Page 1

BH Shvat

16, 5774 / January 17, 2014

Community Newsletter of the Maimonides Hebrew Day School of the Capital District Candle-Lighting: 404 Partridge Street Albany NY 12208 (518) 453-9363/3434 4:31 Shabbos Ends: produced by Rabbi Mendel & students in the TNT (Torah ‘n Technology) Program 5:36 Maimonides is accredited by the NYS Board of Regents & is a beneficiary of UJF-NENY

This Newsletter is sponsored by two families in honor of their Simchas this week: in honor of the bris of

Yosef Yitzchak Caras His parents Michael & Leah Caras were proud to celebrate with the community at the Shteeble this Tuesday. May he grow up to Torah, Chuppah, U'Massim Tovim!

THE TU BISHVAT BREAKFAST An annual Maimonides tradition, once again a great hit! Students enjoyed the fruity cereals, dried and fresh fruit & nut varieties and the interactive program. Rabbi Rubin displayed a dragon-fruit from Afghanistan, and shared the story and lessons from Choni the Circle Maker and his Carob/Charuv/ Bokser which all the kids tasted (thanks Hechts for bringing extras) and it was a tad softer this year! Rabbi Rubin made a huge colorful display (see the wall and table behind the students pictured above) of Tu Bishvat panels, projects and materials from the schools’ extensive archives. He even showed the students a Tu Bishvat book published by Disney! Highlighted this year were almonds (which are from the peach family and not really nuts), pecans and walnuts, and dates. Morah Devorah Leah announced a recipe she found that uses all of the “Seven Species” and challenged the students to come up with the ingredients. The goal was to guess the form (i.e. chopped dates, olive oil, and pomegranate juice), but didn’t need to know the specific measurement. It didn’t take long for students to come up with all seven! At the end of the program, Rabbi Mendel asked

all the kids to clear the tables and put their and by the Dovbear Family heads down, and only raise their in honor of heads back up if they fit the instructions. First anyone wearing pink, then anyone with a sweater, then students wearing white socks, then those with boots, etc.. until everyone’s heads were up. The lesson? Trees don’t all blossom at the same time. Almond trees are early bloomers, but some apples aren’t ripe until late in Fall. And the same with students: Some are quicker to grasp certain subjects than others, everyone’s minds work differently and get “ready” in different ways. Some of the best fruits take TRIP TO NTL. WEATHER SVCE. longer, and are worth waiting for! Talk about waiting for fruits: In addition to breakfast, each As part of their Earth Science Studies, Dr. Sahay and the HS girls visited NOAA National student also got a Clementine at lunch-time! Weather Service located at the Nanotech complex on Fuller Road. They saw various THAT VISITING RABBI... forecasting models, and the equipment and who spoke with our Gemorah students about computer programs used to measure weather Rabbi Akiva Eiger & his grandson? He turned conditions and generate forecasts. News for us? out to be the Rabbinical head of CRC Kosher!

Zelda’s Tu Bishvat Bat-Mitzvah

MAIMONIDES 404 Partridge Street Albany NY 12208

This recent warm spell will not last much longer. Already we had some snow, and expect 5-10 inches this coming Tuesday into Wednesday. Plus, the temperature is forecasted to drop significantly, with highs next week to be in the teens or twenties! So, dress very warm…

DRAWN TO THIS? How strong is the pull? At what distance? 8/9 students played around (in an organized fashion) with magnets in the Jonathan O’Brien Science Lab as they did a unit with Dr. Sahay on magnetism.

MAIMONIDES MOVES Usually “Maimonides Moves” describes a physical activity at Maimonides. But Shira thought of a clever application: One day Rabbi Mathless noticed the class was tired and restless and not focusing as well. So he asked each student to move from their desks to the red worktable in back of the room. Guess what? The move worked! Suddenly Mussie was refreshed, Rivkah awake, Mendel was into it, Aharon Meir was happy, Hirshy was not sleepy any more. Sometimes changing it up makes a big difference!

HEBREW TREE WORDS/POEMS Devorah Leah K. is hanging up another 2/3 grade illustrated tree on the bulletin board with tree words, tree art and poems, all in Hebrew by the 2nd and 3rd grades.

FRUIT ROLL FLOWERS Morah Devorah Leah’s students took fruit-roll-up treats and carefully wrapped them into beautiful multicolor “floral arrangements” such as tulips and roses stuck atop of wooden skewer sticks. This flower won’t wilt, and kids enjoy it!

KUDAN-LUCHINS WEDDING MHDS alumnus R’ Sholom Ber Kudan married Chana Luchins (of Scranton PA) this week in Brooklyn and there was a Sheva Brachos at Maimonides on Thursday Night. Here’s a quick review of what was shared: Shayna Kudan remembered the Kallah’s grandmother, Dr. Edith Luchins walking all over town for the women’s Shabbos shiur, never missing a week. She also said that her grandfather was from Scranton, and a shul there still bears his name, so she looks forward to the Sheva Brachos there this Shabbos. Rabbi Rubin said he speaks on behalf of both the Chassan’s side (the Kudans of Albany, of course) as well as the Kallah’s side, because the Luchins family and their home on Fordham Court were longtime true pillars of the Albany Jewish community. He shared memories of Dr. Edith and her husband Dr. Abe Luchins, both illustrious in their respective fields of Psychiatry (UAlbany) and Math (RPI). He recalled Edith’s serving on the school board; her wit, charm, and rhyming ability to gently diffuse tense situations. Rabbi Rubin mentioned the letter of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to Drs. Luchins who were reluctant to send their youngest son away from Albany to study in Yeshiva, so Rabbi Rubin somehow felt that Edith pulled the strings from Heaven to make this Shidduch happen because she would have liked to bring something back to Albany. R’ Moshe Losice recalled Abe’s visit to the Soviet Union as part of a United States academic delegation, but was so concerned for loss of valuable time that he was flown in and out the same day that he presented his paper. R’ Moshe remembers walking with Abe to the old Shteeble on Elm Street. R’ Moshe used the Talmudic expression: When a tree and its fruit share the same taste, to be when children and their parents share the same values and said how true this is of both the Luchins & Kudan families. R’ Ruvain Kudan told of the hectic day preparing for the wedding, and how he needed a haircut in Crown Heights. He ran into a barber shop on Kingston, and there was only one customer ahead of him, who was his very own son-in-law Yossi Kagan! Yossi insisted that his father-in-law go first, realizing the stress and rush of the wedding prep. So Ruvain says, this goes to show you, “It’s not what you know, but who you know!” Last speaker was the Chassan, Rabbi Sholom Ber Kudan. Since many spoke about Tu Bishvat he felt it would be OK to speak on the Parsha (this week on the Giving of the Torah). The verse says the Jews stood b’Tachtit HaHar which literally translated to “underneath the mountain”. This wording leads to a whole Talmudic discussion if the Jews were forced or

willing to accept the Torah, and as the Rebbe explains, the amazing miracles and revelation overwhelmed the Jews “forcing” them to truly desire the Torah. This is why the Jews needed to reaccept and reaffirm the Torah in later times of darkness and challenge, on their own initiative. Sholom Ber related this to a Maimonides education which is not overbearing and pressuring, but filled with love and warmth, helping students appreciate it and grow in Torah, in ways where they feel like doing it and want to do it. He contrasted this with a man he once met on “The Poor Man’s Cape Cod” who grew up religious but left it all, because he felt lectured at, and forced into things without learning to appreciate it. Last but not least, there was a “Nutrition Facts” sticker on nearly every cup at the Sheva Brachos designed by Rabbi Rubin and the HS Girls in honor of Tu Bishvat and the Chassan and Kallah, both wonderful Albany fruits!


1 2

3 4 5

We did a poll asking students of all ages for eat-alone favorites, vs. mixed (salads, pastries, desserts etc). Apples, clementines and grapes were among the most common stand-alone fruit in our poll. Quite a few students said starfruit (even if its not the kind of fruit they eat all the time), and Mango was quite popular as a stand-alone fruit, too. Some eat grapefruit quite regularly at home. In terms of a fruit mixed in with other things? Avocado ranked highest, especially as a dip, a spread on bread, or as a texturechanger in a salad. Blueberries were a close second: kids liked it in smoothies, yogurt, and baked in muffins. In terms of fruit baked in pastry, peach (as in peach cobbler) was a favorite, and all kinds of apple (sauce, turnover, baked apple, some like apple slices with peanut butter). Nuts? Almonds and cashews are favorites, pistachios are fun to crack open and eat, too. Some kids really like pecan pie and pecan ice -cream. Older kids like Hazelnut flavor. This was a little surprising: Pomegranate is more popular that you might think, and quite a few people eat it year round not only for Rosh Hashanah. Mostly, its for sprinkling the seeds in salads. And quite a few kids like pears, especially the brown kind, when its soft to eat, but still a little crisp. These fruits that are not (Halachicly) treefruits & not Borei-Pri-HaEitz: Bananas (a big favorite, some also like w/peanut butter or in cereal), Strawberries, Pineapple, Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Watermelon, and Peanuts (actually a legume, not a tree-nut),

CELEBRATING TU BISHVAT IN THE HALLS OF THE NY STATE CAPITOL Our Bnos Chaya HS Girls prepared the fruit and pastry platters and enjoyed an excursion to the NYS Capitol to participate in the annual Capital Chabad Tu Bishvat celebration with the legislature. Above right they are pictured with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblymen David Weprin and Harvey Weisenberg. Rabbi Rubin opened the session with a concrete poem about NY State and its highways and waterways being the roots, trunk and branches of a living tree that bears fruit, and some of the life-message of Tu Bishvat, based on the verse “Man is a tree of the field.”


 

John and Mara & Co who cared for the fish over break and they are now back swimming at school and doing quite well! Mrs. Karen Mirsky for a delicious veggiefilled soup-of-the-week! HS Girls for quickly and eagerly preparing and setting up an efficient and organized Tu Bishvat Breakfast for all the classes. 7/8/9 boys for rearranging furniture to prepare for Kudan Sheva Brachos at MHDS.

7th grade is learning about the Constitution & the Bill of Rights in Mrs. Ramsay’s Social Studies class at the same time as they are learning many Jewish civil laws in Parshas Mishpatim (so many hard Rashi’s!) with Rabbi Simon in Chumash class.

BENTSCHING AUCTION Mussie (4th grader) won a watch, and Chaya (5th grade) won a jewelry kit, for great bentsching this past month, and thanks to the parents who sponsored this month’s prizes.


Middle school went to RPI today to see a 3-D printer in action and get a first-hand look at Kindergarteners had a this new technology. Thanks to Rabbi Yossi chart with 5 columns, for for the arrangements. One teacher compared it 5 food blessings. They to a field trip from his youth to go see a each cut out foods that working computer at a University. Now we fit under those categories can’t imagine homes without it! You never and paste them under know, 3-D printing may become more the appropriate blessing. affordable & common in years ahead. Pictures All breads under & student reporting in next week’s newsletter. Hamotzee, Fruit under Ha’Eitz, cookies etc. under Mezonot…


OBLIGATORY OR VOLUNTARY What’s best: when people do things because they volunteer or because they have to do it? Rabbi Yossi showed some students a Bracha Most people would say volunteering to do it is app that allows you to look up unusual foods much better, as it is a sign of interest, initiative and see what Bracha to make. Sholom above is and personal choice. But Rabbi Shmuly’s class trying his shot on at a few interesting foods. learned the story of Rav Yosef in the Talmud which shows another angle to this question.



Rabbi Yossi’s 3rd grade Chumash class finished Parshas Lech Lecha, their 3rd Parsha! They had plans to go to Glow-Golf, but it was closed for renovations, so they went bowling instead. They split up into two teams: Lech vs. Lecha! Guess what, Lecha won the first game and Lech won the second game.

PITGAM IN SIXTH GRADE 6th grade recent “Pitgam” (slogan/saying) illustrative expressive projects were on verses: “Man is a Tree of the Field” and “Knowledge filling the world as water covers the Sea”.


Goldie brought in this booklet produced by a Jewish supermarket that lists dried and fresh 7th grade science is learning about the skin: dermis (inner layer) vs. epidermis (outer layer), exotic fruit they have for sale, a Hebrew Wordfind, and other Tu Bishvat related info. the inner has nerves, the outer does not. When you clap or wipe your hands, it removes thousands of tiny dead skin cells. There are oil PAPIER-MACHE HAR-SINAI glands in your skin to moisten it and keep it Even with all the soft, and there are sweat glands to get rid of emphasis on Tu waste. Melanin is the primary determinant of Bishvat, Kindergarten skin color. The skin is actually an organ, and still learned Parsha! it’s the biggest organ of all! Let’s They had fun making realize the skin is there to protect, a papier-mâché Harand not get under each other’s skin! Sinai mountain…



at Maimonides and in the Community 1/18: SHABBOS PARSHA YISRO


We read the 10 Commandments this week!

For those ages 22-40, meet friends, enjoy dinner, and schmooze with Federation executives and representatives of partner agencies, and find out more about the Jewish community. For more info/ RSVP contact KB Goodkin 783-7800 *222 or email:

1/18: RABBI REISMAN’S CLASS is screened live 7:30pm at CBAJ on Sat Night. Rabbi Frand’s class is Thursday nights at 9pm.

1/18: PJ PIZZA & PARENT/CHILD CBAJ is hosting a Pajama Havdalah and parent/ child learning and pizza 6:30pm.


While not previously noted in the “MC” Newsletter, this weekend’s schedule is on the school calendar since the start of the year. Thursday 1/23: English AM Only until 11:30am. Friday 1/24: No School - extended weekend. Monday 1/27: 10am Start, please daven at home.

1/23-27: MAIMONIDES SCHEDULE Thursday 1/23: English AM Only until 11:30am. Friday 1/24: No School - extended weekend. Monday 1/27: 10am Start, daven at home.

Look for the 3rd Pizza Nite this season at “Nathan’s 1/26: JFED’S SUPER-SUNDAY Kitchen” by HS girls. Eat-in-Take-Out, opens at This annual phone-a-thon raises funds for 7:15pm. Proceeds benefit HS extra-curricular. Federation’s allocations to local organizations & beneficiaries (including Maimonides) as well as 1/19: DAF YOMI CHANGE & Y.U. overseas Jewish needs. MAIMONIDES PARENTS: SPEAKER AT CBAJ ON WOMEN are asked to please volunteer for one-shift as this This Sunday, Daf Yomi will be 7:15am at CBAJ supports our school! (for those who are away that instead of 9am at Shomray Torah to accommodate Sunday, we ask that to please sign up for a followthe visiting Rabbi Jeremy Wieder of YU who will up calling night). Thank you!! speak on “The role of Women in Modern Orthodoxy” 9am at CBAJ. Light breakfast served.


The current APPS “What Warms You?” (thanks to Rivka L. for the idea) about physical, spiritual or Opens to public 10:15am-5pm at Albany Academy. emotional warmth is due in the last week of Might be of interest! January and the presentation date will be Wed Jan 30th. This gives our students 5 weeks (including 1/19-20: JEWELS OF THE SEA vacation days) to work on their projects at home. Supposedly an exquisite exhibit of seashells at the The trip/activity date will be in early/mid-February. Discovery Hall, 426 2nd Street in Troy, 10am-4pm. Please don’t leave your project until last minute! Adults $5, Teens $2, under 12 is free admission. Call: 669-0043 for more info. 1/31: CBAJ SEPHARDIC SHABBAT



Sephardic themed Friday Night dinner & Shabbat morning prayers. Call 489-5819 or visit for cost, RSVP and additional info.

8pm Monday evening at Maimonides. This month’s topic is Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year for Trees, and celebration of growth, and the 2/2: DAF YOMI “YOMA” SIYUM presenter is Nechama Laber who has done so many workshops and camp activities for girls centered on AND YOM-KIPPUR WAR FILM Date/Time TBA, but look forward to a special the theme of planting, blossoming and growth. Talmud Siyum on tractate Yoma (about YomKippur), reflecting on 40 years since the Yom1/22: “JOGA” WOMENS WEEKLY Kippur War and the recent passing of General TORAH & MIND-BODY FITNESS (later PM) Ariel Sharon. Program to featuring a 1:30-2:30pm at the Maimonides School, special new film being produced at Maimonides with program for women with certified instructor Michael Caras and Rabbi Rubin, interviewing IDF Amanda Toll and an engaging introductory Torah veterans about their personal experiences in Israel’s thought, too! Gentle practice, personalized with Yom-Kippur War - 40 years since. Stay tuned! hands-on assists, Six week session fee is $36pp. Call Leah 495-0779 for more info. 2/9: CONCERT AT WOMENS SPA

1/22: CBAJ ADULT ED CLASS Rabbi Lehrfield will be speaking on “Suicide to avoid Suffering” from the lens of Jewish law. 7:45pm at CBAJ.

event will held at Shabbos House. (Please park at the nearby UAlbany Dutch Student/Gold Lot). $20pp (prepaid by Feb 5th), $25 at door, $36 sponsor and $54 patron. Advance pay online at or mail check to Ladies First, 109 Elsmere Ave, Delmar NY 12054. For info call: Leah 495-0779 or Clara: 364-8280.

3/7: JFED ENRICHMENT GRANTS The Jewish Federation’s enrichment grants for summer sleepaway camps, Israel programs etc are due on Friday March 7th. See school office for application forms or contact the Federation.

STAY WARM! and Kids, remember to work on your APPS projects, due at the end of January…

9th annual Spa for the Body and Soul! Look for an uplifting concert this year, with a dynamic young new Jewish singing sensation, in addition to the annual luncheon and healthy and rejuvenating workshops - for women by women. This year the

HOW’S YOUR PUSHKA? If your Maimonides Pushka is filling up, please call the school office 453-9363 or email: to drop it off or arrange a pickup. If you don’t have a Maimonides Pushka, please give us a call, we’d be happy to get you one for your home or office for daily Tzedakah giving.

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!”

Maimonides Community  

Attached please find this week's MC Newsletter, with lots about Tu Bishvat including the school's traditional Tu Bishvat Breakfast (see the...