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 Shabbos! 


Candle Lighting 5:04  pm
26 Shevat 5776 / February 5, 2016

This week's Kol Torah is generously sponsored by:
Kosher Foods and More LLC

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

Click on the image below to RSVP, donate or place an ad  
Thank you for your support!

Monday, February 8: Middle School Science Fair

Monday, February 15: President's Day- no school.

Sunday, February 21: JFGP Super Sunday 1:00 -3:00 PM 

Sunday, February 21: Grades 4-8 girls Wizard of Oz Production- 3:00 PM

Sunday, February 28: TA Scholarship Banquet- 6:00 PM.


The safety of our children is always front and center in our thinking. As parents, as teachers, and even as human beings, we all have the internal instinct to protect our children.


Danger comes in many forms. We saw through bitter tears the danger that lurked at Newtown and Virginia Tech, but that is not what I am writing about this week. I am, instead, writing of a different type of danger that we must confront openly and frankly --- for the sake of our children.


That danger is child abuse --- in all of its forms.


We must be proactive in our school and our community to ensure the safety of each child. Often, children are confronted with decisions about their safety that many are unprepared to make.


This is an enormous undertaking. So, where do we start?


The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children concludes its review of safety guidelines with the following statement:


Explain to your children you want to discuss the safety rules with them so they will know what to do if they are ever confronted with a difficult situation. Make sure you have "safety nets" in place so your children know there is always someone available to help them.


Simply having a trusted person to go to and tell them about something disturbing is the very first step in preventing and dealing with this problem.


In this week's parsha, we deal with the laws of tale-bearing --- Lashon Hara. We are very rightfully aware of Lashon Hara and its destructive effects on people and communities. HOWEVER, we must be equally clear with our children, that there is no issue of Lashon Hara when it comes to reporting to a parent or trusted one that something bad happened. We must open the lines of communication early, and maintain them.


As a school, Torah Academy is adopting a program, led by educators and professionals in this field, to educate parents and children in five separate areas of child safety, beginning with an opening parent program on February 29th. This program will enable you to open those lines of communication in a healthy and productive way. Please stay tuned for additional, detailed information on this program in the mail and  in school emails.


I am very sensitive to the fact that children may be reading this, and I have been very general in my approach in this piece. Nonetheless, there can be no excuses for silence on this matter.


We have much work to do --- together.


Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Isaac Entin




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


We know that Tzedaka is an incredibly important mitzvah, and one which is so cherished by Hashem that we are guaranteed wealth, health, and great reward for engaging it. We often assume tzedaka is only for adults who are earning money; it is rare that children engage in this mitzvah or are even sensitive enough to notice a need and then do something about it!

Four of our students; Gabi Brown, Mayer Shmidman, Yonah Erlbaum and Dovi Erlbaum, noticed that our school did not have a yad (pointer used while reading from the Torah) in our Beit Midrash, and using their own Bar Mitzvah money donated a beautiful one to our school! 

We are really proud of our students!

Tizku L'Mitzvot!

In Physical Education class this month the students of Torah Academy will be hard at work displaying their best yoga poses as for the month of February, the daily warm-up / exercise stations are YOGA inspired! We even are playing tranquil music to compliment the atmosphere!  Beginning next week, we will briefly discuss Nutrition and the major food group diagram along with its members. To conclude the month, an introduction to the wonderful life-long sport of tennis will be the focus for students in grades 1-8.

Imagine being able to play a sport at the ripe old-age of 80 (living in Florida on some country club/ private community grounds). Ahh! A healthy dream for us all!

Good Shabbos,
Coach Kenny
Learning the intricate details of the laws of how to build a kosher mikvah may be intimidating to some, but our 7th and 8th grade gemara shiurim plunged right in!

After an introduction from Rabbi Gross, where our students took a tour of the back end of the TA mikvah, our students had the background information necessary to tackle one of the hardest sugyas in Mesechta Makkos.  
As the students engage with the nuanced and complex shakla vetaryah (back and forth logic) of this sugya, they are really growing in their abilities to balance the technical aspect of being able to read and translate the difficult words, identify key words which help the students determine whether the gemara is asking a question, answering a question, or providing a supporting proof, while simultaneously following the abstract and complex flow of the Talmudic thinking. Our students often ask and answer questions which have been asked by the Torah giants of past generations, ask questions of their own origin, and really challenge their rabbeim to think and dig deep to be able to clarify tough issues.
If you walk into one of our classrooms, you may hear a strange new verb - "Rebbe, are we going to be Kahooting today?" We have been experimenting with a new website  which uses classroom gaming theory to engage students in competitive and fun review games. The games are not only fun but also provide students with immediate feedback and results, motivating them to do better with every new review. If you hear cheers erupt from one of our gemara rooms you can be sure they are busy with Kahoot! The students are begging us to do this more often, and to quote one 7th grade boy, "Kahooting is even more fun than recess!"


Discovery Lunches
Thank you to pharmacist (and TA parent) Dr. Chava Gross for informative Discovery Lunches this past week!

Upcoming Discovery Lunch- Wednesday February 10- Grades 1-2
Meet Dr. Ilana Baltuch
Ilana Baltuch is finishing residency in Emergency Medicine at Christiana Care, a level 1 trauma center with 4 types of ICUs. In the emergency department she makes first contact with patients, stabilizing them and beginning their treatment for life saving problems such as infections, trauma, inability to breathe and more. Come hear about how the body works and discover some tools for fixing it.

If you are interested in leading a Discovery Lunch please contact

Enrichment Clusters
All 1st and 2nd grade families are invited join us at our enrichment cluster celebration on February 16 from 2:45-3:30 PM in the TA gym!

Thank you to volunteers Leah Yoffe and Sarah Rosner for helping out with enrichment clusters during the past two weeks.

Spotlight on "The Amazing Amazon Rainforest" with Morah Rosenthal
On Tuesday afternoons, Morah Rosenthal's classroom is filled with first and second grade rainforest explorers and conservationists!  The students in this cluster have explored the rainforest through books, videos, art, and the use of a virtual rainforest ipad app.  Morah Rosenthal and her students are discovering the importance of the rainforest and the dangers this important region faces.  Student have decided to sell lemonade in order to help raise awareness and funds for the Rainforest Conservation Society.  Lemonade will be for sale for $1/can at the enrichment cluster celebration on February 16.  Be on the lookout for this cluster's posters about the rainforest around the school!

The students in Morah Yocheved's "The M and M's of Purim" enrichment cluster invite you to join them in performing the mitzvah of Matanot La'Evyonim.  They will be selling purim cards featuring student art work.  All proceeds will benefit Chasdei Eliyahu.  The cost will be $1/card.  An order form will be enclosed in next week's Kol Torah.  Contact for more information.

In Social Studies, the 7th Grader boys have been studying about
 America's involvement in World War I. This week, the boys were able to speak with Retired Marine Corps Colonel Warren Foersch (Ms. Foersch's dad!). He spoke more in depth about the Marine Corps involvement at the Battle of Belleau Wood and he also showed the students artifacts like a WWI gas mask and rifle. 

Lesson 31: - People care about their appearance.  When we tease or belittle a person because of his looks we are causing  that person pain.  Ultimately, looks really have no bearing on a person's true worth.
Lesson 32: - Not only should you avoid hurting a person, but we should also avoid knocking anything a person owns or holds dear.

In this week's parsha, we read about the punishment that a person gets if they cause physical harm to another person. The wording of the pasuk is "Ayin Tachat Ayin", which seems to mean "an eye for an eye". The obvious question is, if someone blinds another person, does the Torah really mean that his punishment is that he must lose an eye?
The Gemara in Bava Kama (83a) teaches that when it says "Ayin Tachat Ayin" the Torah really means money, and that a person who blinds someone else wouldn't literally lose an eye. Instead, he would be responsible to pay monetary damages equal to the value of a person's eye.
Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna, who was known as the Vilna Gaon, found a hint to this idea even in our very own pasuk. If the Torah really meant that a person who blinds someone else would lose an eye, it would have said "Ayin BiAd Ayin". So why does the Torah use the word "Tachat" which means "under"?
The Vilna Gaon explains that the Torah is actually telling us to look at the Hebrew letters that are "under", or after, the word "Ayin". After the letter "Ayin" comes the letter "Pay", after the letter "Yud" comes "Kuf", and after the letter "Nun" comes "Samach". The Vilna Gaon says that those three letters - "Kuf", "Samach", and "Pay" spells the word "Kesef", which means money. From here the Vilna Gaon says we see a hint that the Torah is actually talking about the monetary damages that a person who blinds someone else is responsible to pay.


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.

The Giant A- Plus program is up and running for the 2015- 2016 school year.  Giant donates proceeds from your club card purchases to TA PTO from October through just need to register (unless you have already done so in a previous year).  

Go to and follow the instructions for registration.  TA's ID code is 23875.

You don't need to be a TA parent to participate in this program.  Each shopper can support up to 2 schools.  Please register NOW...last year PTO raised over $1100 through this program!!




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 - 

Mrs. Elana Obstfeld
Music, Enrichment Coordinator

How long have you been teaching at TA?
This is my 4th year at TA.

Where did you work before TA?
Throughout college, I worked as a museum educator at the Children's Museum of Manhattan.   I then taught at PS 189 (New York City), the Jewish Community School of the Desert (Palm Desert, California), and PS/MS 278 (NYC).  I also taught extra curricular activities s at HAFTR High School (Lawrence, NY) and SAR High School (Riverdale, NY).

Where are you from?
I'm originally from Brooklyn, NY.
How many people are there in your family?
There are 5 of us: my husband Amrom, our three children Nili, Isaac, and Esther, and me.
What schools did you attend?
I went to Yeshivah of Flatbush, Midreshet Lindenbaum, Barnard College, and Teachers College at Columbia University.
What is the reason you decided to become a teacher?
When I worked at the Children's Museum, I found that I loved being involved in education.  I enjoyed being a part of planning and tweaking the lesson plans that corresponded to each exhibit and I loved leading the school groups that came through the museum.  Becoming a teacher was a logical next step.

If you could not be a teacher- what other profession would you want?
Conductor for the NYC subway or Long Island Railroad.  (My use of the word "conductor" probably threw some of you off there.)

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy playing instruments, going to the theater and museums, and writing plays for the TA staff Chanukah performance.  

What subject do you enjoy teaching the most?
It is always exciting to teach students to play instruments.
What was your favorite subject to learn in school?
Math, talmud, and music.

List something that most people at TA don't know about you.
I spent one summer during my college years as an intern for the children's television show "Arthur."  Part of my job was answering Arthur's fan mail.  I got to make up stories about Arthur's summer vacation  and come up with new Arthur adventures for his fans.  

What advice do you have for TA students. 
Ask lots of questions!

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 Rosh Chodesh Adar Chinese 
Fundraising Dinner from Cherry Grill

Wednesday, February 10, pickup at Torah Academy between 3:50-6:15 PM

Three options will be sesame chicken, beef and broccoli with white rice or vegetable lo mein. 

Each meal will come with an egg roll in a ready to go container

$9 per meal and payment must be provided at time of pickup. 

Pre-order by Sunday, January 10 to 

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

Read to Succeed Program
Read to Succeed is an exciting program that encourages students in grades K through 6 to read for fun. Students who complete six hours of recreational reading earn a free ticket to Six Flags! The program is available to teachers and schools at no cost to participate, and it's a great way to motivate kids to read.  Students will receive a reading log to complete.  You can also complete a log online at


Click here to view 2015-2016 school year calendar


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