Maimonides Salutes the Class of 2012
Mazal Tov to Our Graduates
|Lia Hanit Almekies
Benjamin Mark Berg
Jacob Harris Blitstein
Aaron Joseph Brandt
Anna Ziporah Davis
Yakov Reuven Ellenbogen
Talia Shoshana Arielle Epstein
Ezra William Etzel
Sara Nehama Flesh
Joshua Samuel Fried
Yonina Golda Frim
Jacob Aaron Frisch
Hanah Miriam Chaya Geller
Jamie Daniel Goldstein
Ari Morris Green
|Rinatte Lara Gruen
Rachel Esther Heerter
Eitan Elie Kahn
Avichai Natanel Kapach
Benjamin Haim Katz
Yeshaya Dov Ber Lazaros
Adin Mordechai Liss
Laivi Shmuel Malamut-Salvaggio
Jonathan Jacob Michaelson
Gabriela Raquel Mizrahi-Arnaud
Tess Sophia Niewood
Yoni Shimon Ezra Nouriel
Menachum Yichezkel Polack
Yoel Dovid Polack
Yael Seven Pomper
|Daneal Ezra Portman
Sarah Jane Ricklan
Deena Victoria Rosenblatt
Elliot Moshe Salinger
Miriam Yonina Segal
Penina Ephrat Seigel
Jessica Esther Shrayber
Pauline Rochelle Simkovitz
Elisheva Miriam Spellman
Avinoam Joseph Stillman
Yair Menachem Strachman
Zackary Taylor Strunin
Eliezer Aryeh Sundel
Hannah Sophie Vester
Members of the Class of 2012 and their families gathered recently for a Maimonides pre-graduation tradition, Senior Recognition Night. This special evening offers administrators and faculty an opportunity to address and celebrate the class -- individually and as a cohort -- in a warm and personal manner.
Grade Dean Mr. Chris Dore of the Upper School faculty kicked off the evening with his own "dvar Torah."
"I will be unable to aptly quote the Mishna or Rambam, so I will have to suffice with my own source of inspiration: Matt the bus driver," he said. Mr. Dore explained that the driver during the recent class trip to Montreal had approached him and said that "'these kids are amazing and it seemed that wherever the kids went...they were held in high regard....they're polite, clean and thoughtful.' He ended by telling me you can just tell when kids are brought up right."
Following his remarks, Mr. Dore addressed each student with a personal reflection and included accolades from his/her peers resulting in a verbal "snapshot" of each graduate.
Upper School faculty member Mr. Refael Fadlon, also Grade 12 Dean, began his remarks by saying "My beloved students, when I'm standing here tonight and looking at you, my heart fills with joy and pride.....Dear parents, what you need to know is that tonight I feel that I'm standing here not just as a teacher, but as a proud parent of 50 of my kids." He continued by explaining why he loved these students so much. His list stated that the students were polite, welcoming, inclusive and respectful. Mr. Fadlon noted how his students always thanked him for his help and advice.
Mr. Fadlon also had four requests for the students. He asked them to stay loyal to their Jewish identity. His list also included "never stop improving your Hebrew" and "be passionate about Israel and never stop advocating for it." For his final request Mr. Fadlon asked the students to stay in touch with him. "I will always be happy to see you," he noted.
His final comment: "Class of 2012, I love you. I absolutely love you because you simply make me happy. So tonight I think it is my turn to thank you. Class of 2012, Thank You."
Maimonides Commencement: A Beginning and an Ending
The co-valedictorians of Maimonides School's graduating class lauded their alma mater and their classmates, as 50 seniors joined the ranks of the alumni at the school's 60th commencement Sunday morning. Hundreds of parents, relatives, teachers and friends filled Judge J. John Fox Gymnasium for the culmination of the academic year.
Hebrew address describes closeness of class
Sarah described the mixed emotions inherent in commencement day, detailing all of the experiences that she will miss, from caring teachers to the closely-knit senior class. But at the same time, the school has prepared its graduates for life. Maimonides, her translated remarks said, "has empowered me to live in both the secular and the religious world as the Rav envisioned."
In addition, "Maimonides has given me a sense of morality. I have a strong sense of values, a kind of instinct about wrong and right... I am equipped with a discerning way of thinking that will guide me..."
"We cannot fully leave this place, because Maimonides is a family, and we can't just break away from our family," her translation read. "We are not closing any doors today as we open the new ones. That is one of the gifts Maimonides School has given us. We have the master key to every door in the world."
Rav's insights noted in English valedictory
Elliot told the assembly that "The Modern Orthodox, Torah U'Madda education at Maimonides has taught us how to engage with our traditions in an intellectually and religiously meaningful way, how to live by them, and how to pass them on to the next generation."
The school, he said, has "imbued within us a holistic sense as to how to lead our lives as committed, halachically observant Jews who are simultaneously engaged with the broader world. The importance of both the nitty-gritty concrete and the more amorphous abstract within Jewish living is a hallmark of the Maimonides education."
He cited a 1976 lecture by Rabbi Dr. Joseph Soloveitchik examining Judaism's perspective on the individual the community, and the relationship between them. There are aspects that are relevant to the Class of 2012, he said. They include:
--"Rav Soloveitchik remarked that originality and creativity are functions of individuality. Our grade comprises individuals who have accomplished incredible feats." There are unique individual qualities to the class, he added, and "our grade minus one individual would not be the same."
--The class is a "prayer community," not only by "placing a high value on tefilla" but also by "consistently coming together to support its members undergoing difficulties." Also, "Our grade has created a supportive network that is ready to help others, whether or not they are members of our community."
--"The Class of 2012 similarly constitutes a teaching community," Elliot said. Seniors have "studied our heritage and our religion. During our time at Maimonides, we have accepted our role as bearers of the "living Mesorah."
Following the valedictories, Annie Davis, Yonina Frim and Avinoam Stillman, all honored for academic achievement, read excerpts from the works of the Rambam in Hebrew and English translation.
Principals inspire Class of 2012
In his opening remarks, Rabbi Yaakov Jaffe, principal for Judaic studies, referred to a Talmudic principle that also has been explored in modern psychology -- the inability to concentrate on simultaneous sounds. The need for "selective attention" has practical implications for the class, Rabbi Jaffe said.
"Judaism is constantly engaged in a mutually uplifting dialogue with the entirety of secular knowledge," Rabbi Jaffe said. As college students, "it is our belief that you will ask yourself at every juncture, 'What does my faith have to say about what I just learned'?"
Today's society is marked by a "confusion and cacophony of many different sounds," Rabbi Jaffe continued. The key to making sense of it all is "you find a voice and a vision that has meaning and values that you have learned, to pick out ideas from among the dissonance."
Diplomas were conferred by the co-chairs of the Board of Trustees, Beth and Marc Epstein, parents of five graduates, including Talia of the Class of 2012. The Epsteins implored parents of graduates to remain connected to the school.
Judy Boroschek, principal for general studies, followed the presentation of diplomas by complimenting the seniors for their individual strengths, and for their support for each other. "Do not confuse who you are today with what you will become," she said. "What is guaranteed is a world of constant change and complexity."