER & NEW YEARS SCHEDULE Mon 12/23 thru Wed 12/25: Half-Day 8-11:30am Thurs 12/26 thru Mon 12/30: No School Tues 12/31 & Wed 1/1: Half-Day Hebrew Only

12/31 & 1/1: HALF-DAYS UPDATE Siddur Party to be rescheduled (stay tuned), and “Hillel Day” to be held on January 1st, New Years Day (instead of the 25th as originally scheduled). “Cardboard Fun” is on Tues Dec 31st. Save at home and bring flattened (clean) cardboard boxes of all sizes for a fun activity day.

12/23: RAMBAM YARTZEIT Our school always makes a big deal for the Rambam’s Yartzeit on the 20th of Tevet, some years we do a Melava Malka, some years a “Rambam Day” (this year we’re doing Hillel) and this year a display down Albany’s Rambam Memory Lane… see it at school. Interesting stuff!

12/24: SAFETY WORKSHOP As part of our Hillel studies (and everyone knows the story of Hillel freezing on the roof to study), Mr. Chandler of NY State Fire will come in to do a

Year for Trees, and celebration of growth, and the presenter is Nechama Laber who has done so many workshops and camp activities for girls centered on the theme of planting, blossoming and growth.


1/26: JFED’S SUPER-SUNDAY This annual phone-a-thon raises funds for Federation’s allocations to local organizations & beneficiaries (including Maimonides) as well as overseas Jewish needs. Maimonides parents are asked to please volunteer for one-shift as this supports our school! Thank you!!

1/30: APPS PRESENTATION DAY The current APPS “What Warms You?” (thanks to Rivka L. for the idea) about physical, spiritual or emotional warmth is due in the last week of January and the presentation date will be Wed Jan 30th. This gives our students 5 weeks (including vacation days) to work on their projects at home. The trip date will be in early/mid-February.

2/9: WOMENS SPA 4 BODY & SOUL Contact Clara Simon or DL Rubin to get involved in the planning of this special annual communal program for women. Stay tuned for info!



CARDBOARD FUN DAY Save clean & dry cardboard boxes for a special fun day at school on Tues, December 31st. Break-down the box so it is flat, and save at home. After it will be used in an educational fun craft project it will be picked up from school for recycling.

No two are the same! This may be cliché, but it’s true about snowflakes and it’s true about people. Each snowflake (when seen under magnification) has splendid design and is quite different, each one is unique. No two snowflakes (or people) are the same, even if you might not realize that without a closer look. On the other hand, snow also has a unifying sameness, a pure and uniform color. While white is usually a boring, bland color, the brightness and pristine look of fresh snow makes any landscape look so beautiful, no matter what is underneath. Snowflakes stick together! As we should… And while they fall so softly and gently, they can become quite hard and strong when packed together. It can also be compared to little tidbits of information that we learn each day, fresh, soft and new, that accumulate as we grow and become something solid. Snow on Failure: Falling is easier in soft snow & we get back up quick. Important in life when we’re down. Sometimes we (kids) get upset when big fun snow piles melt and disappear, but can be comforted that as long as winter is around, it will snow again. If you build something and it breaks? Just build it again! There’s an opposite lesson in that, too. Snow won’t be around all year, we ought to take advantage and make the most of it, while we have it - literally at our fingertips! "He gives snow like wool" (Psalms 147, from the daily morning prayers). Not just that they're both white, but that they both insulate (think igloo). @RabbiShaul (on Twitter who remembers Rabbi Rubin asking him where do we find snow in davening): Reason snow & wool are good insulators is because of the pockets of air between flakes/threads" similar to Rabbi Mendel’s theory on Matzahball physics on floaters vs. sinkers! Leaving Tracks, Making an Imprint! Snow (or soft earth) highlights the fact that our comings & goings leave tracks and make an imprint. You can look out the window in the morning and tell right away if someone walked out in the snow yet, if it was a person or animal, big steps or small, you can even see specific shoeprints and tire-tracks. Dry concrete or pavement doesn't visibly show how our steps change our world.

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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!”

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See inside on pages 2 & 3 for pictures of last week's wonder...