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BH. Shvat

19, 5777 / Feb 15, 2017

Candle-Lighting: Community Newsletter of the Maimonides Hebrew Day School of the Capital District 5:12 404 Partridge Street Albany NY 12208 (518) 453-9363/3434 Shabbos Ends: produced by Rabbi Mendel Rubin & students in the TNT (Torah ‘n Technology) Program 6:14 Maimonides is accredited by the NYS Board of Regents & is a beneficiary of UJF-NENY



This newsletter is sponsored in honor of the recent engagement of Morah Mushky Rubin to Moishe Denburg of Coral Springs FL Wishing them much happiness always!

ENJOY THE EXTENDED WKND! No School Thursday Feb 16th thru Presidents Day Monday Feb 20th. School resumes 8am on Tuesday Feb 21st. Enjoy the big weekend!

DAF YOMI THIS WEEKEND This weekend the Daf Yomi Study Group completes the Bava Basra chapter of Lo Yachpor and begins Chezkas HaBattim. Do you remember the big tumult Maimonides made of a change in NYS property law back to Talmudic law? That’s in Chezkas HaBattim.

BELATED BELATED YET ELATED TU BISHVAT BREAKFAST The annual Tu Bishvat Breakfast tradition is always eagerly anticipated by the students at Maimonides, almost always on the morning of Tu Bishvat. This year Tu Bishvat fell on Shabbos, so it was pushed off to Monday. But Monday was a snowday! Many thought the school wouldn’t have one this year, but Rabbi Rubin and Morah Rochel were eager to keep up the tradition and we had an abridged version on Tuesday morning. There were dates & figs, apricots, raisins & almonds, even some fruit tarts, and the fruity-cereals. Rabbi Mendel and students of all ages (with help from Morah Rivi) discussed the Hebrew names for the fruits and nuts. Morah Rochel shared three stories of Choni HaMe’agel (the circle-drawer) and life lessons from each story: The way he prayed for rain and got his name, the lesson he learned from the old man planting carob, and his profound disappointment and loneliness upon his very late return to his village without friends—the need for and power of friendship!

IN MERIT OF A RECOVERY Morah Chaya Yehudis Dank donated three new books to the Esty Library in the merit of a speedy recovery for a friend: Zev ben Esther.

TU BISHVAT TRADITIONS Rabbi Rubin’s Jewish History class (already familiar with various eras of Jewish learning) traced Tu Bishvat observance back to the Mishna, through Rabbenu Gershom Meor HaGolah (first of Rishonim) down through historical geographic traditions including Calcutta and Tzfat,, he even included on the sheet the Maimonides Albany tradition of the Tu Bishvat Breakfast and fruity cereals!

MAIMONIDES 404 Partridge Street Albany NY 12208

MAGNETS & ELECTRICITY? Why two subjects in one science enrichment class? More pictures on page 2 >> Students were magnetized by magnets, and even more so by what happens when you add electrical current...

XTRA TUBISHVAT BREAKFAST The Kingston van always comes on time each morning despite coming from quite a distance. Amazing how they do it! But on Tu Bishvat morning they had a delay and couldn't make in time for the breakfast. So Morah Rochel saved the cereal, milk and dried fruit (the kids said that was MaimonidesMiddos right there). Because there was extra, Morah Rochel said other kids could have more cereal, too—so the kids felt like they had a bonus Tu Bishvat breakfast!

MORE TU BISHVAT PLANTS Kindergarten potted their sprouting plants and are excited to take them home and care for them.

FRACTIONS TEST Mrs. Maher’s 4th graders took a math test on adding and subtracting fractions. The test had fractions in formula form and also some questions in word form.

CHIDON TEST THIS WEEK Kids are relieved to have finished their 3rd Chidon test this week. Hopefully they got the desired grades to attend the Chidon Shabbaton and/or to participate in the Chidon Game Show on stage.


AND EVEN MORE PLANTS! These lima bean plants in Morah Devorah’s class are really growing beautifully! The kids are caring for them and taking much pride in how nicely they are coming along…


We’ve passed some of the most colorful Torah portions of Shmos but still have the Giving of the Torah and construction of the Mishkan and the sin of the Golden Calf ahead… Order your Book of Shmos “TheTorahTimes” now available to order on Amazon (Shmos for $18 or one joint convenient volume of Breishis PAINT, POPCORN AND YARN and Shmos for $24.99) printed and shipped to From far this looks like real flowers pasted your door. See the Amazon link at: W=HiCOW? E=W2IG? HUH? onto these plates, but look closer to find that Before their science test, Mrs. Maher taught the stems of the flowers is made of colored her 5th grade students some mnemonics (the yarn, and the budding flowers are popcorn, on Talmud uses them as well!) to aid in their a painted blue background paper plate. Morah memory of the concepts. And it helped! Rivi and her students made this 3-D Tu Bishat Weathering = Hi Cow. What does that mean? art in art class. Well, Mrs. Maher taught 5/6 that Hi Cow (with a line above the C) stands for: Heat, Ice, Cold, Oxygen, Water (and the C also stands for Carbon Dioxide). Erosion = W2IG and that stands for Wind, Water, Ice & Gravity. Here are some more pictures (this time with 2nd & 3rd graders) of learning about magnets in Science Enrichment class. Since this is a shorter week at school, no TNT reporting on it yet, hope to hear from students for next week’s MC Newsletter.

ANIMALS IN WINTER Mrs. Hoffman’s Kindergarteners made a trifold about what animals do during winter JARED K. ON A CHUMASH TEST? Was this a project about Vermont? No! Our season in cold climates: Do they hibernate, Kitah Bet finished their first Parsha, they Kindergarten students built this mountain out stay active, or migrate? Geese fly south, moose learned all of Breishit! Rabbi Rubin came in of papier-mache, one newspaper strip at a remain active and bears hibernate. They to test them on their knowledge. One time, and then painted it green and adorned it learned about other animals who fit into these question he didn’t expect them to know: with flowers as Har Sinai was adorned with three winter categories. And how they animals “Where is the name Jared in the Torah?” flowers and greenery at the time of the Giving might prepare themselves and their young for Yered (perhaps the original Jared) is one of the of the Torah—in this weeks Parsha Yisro! either of these three things. names listed between Adam and Noach.


THIRD GRADE EXCITEMENT They finished Parshas Vayiera, and another chapter of Mishna and excited about their Siyum possibilities—maybe even with hotdogs? They are also working towards a Spelling Bee and practicing their words.

BONES OF THE BODY 7/8 graders got an X-Ray chart of the body and had to identify different parts of the skeletal bone structure. Many words are in Latin which made it more challenging.

SNOWDAY SCAVENGER HUNT Monday was a snow day (determined by the Albany City School District) but without much new snow (we got a lot on Sunday). Rabbi Mendel wrote up a 29 part scavenger hunt on one sheet of paper and emailed it to families for the kids to do. When the papers came back to school (kids got chocolate, and also entered to win a book) there were some interesting answers to questions. We’re including a few here below: What’s the oldest penny you can find at home? The oldest one was from 1907! After that the oldest was 1930, and a few from the 1970’s. Amazing the life-span of a penny! Name something at home that can hold water but isn’t Kosher for Netilat Yadayim? Kids answers ranged from a table-spoon to a bathtub, a sponge to a pitcher with a spout. What gets smaller the more you use it? A pencil, an eraser, deodorant. What were the 2 things that got Yisro to come visit (Rashi at the start of Yisro): Splitting of the Sea and the War with Amalek. Fill up a cup of snow, bring it inside, put it on the table, how long until it melts to water? No one thought it would take this long, but most answers ranged between 70-100 minutes. What’s a food that spoils but improves that way? Cheese, yogurt, sour-kraut. What improves with time? Answers ranged from wine or pickles to talent and ability. What works only when you press down on it? Most said a stapler, but we also got food processor and keyboard buttons. An object at home that your great-great-grand -parents would have been very familiar with? Cutlery like forks and spoons, clocks, a Siddur, candlesticks, a Kiddush cup. Something in the kitchen that may or may not be used on Shabbos depending on it use? Many wrote oven, & various kitchen utensils. Hardest were the Siddur questions. You had to find 2 mentions of: Eyes, the Sick, our Neshoma, War or Warriors, Seasons, Animals. Amazingly some of the younger students were quite good at this section…

PURIM IS LESS THAN ONE MONTH AWAY! Look for a special “Purim Points to Ponder” video to share online that’s being produced in connection with our Science Lab & Center “360” Project, along with pre-Purim fundraiser.

PROPORTIONS IN MATH 7/8th is learning about proportions in math. Proportions are used to figure out an equal rate between two amounts. For example, if five inches on a map is equal to twenty miles, how many miles does one inch equal? To find the answer you have to put those numbers into fractions, five over twenty equals one over X. The ways to know if two fractions have an equal rate is that you multiply the top number of one by the bottom number of the other, and vice versa. So you cross multiply the two known numbers that are diagonal and then divide by the number that you didn't use yet.

GIRLS CHOIR UPDATE Morah Chaya Bracha’s choir students are moving along with their performance at the end of the year. They have chosen a story line about the story of two lost sisters, and are beginning to write the script. They have been discussing characters and songs and many other aspects of the play.


ASIDE FOR THE TEN Everyone knows the Ten Commandments but what else stands out in this week’s Parsha Yisro?


ONE MAN, ONE HEART: Torah uses the singular form to describe the encampment of the Jews at Sinai, even though they were a lot of people. Rashi says its because they were unified like one man with one heart!


BAIS YAAKOV: Hashem told Moshe to first speak to the Women, referring to them as Beit Yaakov, which is why it became a popular name for Girls Schools. It’s the source of the expression: Ladies First!


ON THE WINGS OF EAGLES: When Israel flew airplanes to bring the Jews of Yemen to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet, the Jews there (who lived in remote areas and had never seen such technology) saw it as a fulfillment of the verse: “On the wings of eagles, I will bring you to me…”


SAW THE THUNDER: Hey, we HEAR thunder, not SEE it. Good question! Interpreting this verse is an argument between Rabbi Yishmael and Rabbi Akiva, and the Rebbe’s insight into the life relevance of this argument is one of the things that inspired Rabbi Rubin to be SO interested into the lives and personalities of the Rabbis of the Mishna.


DON’T GO WITH STEPS TO THE ALTAR: This verse is why the Altar has a ramp. But the word steps “Maalot” can also mean advantages or personal strengths. It teaches us to approach G-d with humility.

It was on the snowday this year! Pat Fahy (R) asked about our girls who usually come. David A VERY SHORT WEEK, YET MC! Weprin (L) recalled his days at Shabbos House Snow day on Monday, school’s out on Thurs and Friday, yet we BH have MC Newsletter! he now has 5 grandchildren!

at Maimonides and in the Community 2/15: AIPAC: ISRAEL & MIDEAST

program run by 7/8 grade boys, girls program run 7pm at Beth Emeth. Local synagogues join to hear by the HS Girls. $2 suggested to cover costs. Jonathan Kessler, AIPAC director of Strategic Initiatives speak on current issues facing Israel and 2/24: READ TO SUCCEED the Middle East. RSVP/more info, contact Jordana Bring in a log of your child reading 6+ hours of Samot: 646-360-1532/ pleasure reading for him/her to get a free ticket to Great Escape. Must be in the office by this date. More questions: Speak to Morah Dini. 2/16-20: FEB BREAK UPDATE As on the original school calendar, there will be no 2/24: J-FED SUMMER SCHOLARSHIP school Thursday 2/16 thru Monday Feb 20th. School resumes Tuesday, the 21st at 8am. Applications for significant Federation scholarships for sleep-away camp are due by this date. Forms are 2/17: MARBLE RUN IN CASTLETON available from Federation or at the school office. The Castleton-on-Hudson Public Library (20-25 minutes south of Albany) in a classic old Victorian 2/25: PIZZA NITE IV, LAST ONE! building at 85 South Main Street offers kids a The clock changes in March, so this Pizza Nite will chance to build mazes for marbles to run through, be the last Sat Night Pizza Nite at Maimonides for on Friday afternoon starting 1pm. the year! 7:30pm start. Come and enjoy!



This week we read about the Giving of the Torah.

Mushky’s Chassan, Moishe Denburg of FL will be in Albany for a communal meet and greet at Shabbos House, Sunday 1-3pm (note new time to 2/19: GEM & MINERAL SHOW accommodate the rescheduled Kids Challah Bake). Annual event with vendors, craftsmen & experts on the 4th floor of the NYS Museum. Admission is All welcome! $5 (cash only) per adult, kids 12 & under are free. 2/26: MEGA KIDS CHALLAH BAKE There’s also a kid-friendly Gem, Fossil & Mineral show downstairs in the museum between 12-3pm. Rescheduled because of the snow: Several orgs are making this exciting hands-on Kids Mega Challah Bake experience for kids ages 5-13. Sunday, 2/19: WORLD PERCUSSION February 12th, 2:30-4:30 at the Albany JCC. 2pm in the NYS Museum’s Clark Auditorium, Randy Armstrong plays 25 (!) percussion instruments from all over the world.

Children should be accompanied by an adult. No Charge. Please RSVP by Tuesday, February 7. RSVP: 439-3310.

3/3: UALBANY’S SHABBAT 360 Rescheduled date for #ualbanyShabbat360 cosponsored by Hillel, Shabbos House, Lchaim, Aish and other campus orgs, it’s the largest unified Shabbat dinner of the year, this year to be held in the CNSE Nanotech Zen Building. This event is open to students from nearby campuses as well. See online at for some cute reasons for the NanoZEN Shabbos connection.

3/5: J-FED ON TERROR FUNDING A Joint Society Federation event open to the community features Avi Jorisch, President of Red Cell IG, an expert on terrorism and illicit finance. $30pp, $20pp (ages 22-40), $40pp after Friday 3/5. 7pm at Agudat Achim in Schenectady. Register online at

3/24-25: REGIONAL SHABBATON Chabad on Campus Regional Shabbaton to be hosted at Shabbos House.

2/20: NATIONAL FREE PARK DAY 100th year of the Park Service, all national parks have free admission this Presidents Day, including Martin Van Buren’s Lindenwald home in nearby Kinderhook and FDR’s Home and Library Museum further south down in Hyde Park.

2/20: FREE ALBANY INSTITUTE Free admission for Presidents Day at the Albany Institute for History & Art, 10am-5pm. There’s a drop-in studio art project for kids based on the artwork of Jacob Lawrence.

Rescheduled Snow Date 2/26

2/20: ALBANY DEVILS HOME GAME 1pm at the Times Union Center. Call or check online for tickets and pricing. Rumor has it that the Devils hockey team may be moving south-west to Binghamton (after many years in Albany) so this may be one of the last opportunities here.

2/23: BOYS & GIRLS MISHMAR 3pm-3:45pm at school. For grades 3+. Boys

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  

Dear community friends, It's mid-week but school is over for the week. Only two days of school between Monday's snowday and the extended we...

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