Monthly Dateline Newsletter                                                                                                October 2016
Columbus Torah Academy Monthly Dateline
Message from Head of School
by Rabbi Avrohom Drandoff

In this week's Torah portion, Vayeilech, the possuk states "And now write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel". 
In Tractate Nedarim, the Talmud informs us that the words "this song" in the verse alludes to the commandment that every Jewish person is required to write their own sefer Torah.  The Gemara in Sanhedrin takes this commandment further and says that one is obligated to write a sefer Torah even if they have already inherited one from their parents.  The question is, why is it necessary for one to write their own sefer Torah if they already own one?  What is the purpose of having another Torah written?
Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen offers from the Ktav Sofer an extremely important and powerful answer to this question.  The requirement for every Jew to write their own Torah demonstrates that it is not enough to simply observe the Mitzvot of the Torah through actions that mimic the behaviors of our parents.  Instead, each one of us, needs to develop our own unique relationship with G-d, while we commit ourselves to the exact Torah that has been transmitted since Har Sinai.  The Torah is commanding us to write the exact same Torah that our parents have, however, we need to infuse our practice of Mitzvot with our own unique personality and developed talents.           
We learn from this commandment that it is critical, when educating children to provide them with room to develop themselves and increase their self awareness.  Our goal is not to raise robotic Jews who practice Judaism by rote, devoid of passion and personal thought.  CTA, in partnership with parents and families, must offer our children a framework of Torah and tradition while giving them the tools to further their knowledge and understanding of Mitzvot so they can develop their own personal relationship with G-d built on their individuality.  That is our purpose.
I wish you all a Shana Tova U'Metuka v Gemar Chatima Tova.  May we all be inscribed for a successful and healthy new year.
Boarding Families: A Special Commitment to CTA

CTA is the only Jewish High School in central Ohio.  To that end, CTA is also a destination for area Ohio students who are looking for a Jewish day school education that is strong in Jewish Studies and in General Studies - Columbus Torah Academy offers that.  We have 5 high school students this year that board at area host homes and are from the Cincinnati area.  These students add to our student body and classroom environment as well as the high school social scene at CTA.  Pictured are Britain Pilott (12th), Solomon Weller (11th), David Benzaquen (9th), Noah Ziv (12th) and Yonatan Chriqui (11th).
It takes a very special family who is able to graciously open their home and welcome a student into their family in order for them to have the opportunity to attend CTA.  We thank the following families who have done just that:  Michele Cassell, Stacy Leeman and Gary Liebesman, Edith and John Frank, Jeff and Tobi Siegel.  The responsibility of being a host family coupled with the responsibility of being a boarder is a unique relationship.
In the past three years, under the leadership of Eliza Delman, CTA has worked hard to developBoarding Guidelines and to work with potential boarding students to accept the responsibilities that go along with it.
When the Leeman/Liebesman family decided to become a host family, they realized they needed an extra bedroom.  Their boys were only too happy to welcome their new "brother" and to share their room with each other so the boarder could have his own room.  Pictured are Yonah (3rd), David (9th) and Yaakov (7th).
News from Upper School Judaic Studies Department
Rabbi Zecharia Weitz, US Judaic Studies Coordinator

Technology is only a tool, not a goal in quality education. Having said that, there is a lot of really cool stuff we can bring to our classrooms that was not possible not so long ago. With the addition of new technology in the Upper School over the past couple of years, many classes in our Judaic Studies Department are utilizing a Blended Learning model: Students learn a portion of the lesson live with their Rebbe or Morah while the other component is learned or reviewed through the use of technology.
The advantage to this approach is that it empowers each student with control over the time, pace and method of learning without compromising on the teacher-student relationship. In fact, the addition of technology has enabled us to significantly increase our 1-to-1 and small group learning time with our students.

Here are some of the technological tools you might see or hear about our Upper School Judaic Studies' classes participating in:  
  • VoiceThread: a fabulous program that we've used in the past with, thank G-d, much success. Through the VoiceThread website, teachers and students record themselves reading and translating the same text. Students are able to listen to teachers for review and, equally important, teachers listen to their students to regularly monitor their progress in reading and comprehension.
  • Blendspace: an interactive teaching tool that allows students to stay on task and remain organized and structured through a fun educational online resource. Rabbi Savage uses Blendspace to host handouts, websites and resources. The organizational structure of Blendpsace allows him to place resources in the order they will be presented during a class and a description of how each Blendspace "tile" should be utilized.  Rabbi Savage also uses Blendspace to create quizzes, assessments, videos and review tools.
  • Quizlet: an interactive review website that students utilize both in class and at home. A new function called "QuizletLive" enables students to review through interactive games that get as competitive as gym class.  
  • Kahoot! is an interactive review website as well. Their slogan "Making Learning Awesome" cannot be more accurate. We are considering soundproofing our classrooms in order to continue using this. 
G-d willing, with the help of these powerful tools, we hope to increase the level of Torah love and literacy in our students. 
News from Lower School Judaic Studies Department
Dror Karavani, LS Judaic Studies Coordinator

Chodesh Elul is a whole month dedicated to preparing for Rosh Hashanah.  Our students have been very busy getting ready for that special day.  In addition to intensive learning about the holiday in their workbooks, the students brought home many other projects (and delicious Challah) to share with you during the chag. I would also like to highlight some other recent activities.
Why do some people have two sets of tefillin?
One of the traditions to prepare for the High Holidays is to check tefillin and mezzuzot. We had the pleasure to interact with Rabbi William Goldberg, who is a Sofer Sta'am, to show and teach us about making as well checking these items. He brought with him an amazing collection of parchments, mezzuzot  and samples showing each step in making tefillin.  The students learned a lot and enjoyed the hands-on activity.
Can we blow a shofar made from the horn of Oryx? 
Rabbi Levi Andrusier returned for his annual visit with our children sharing and talking about theshofar.  He explained what makes a shofar kosher, which types of shofar we should use for Rosh Hashanah and many other details. His talk was accompanied by his exhibit of a large variety of different kinds of shofrot. The students even had the opportunity to "try-on" the horns on their heads.
The Art of Tzedakah
As tzedakah is one of the main themes of the High Holidays, in addition to encouraging the students to be aware of the needs of others by bringing their daily tzedakah to the classroom, we had a contest to design new tzedakah box covers.  The designs were expected to appropriately reflect both the ways and importance of giving tzedakah.  The judges for the best designs will be our friends in Kfar Saba.
Last Friday, just before Rosh Hashanah, the students enjoyed the tastes of the simanim(pomegranate, apple, honey, etc).  Don't forget to ask them about the meaning of those holiday symbols.
I would like to wish a Shanah Tovah, a sweet new year and Chatimah Tova.
News From the Hebrew Department

Shirly Benatar, 
Hebrew Department Chair
The Hebrew Department has been renewed this school year and my heart is warmed to be welcomed into the CTA family again as a faculty member.  We also welcomed new faculty members Inbal Hazut, and educator Sh'lichim Ester and Mordechai Bar Asher. All three are experienced teachers from Israel and bring enthusiasm as well as new and fresh ideas to CTA. They join experienced Hebrew staff Irit Karavani, Dror Karavani, Betty Goldish, Malca Makias, Eva Chaykin, and Diana Wolf.  It is a pleasure to work with this entire team!
At the very beginning of the year, in addition to regular
HebrewLanguage lessons, the Hebrew Department coordinated a project in each division. In the Lower School, students in grades K-6 answered the question, "What do I wish for myself in the new school year?" Our students wrote their answers in Hebrew on leaves and flowers and posted them to our Etz Mishalot - Wishing Tree, in the main hallway.

In the Upper School we worked on connections and each student answered the question "what is my connection to Israel" and connected their Hebrew answers to each other.  Their expressions can be found beautifully displayed on the Upper School bulletin board. Both these projects were also featured in the World Zionist Organization's newsletter!
Now our classroom themes are focused on a 'hive of desires'
for a "Motek Shel Shanah"- a sweet year. You are invited to view these projects in the school as well as see pictures of them here.
As I noted earlier, the renewed Hebrew department with fresh eyes, experiences, and ideas is focused on strengthening and growing a Hebrew Language program at CTA which teaches useful, usable language emphasizing basic grammatical concepts at a deep level using a variety of instructional tools. Through significant research and beneficial consultations with other profe ssionals in the field, our team has set goals for the start of the year:   READ MORE

Kindergarten Open House

Help grow our school by adding the upcoming Kindergarten Open House for prospective parents to your radar.  This event is for parents whose children will be ready for Kindergarten in Fall 2016.  Open House will be held on Wednesday evening, November 16, at 7:00 pm or Thursday morning, November 17, at 9:30 am and will offer interested parents an opportunity to hear about the curriculum, meet teachers and administrators and visit classrooms.  When a prospective family visits CTA, they are able to experience the learning that our students are privileged to be a part of everyday, but they are also able to feel the warmth of our school community.  If you know someone who should come to Open House, plan to bring them or invite them.  Make sure that Shari knows to put them on her list.  Interested in helping make calls for Open House?  Let Shari know.
School Psychologist

Columbus Torah Academy is pleased to welcome, Carina Turner, School Psychologist to our school.  Turner is a licensed School Psychologist contracted through Columbus City Schools.  She is at CTA weekly and is available as a resource to teachers for student evaluations, when needed.  She is also available for informal topical group discussions about things like test anxiety, coping with a new sibling, etc.  We welcome her to our staff.
Around Campus - Visitors

Pictured is celebrity Chef, Michael Solomonov, who hails from our partnership city, Kfar Saba, and is now a chef in Philadelphia. His brother was killed on Yom Kippur while serving in the Israeli army, and is memorialized through the CTA Remember 2Gether program for 9th and 10th grade students.
Pictured is Rabbi Kenneth Brander, Vice President of University and Community Life at Yeshiva University, interacting with High School students during a recent visit to Columbus.

Pictured is Rabbi David Claman from Congregation Ahavas Sholom, who spoke to students in preparation of Rosh Hashanah.

Josh Wolf Endowment

CTA Alumnus, Josh Wolf (Class of 2016), recently established the Josh Wolf Fund at the Columbus Jewish Foundation which will provide a new scholarship award that will be presented annually at the End of Year Assembly to a deserving Upper School student.  The award, named the Josh Wolf Award for Perseverance and Positivity, will be awarded to a student who shows tenacity to achieve expectations and not give up, shows positivity, friendliness, and respect toward others, and acts with grace in the face of adversity, all coping with challenges and obstacles.  The award will carry a scholarship amount to the recipient.  Josh was the winner of the Deborah and Philip Millen Scholarship Award in 2016 that is awarded to a deserving student who manifest wide-ranging intellectual curiosity, diligence and devotion to his or her studies and sensitivity of character, empathy and kindness towards others.  He is currently a freshman at Otterbein University.
September Middot Champions

Students in grades K-6 who have exemplified good middot were celebrated for their excellence in achieving in the areas of Kavod (Respect), Emet (Truth), Savlanut (Patience) and Chaverot (Friendship).  Their pictures will hang on the wall each month.  Be sure to mention that you saw their picture.  Positive reinforcement for good behavior!  *First Grade picture not available at press time.

Second Grade
Third Grade

Fourth Grade
Fifth Grade
Sixth Grade

Seniors Get Ready for a Busy Fall

With the onslaught of school and the holidays, the 12th graders are embarking on a busy yet excitingtime getting ready for their next chapter.  Mrs. Delman's 12th grade college for parents and students in early September gave them the beginning tools to apply to college and make plans for after high school.  Pictured are a few twelfth graders spending some earned free time during study hall to enjoy each other's company. It's college application season. Seniors are busy updating their college lists, trying to fit in one more standardized test administration, working on application essays, asking for recommendations and imagining life after high school. According to Mrs. Delman, talking to seniors about their plans and choices is the highlight of her job. She finds that witnessing their growth and maturity is rewarding and gratifying.  Pictured is Shayna H., Gabby S., Ioni W.
Scholastic Book Fair
Save the Date for CTA's Fall Book Fair which will be held in school from Nov. 7 -11!  The Book F air is a great way to share a love of reading with your children.  Proceeds  benefit our library selection.  Build your home library and give children the gifts of great stories, adventure, mystery, information, and confidence found in reading!  Online shopping is also available from October 27 - November 14 at our homepage

Grown Up Night Out

What a great night out for CTA parents, faculty, alumni and alumni parents coming together to enjoy an evening to celebrate our friend, parent Stacy Leeman at her recent gallery showing of visual works at the Sharon Weiss Gallery in the Short North.  Great catching up with new and old friends!
Submitted by Tamalynn Lerner, STEM educator

Wow! We have lots happening in STEM! The 2nd graders designed, built and tested model umbrellas. these umbrellas were designed to protect Lewis and Clarke (the STEM Guinea pig stuffed animal mascots) from sudden precipitation. Each design team constructed functional umbrellas from wax paper, tin foil, 12x12 inch squares of plastic, craft sticks, straws, paper tubes, constuction paper, and copious amounts of masking tape. We tested the designs by placing Lewis and Clark under th umbrellas and misting the umbrellas with a spray bottle. EVERY design worked! Lewis and Clark were protected form the rain!
The 3rd graders created superhero characters that have powers of chemical or physical weathering or erosion. they designed super suits for these characters. The super suits show the powers of each super hero. They also wrote origin stories for these characters to explain how each character got their powers and how they use the powers of physical or chemical weathering or erosion to change the earth.
Fourth grade has 2 big projects - one for STEM and one for social studies. In STEM, they researched sundials, made design plans to construct a sundial, and are building sundials. These design are AMAZING! They all chose different materials and added creative touches We will test these designs next week. Please come to see them and take pictures!  READ MORE
Art Update: Portrait-Palooza!
 Submitted by CTA Art Teacher, Amy Neiwirth

Lower School students have spent the past few weeks exploring all about portrait and self-portrait art. They discovered what makes a portrait realistic or abstract, how a portrait or self-portrait can communicate something about the person depicted int he art, and why artists might choose to create a self-portrait.
Here is what students have worked on during the month of September:
Kindergarteners learned about Pablo Picasso's Cubist portraits and created their own collage art showing mixed-up faces.
The First Grade created self-portrait collages using cut paper and all kinds of embellishments. Students had so much fun using mirrors to notice the details in their faces!
Second Graders also used mirrors to examine their facial features and create some drawings - then they used cardboard, paint, yarn and more to create self-portrait masks! Students not only considered why artists create self-portraits, they brainstormed ideas of why people around the world make masks as well!  READ MORE FOR 3rd -6th!

Junior High Volleyball Lemonade Yields Bows

Way to go Jr. High Volleyball Girls on your recent lemonade stand.  Proceeds went to purchase matching spirit ribbons for their hair.  Go Lions!  Speaking of school spirit, ask Upper School teacher, Mr. Tim Pray about his spiritwear.

Yarok Together and CTA To Compete in Nationwide
Recycling Competition - Recycle Bowl

Students, get your recyclables ready! We're thrilled to announce Columbus Torah Academy will compete in National Nonprofit Keep America Beautiful's Recycle-Bowl, a national K-12 recycling competition which begins on Oct. 17 and culminates on Nov. 15, which is America Recycles Day. During the four-week competition, students will learn the ins and outs of recycling properly by trying to reduce, reuse and recycle paper products.  This is the first step to becoming a green school of the 21st century!
With the help of the STEM classes, the Yarok Together group (combined CTA and CJDS) will trackand report how much material is collected throughout the weeks of the competition. The amount of materials combined between the two schools together will be compared to the numbers reported from other K-12 schools across Ohio as well as the entire country. Participating schools have a chance to win prizes and national recognition.  READ MORE

Scrip Available in the Front Office
 Remaining Scrip at CTA

Please see Lesa at the Front Desk as we liquidate a limited supply of gift cards for the following stores (and their denominations):  Gap/Old Navy ($25), GFS ($25), JC Penney ($25), Land's End ($25 and $100), Lowe's ($25), ($25).  Purchasing these cards at face value earns money for CTA and will make shopping easier for you.
Tech Update - September 2016

Upper and Lower School mathematics teachers are using online textbook resources in class to help differentiate their lessons and allow students to set their own pace for learning material.
In Ms. Rahav's 3rd grade class, students have been working on their math skills with the Personal Math Trainer, an adaptive learning tool. The app, aligned with the textbook content, assesses student performance on assigned tasks, and determines whether an individual student will receive a computer generated enrichment or intervention activity as a follow-up lesson. The data collected from each student allows the teacher to quickly determine whether students have mastered a common core standard or need additional time to learn specific concepts.
Dr. Park's and Mr. Kramer's 7th and 8th grade math students are working on online assessments, as well as online lessons, in the classroom.  Student work is tracked by the app and provides teachers with useful data and graphics on student learning and comprehension of math concepts.
All math students in K -8th grade can access these online tools at home or at school, from any device, including cell phones. The link for K-6th grade is at  Think Central, and for 7th and 8th grade at  Myhrw. Students can login using their personal username and password.  There are many interesting and fun activities to choose from that allow students to improve their math skills wherever and whenever they choose.
Tzedakah Box Turn In
tzedakah box
If you have a CTA Tzedakah Box, don't forget to fill it and empty it often.  You can choose to send in a check with the amount of the contents or put the change and cash into an envelope or baggie and send in with your child.  Amounts are counted towards your Give and Get and are a great addition to the donations the school receives.  If you need a new or more Tzedakah boxes, contact Shari.
Snap Receipts and Help CTA Earn $$$
How to do it:  1)  Download the Shoparoo App.  2)  Snap a photo of a receipt from a store you made a purchase at and CTA earns points that are converted to $$$.  Best fun is that your points are posted and you can see who the leaders helping CTA earn money are.  Imagine how much money we could earn if you participated?  For more information or to help out, contact Shari and she can walk you though it.

GREAT EFFORT THIS PAST MONTH TO THE LEADERBOARD:  Vernikoff, Metz, Herszage, Cooper, Klynn, Whitmyre, Reitman, Katz and more families

Kroger Rewards Re-Enrollment
Click  Here  to enroll or re-enroll your Kroger Rewards Card.  ALL card links to Columbus Torah
Academy expired on April 1.  
Re-enrollment does not happen automatically.  The rewards program terminates every April and you need to restart it using your card number, email address and password.  If you have trouble, call directly to Kroger Customer Service at  1-866-221-4141   and they can help you over the phone.
Unless you renew your connection to CTA, the school will not receive any benefits from your purchases.
If you have not enrolled your Kroger Rewards Card in the Community Rewards Program, please do so today.  CTA earns thousands of $$$ per year through your purchases.  To enroll for the first time, please take five minutes & go to: . Select "community"; then "Kroger Community Rewards"; log in; (remember to find AND select Columbus Torah Academy) & save.   
If you have any questions or want help, contact Shari Herszage.   Due to privacy laws, Kroger does not provide detailed information of your purchases.  You need to privately send details to  to receive Give & Get credit for your Kroger purchases.

Condolences To:
Galit and Alex Benzaquen and Family on the loss of her grandmother and David's great grandmother

Saul Laub on the loss of his wife, Muriel

The family of Julie Moskowitz, longtime Upper School English and Social Studies teacher.  She was teacher in the first high school class in 1991.

The family of Leah Salis, Judaic Studies teacher
Thank You To:
The following people for their help with the Rosh Hashanah Holiday Treats:  Sara Libby Epstein,
Robin Garvin, Shulamit Ginsburg, Florentina Hent, Chuck Kopp, Rick Moritz, Marc Schechter, Levana Slabodnick, Karan Tanenbaum and Norma Whitmyre.
Mazel Tov To:
Barry and Debbie (Vinar) (Class of '00) Hellman on the birth of a baby boy and to grandparents, Marvin and Barbara Vinar

Rabbi Ilan and Rebecca Schwartz on the birth of a baby boy

Elana and Dr. Joel Katz on the birth of a baby girl

Rabbi Jon and Leah Savage on the birth of a baby boy and to grandparents, Dr. Al and Shelly Dembe

Dr. Rochel and Rabbi Henoch Millen on the engagement of their grandson, Yakov Millen of Chicago, to Chava Miriam Lensky of Milwaukee

Sonia Modes Schottenstein on being named the honoree of the Israel Bonds Special Briefing Event

Rabbi Yaakov and Efrat Greenfield on the birth of a baby girl
Community and School Events

School Links for Parents (

Oct. 27- Nov. 14:  Online Bookfair
Nov. 7-11:  CTA Book Fair (Open Conference Day)
Dec. 4:  CTA Scholarship Dinner at CTA, 5:30 pm

For questions about any of these programs,  contact to be directed to the correct coordinator.
Shabbat Candlelighting Times for October

October 2, 6:50 pm
October 7, 6:44 pm
October 11, 6:38 pm
October 14, 6:33 pm
October 16, 6:31 pm
October 21, 6:23 pm
October 23, 6:20 pm
October 28, 6:14 pm
November 4, 6:06 pm
It has been a time-honored Jewish tradition to give tzedakah in recognition of important events. Todah Rabah to the following for their donation:

To the Annual Giving Fund:
Israel Bonds in honor of Sonia Modes Schottenstein

Yitzchak Gold in memory of sister, Sonia G. Fesman, A"H

Rabbi Ilan and Rebecca Schwartz in honor of the new Katz baby to Dr. Joel and Elana, and in honor of the new Savage baby to Rabbi Jon & Leah

Gary and Carol Hurand in honor of the good works of Rabbi Benjamin Berger with their appreciation

Gary Liebesman and Stacy Leeman in memory of Rochelle Millen's brother, Jacob Landesman

Israel Bonds in honor of Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein for their hospitality to host Israel Bonds' event

Blanche Young in memory of Pearson and Thea Press

Bob and Patti Wolf, Josh and Rachel in honor of the birth of a son to Rabbi Jon and Leah Savage

Abigail Rosen in deep appreciation, hakaras hatov to her parents, Alex and Susan Rosen

Gary Liebesman and Stacy Leeman in memory of Jodi Margolies
To the Endowment Fund:
Josh Wolf to establish an award for Upper School students

Give & Get Info
More info can be found at here
Tribute Donation:   Contact Lesa, Shari or submit donation on line at for all in honor, in memory or milestone tributes to family and friends.

Kroger Rewards Card:   Go to and register your rewards card.  Kroger will donate up to 1% of your purchases from Kroger or Turkey Hill stores.
OFFICE MAX:  Max Perks card number is:  207285005

Target RED Card:   Go to to manage your red card and enroll your card in the Take Charge of Education program to choose CTA.  Target will donate up to 1% of your REDcard purchases at Target stores in the U.S and at

Amazon Smile:
  Go to and register to benefit CTA.  When you make a purchase, CTA will receive 1% of that purchase as a donation to our school. 

iGive:   Register with iGive at and your Amazon purchases and online purchases at close to 1500 retailers will give a kickback to CTA.  To date we have raised over $1000. 

Apples for Students at Giant Eagle:  Go to to register for their donation program.  You will need your Giant Eagle Advantage Card number and the CTA School Code which is #4389.

Magazine Sales Help the 8th graders year round when you purchase magazines at using their code # 2522449.

Shoparoo Download the app to your smartphone and start earning points by snapping pictures of your receipts.

Do you use a smartphone?  Do you ever go to the store and buy anything?  These are the two things you need in order to help CTA earn money through Shoparoo.  There is no cost to you.  Snap a photo of a receipt from a store you made a purchase at and CTA earns points that are converted to $$$.  Best fun is that your points are posted and you can see who the leaders helping CTA earn money are.  To date, there are 27 supporters and some are very active.   Last year we earned $112.  We are on target this year to earn three times that. Imagine how much money we could earn if you participated?  For more information or to help out, contact Shari and she can walk you though it.
Columbus Torah Academy | 181 Noe Bixby Road | Columbus, OH 43213 
614-864-0299 |