This weekly publication is emailed to all of our subscribers. The newsletter recaps the week's events at the Torah Academy and informs readers of upcoming programs and events. A printed copy is sent home on Fridays to each TA family.Happy reading and have a Good Shabbas! 


Candle Lighting 6:56 pm
27 Elul, 5775 /September 11, 2015

This week's Kol Torah has been generously sponsored by:
Torah Academy Administration

Wishing everyone a Shana Tova!
If you would like to sponsor an issue of Kol Torah in honor or in memory of a loved one contact Stuart Gasner at 




Monday- Tuesday, September 14-15: Rosh Hashanah- no school

Wednesday, September 16: Tzom Gedalyah- 1:45 Dismissal - no busing

Tuesday - Wednesday, September 22-23: Yom Kippur - no school




To Rabbi Matthew and Elyssa Faigen on the birth of a baby boy!

In an essay in for the National Association of Independent Schools, Todd Nelson wrote:

An experienced and wise school head once exclaimed to his teachers during a faculty meeting: "I wish we could put a sign out front of the building saying 'Only a School."

Intended as humor, his lament nonetheless contained an ironic truth. Any group of teachers can sympathize with this exasperation at the web of pressures teachers feel to play roles other than educator. Add to these pressures our society's condescension towards the teaching profession. Even great teachers catch themselves occasionally thinking, "I'm only a teacher."

The work of teachers needs constant defending. Whether in their third or 33rd year of teaching, they have experienced the pressure to play several or all of the following roles simultaneously: curriculum expert, scholar, psychologist, disciplinarian, traffic cop, marriage counselor, lawyer, minister or priest, mother, father; coach, offensive and defensive coordinator; referee; judge and jury, babysitter, chaperone, sage, bottle washer. Multitasking was invented by teachers. Sometimes we don't even realize the roles we ask of teachers; and often the request is inappropriate or manipulative. Only rarely is it honorific. Do most parents know how often teachers lament, "I wish I could just teach"? They yearn for the clarity and singular purpose implied in working at "only a school." But one should never settle for being only a teacher. Too much is at stake.

We all know that, at the present time, our society is not going to allow us that simplicity. As critic David Denby points out in a New Yorker article, the culture is too busy assuring that its children "are shaped by the media as consumers before they've had a chance to develop their souls." And Juliet Schor notes in an article in Hope magazine, "Dematerializing Our Kids," "We have pretty much offered up our kids as a market to be exploited, with virtually no discussion, much less opposition."

In this week's Parsha, the Jewish People form a covenant with G-d. Many commentaries ask why another covenant was needed after one was already forged at Sinai.

The Shem M'Shmuel quotes the Ba'al Ha'tanya (The first Lubavitcher Rebbe) as saying that a covenant is never for the "here and now". Two loving parties that care deeply about each other at the moment don't need a pact! A covenant is needed for the future, when the love suffers the ravages of time. Then the covenant holds the relationship fast. The Jews formed a Brit with Hashem at this point in the desert, when miracles happened daily, because they knew it would maintain the bond with Hashem, through the best, and the worst, of times.
At the Torah Academy, we educate our students with a passion for  Torah, Mitzvot, academic success, Derech Eretz and Eretz Yisrael. The love for these ideals that are developed within the confines of our school are not just for the years that a student remains in our school --- they are life lessons, and life-long ideals. They stand to help him or her make real decisions that face we face daily in real life.
Our teachers then, do not only teach --- they prepare each child for a complex world of very difficult decisions --- moral, ethical and academic. But they need your help. A school as unique as ours must work in tandem with parents to mold the next, greatest generation that our children promise to become.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Isaac Entin



To read Rabbi Entin's recommended reading, CLICK HERE!


There is no better sound than the cracking of new binding and there is no better smell then the smell of freshly printed sefarim!

As our Seventh and Eighth grade boys embark on their journey of Gemara study this year there is a lot to be excited by. We have three classes this year learning the same Mesechta. We have all begun the study of the first perek of Mesechta Makkot which deals with the laws of conspiring witnesses. Topics of justice, evidence, punishments and fairness are only some of the interesting subjects that our students will be challenged by.

Our three outstanding Rabbis this year are Rabbi Duskis, Rabbi Faigen and Rabbi Schwersenski. Rabbi Duskis is leading our masmidim track which is engaging students who are ready and able to make a commitment to a serious academic environment, two additional periods of gemara a week, and a special shabbos beit midrash session. 

Rabbi Schwersenski and Rabbi Faigen are working in collaboration with the remaining students towards engaging them in high-level learning in an environment where students can experience success on all levels and in a variety of styles.

We are excited to find opportunities to engage the entire 7th and 8th grades in collaborative beit midrash sessions where all of our students can learn from each other and from all three of our talented Rabbeim.

I am so excited to be teaching 5th grade at Torah Academy this year! This will be my fourth year teaching 5th grade, but my first year at TA. This fifth grade year will be filled with many opportunities for exploration and creativity.

This year Reading will focus on reading comprehension of fiction and non-fiction texts. While students are working on their reading comprehension in small groups, the class will be moving through weekly centers that focus on Grammar, Figurative Language, Creative Writing, Poetry, and Vocabulary. Students will also be utilizing the Writing Process while creating narrative, expository, and persuasive writing pieces. A special piece that the students get to work on is the "There Ought to be a Law" essay, where students get to create their own law and enter a state competition!

Math has a lot in store for our the 5th graders this year. By the end of the year they will know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide with decimals. They will also be taking a closer look at fractions, and how to compare decimals, fractions, and percentages. We will end the year with a unit on geometry, which will include a project where the students get a chance to become architects and design their own home!

The 5th grade students were very excited to learn that we will be doing a few new and exciting topics in Science this year. We are going to be starting off the year learning about the Scientific Process and the students will have the chance to make their own science fair projects. We will also be learning about Chemistry later in the year; the 5th graders will learn about mixtures and solutions, as well as saturation and chemical reactions. In Social Studies we will begin with the explorers and the influence of Jamestown, and we will end the year by taking a look at the first colonies. Students will participate in Colonial Days at the end of the year, where they will be able to show off their knowledge to their peers, parents, and teachers!

I have received such a warm welcome by the staff, students, and families at TA, and I anticipate a great year ahead!

Mrs. Hayes


אַתֶּ֨ם נִצָּבִ֤ים הַיּוֹם֙ כֻּלְּכֶ֔ם לִפְנֵ֖י יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם רָאשֵׁיכֶ֣ם שִׁבְטֵיכֶ֗ם זִקְנֵיכֶם֙ וְשֹׁ֣טְרֵיכֶ֔ם כֹּ֖ל אִ֥ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
טַפְּכֶ֣ם נְשֵׁיכֶ֔ם וְגֵ֣רְךָ֔ אֲשֶׁ֖ר בְּקֶ֣רֶב מַחֲנֶ֑יךָ מֵחֹטֵ֣ב עֵצֶ֔יךָ עַ֖ד שֹׁאֵ֥ב מֵימֶֽיךָ;

"You're standing firmly today, all of you, before Hashem, heads of the shevet, elders, police officers, every Jewish person, young children, women, converts, wood cutters, and water carriers.

This Pasuk mentions many different types of Jews standing before Hashem on that day.

This parsha is always read before Rosh Hashanah. What's the connection between this Parsha and Rosh Hashanah?

In the tefilla of Rosh Hashanah we say זה היום תחילת מעשך

היום- today is referring to Rosh Hashanah.

On Rosh Hashanah, we crown Hashem king and we can only crown Hashem king when we are all together.

We can learn from the opening of this week's Parsha that when we come together we are stronger. On Rosh Hashanah, we shouldn't only daven for ourselves we should daven for our friends and family too.

I learn from this that we all need to be a united nation! We are stronger when we are like one. Hashem enjoys hearing our תפילות when we are all together. This Rosh Hashanah we should think about a few friends and family who could use our תפילות and we should daven for them.

Have a great Yom Tov!

Our Early Childhood Program had a special opportunity this week to attend a Shofar workshop in TA led by Rabbi Strassburg.  Students learned insights into the history and significance of the Shofar and its role for the Yomim Noraim.  Throughout the presentation, our students helped cure, saw, drill, finish and shellac a ram's horn and created a genuine kosher Shofar. During the "hands-on" workshop, the students learned how to sound and practice the notes of the Shofar. At the end of the workshop, each class  was given their very own Shofar to keep in their classroom as a memento. Thank you to Rabbi Strassburg for coming out to TA and leading this wonderful program!.

The Middle School Girls had a wonderful Rosh Hashanah program this past Thursday. The 8th graders taught the 6th and 7th graders about different topics related to Rosh Hashanah. 

The first group learned about the sounds and meaning of the shofar blowing and made shofar shaped rugelach. The second group learned about the 13 middot harachamim, explaining each one and made a bookmark for their machzorim. The last group learned about the edible simanim that we eat and made a honey jar.

Thank you to Mrs. Avtzon, Mrs. Taubes, Mrs. Bauer and The B'not Sherut for organizing this program.

Dear Parents,
We are excited to announce the first session of after school activities at Torah Academy.  Due to some of the technical problems we encountered with the on-line registrations, we ask that you fill the form below or e-mail Rabbi Silver at with your child(ren)'s name, grade and contact information, along with each program you are registering him/her for.

A letter with this information will also be sent home with your children and you can complete the form and return to the school's Education Office.
As many of the clubs will be starting the first week after Sukkot break, please try to send in the forms prior to Sukkot vacation.
 Thank you in advance.
Rabbi Silver

The PTO would like to wish our Torah Academy families and staff a Shanah Tova. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank those parents and teachers who have taken an active role, whether it be chairing projects, or volunteering their time to help enhance PTO events. Kol Hakavod!

Back to School Supply Program- Shira Kupfer.

Nana's Kitchen Hot Lunch Program-Aderet Frager.

Teacher Appreciation Breakfasts- Ronit Snitman & Dana Kupfer.

Back To School Bash- Julie Zohar, Morah Sara Hirsh,Shira Kupfer, Lara Kirschner, Dina Pack, Israela Friedman, Dahlia Ocken, Morah Elana Obstfeld,Rachel Mazurek, Ilana Appelson,Patty Towler, Aderet Frager, Gallite Den, Dana Kupfer, Ronit Snitman, Tamar Daniel.

New Family Shabbat & Oneg- Galitte Den, Israela Friedman, Ronit Snitman, Rachel Mazurek, Dahlia Ocken.

Additionally, the  PTO would like to recognize all of the help and support we receive from Rabbi Entin, Mrs. Sasson, Rabbi Schwersenski, Stuart Gasner and the entire staff at Torah Academy.

We look forward to another wonderful year full of exciting programming.

Chava Resnick-Paris
PTO President

Patty Towler
Vice President

Shira Kupfer

Rachel Mazurek




Each week, Kol Torah will feature a Torah Academy family or a faculty member. If your family would like to be featured please email Stuart Gasner - 

Towler Family
Bala Cynwyd, PA

Name all the members in your family.
Eric, Patty, Sylvia, Adam, Ben, Shayna, Eitan.

What cities did your family live in prior to Philadelphia?
Bridgeport, PA, Frederick, MD, New Haven, CT, East Brunswick, NJ.

Name all the languages spoken in your immediate family?
English, Spanish, Hebrew

What is a family favorite meal?

What is a family favorite activity to do?
Everything at the beach.

Where was your last family vacation?
In the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.

If your family could change one thing about the TA building it would...
Repair the aging infrastructure.

What does your family do on snow days?
Make snowmen, throw snowballs, go sledding, and shovel lots of snow.

Where is a "family favorite" place to visit in Philadelphia?
The Franklin Institute.
What is your family's favorite animal?
Our dog, Katie.

What is your family's favorite holiday to celebrate?
It's a tie:  Chanukah and Sukkot.

What is the oldest item you have in your house?
A menorah from the early 1900s.




The Torah academy library is looking for volunteers to re-shelve, reorganize and rethink our library.  We are also looking for help with our upcoming Scholastic Book fair. Contact if you have even 30 minutes of your time to donate.   

Thank you!


KIDSTUFF coupon books benefit PTO and are available now.  The books are each $ or sell 5 and the 6th is yours for free.  There are lots of coupons for local attractions and shopping and most coupons are good through December '16.  To order or preview your copy, please contact Janet at  Please note that the book contains coupons for kosher and non- kosher establishments.

Keep those Box Tops coming...The summer Box Top saving challenge ends on September 21...then we count down to the hundredth day of school.  Clean out your junk drawer stashes to benefit PTO.  Please write your family's name on your submission bag/ envelope and bring it to the box at the security desk.  For product and program information,

Ongoing PTO free FUNdraisers include Target Take Charge of Education (register your Target credit cards at 800- 316- 6142), saving Brown's Shoprite receipts, Labels for Education (Post/ Pepperidge Farms/ BIC products etc.) and General Mills Box Tops for Education (use the green box at the security desk), Amazon Smile program, (also online shopping) and, starting next week...the Giant Aplus program (more details to follow...use NEW id# 23875) do not need to be a parent to support these programs...start recruiting PTO support today!!  For more details about these initiativeS,

Host our B'not Sherut for a meal
Click here  to view and sign up for the meal schedule. 

TA Text Messaging
Stay informed with important TA information such as emergency announcements, school closings and event reminders. 
To opt in -  click here

8th Grade Pizza and Pretzels
Pizza will be sold Wednesday for $2 a slice and soft pretzels sold Friday for $1. 


Click here to view 2015-2016 school year calendar


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