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The Columbus Torah Academy
181 Noe Bixby Rd, Columbus OH 43213

December 7, 2012

            23 Kislev 5773

  Candlelighting 4:46p.m.
This Week on E-Dateline
Headmaster's Message
Ready Your Camera for CTA Web of Friends Project
Preview of the Week
Dates to Remember
Scrip Update - Places to Purchase Scrip
Give & Get Grapevine
News from the Lower School Judaic Studies Department
On the Up & Up: News from the Upper School Judaic Studies Department
News from the Upper School General Studies Dept.
Mazal Tov To
Thank You To
High School Student Council Sponsors Toy Drive
Varsity Boys Stay Undefeated with Nail Biting Win
Parent Directory
Welcome New Family
Scholarship Dinner a Tremendous Success
CTA Fall Book Fair Speaks Thoursands
It's Flu Season
When Should My Child Stay Home?
Running for a Cause
Chanukah Activities
Basketball Weekly Schedule
PTO Holiday Gift Fund
Faculty & Staff
Hanukkah Lights in the Big Sky
Shawarma Night
Parsha Vayeshev Quiz
A Riddle from Israel
Join Our Mailing List

RabbiKahnIn this week's parsha of Vayeshev we read the famous story of Yosef Ve'echav (Joseph and his brothers). We are told that the brothers wanted to kill Yosef, but the eldest, Reuven, convinced them to throw the lad into a pit instead. Later, another brother, Yehudah, suggested that they sell Yosef to a passing caravan. This was done and Yosef ended up being brought down as a slave to Egypt. How should we view Yehudah's actions? On the one hand, he probably saved Yosef's life by having him pulled out of the pit. On the other hand, his actions might have sentenced Yosef to a life of bondage in a foreign land. The reality is that the commentators argue about exactly this question. Some focus on the benefits that resulted from what Yehudah did, while others emphasize the even greater benefits that could have been attained had Yehudah acted more forcefully. Rabbi Ovadia Sforno, a 16th century Italian scholar, for example, states that Yehuda was punished severely over this episode with the loss of his own two sons, an event that is described later in the parsha. Why is Yehudah judged so harshly? What exactly was the nature of his failing? Based on comments by Rashi, Rabbi Yaacov Haber explains that Yehudah assumed that he knew how far he could get the other brothers to go. He felt they would never agree to free Yosef entirely. This was his cardinal error. Yehudah should have gone all out to persuade his siblings to do the truly right thing, without relying on half-measures. The timeless lesson for us is to try never to assume that we know the boundaries of other people's spiritual and ethical capabilities. The capacity of human beings to strive for goodness is limitless. 


Shabbat Shalom! 

Rabbi Zvi Kahn


  Kahn Chanukah

This Saturday night, December 8, is the first night of Chanukah.  As you light the candles with your family and friends each of the eight nights, memories and traditions are ignited.  The students at CTA have been learning about the upcoming holiday and are excited to extend their learning to celebration outside of school. 


Did you know that our CTA family of alumni, family and friends extends beyond the four walls of our beautiful school building, right into the homes and lives of many individuals. We want to highlight our near and extended family with our CTA Web of Friends Project during this Chanukah.


As you light your candles, take a picture to share and post on the Columbus Torah Academy Facebook page lighting your menorah "CTA style".  Let's see how far we can stretch our network around the world.  Example picture here is Headmaster Rabbi Zvi Kahn with his family posed around the hanukiah.


Pictures can also be submitted to and we can post it for you.


For more information, please contact Rabbi Drandoff or Shari Herszage at 864-0299.

Monday, December 10:  Pizza Bagels-Volunteer: J. Topolosky
Executive Board Meeting, 7:30 pm
Tuesday, December 11: Chicken Nuggets-Volunteer: S. Lubow 
PTO Holiday Gift Fund forms due 
Wednesday, December 12:  Lasagna-Volunteer: Y. Weisband
Chanukah Program, Grades K-4, 9:30 am
Thursday, December 13: Chicken Cutlet-Volunteer: J. Margolies
5th Grade Play, "The Maccabim," 6th Grade Play, "Hanukkah Money," 10:00 am
Friday, December 14:  Fish Sticks-Volunteer: M. Rosenberg
Chanukah Carnival, Grades K-6, 9-11 am
2:00 pm Dismissal 
Sunday, December 16: Shwarma Night: Girls' Basketball Team Fundraiser, Ahavas Sholom, 6-8 pm
December 24-January 1: Winter Break - No School
Wednesday, January 2: School Resumes 
CTA Scrip Office, 864-0299 ext. 112
Monday-Thursday- 7:30am-4pm; Friday- 7:30am-1:30pm

The Scrip Office keeps a variety of available scrip on hand. Special order scrip from hundreds of stores is available by sending your request to To see a complete selection of all of the Scrip choices, go to To benefit CTA with online purchases, register at  

"I heard through the Grapevine..." Volunteer time is worth $25/hr and goes towards your annual Give & Get commitment of $2,000 per family! Please email Kim Abelman at for more information.


Reminder about our NEW Call & Deliver Program for Scrip. Email or call 864-0299 to order scrip and we can have it delivered to your home. 


The Give & Get (G&G) Commitment for 2012-2013 is $2,000 per family. G&G is fulfilled through donations, Scrip purchases, solicitations & volunteering.  The weekly G&G Grapevine gives you ideas of how to easily do your part. Send a record of all G&G volunteer hours to


If you would like to volunteer, contact Volunteer Coordinator, Kim Abelman, at 855-5195 or Volunteer time is worth $25 per hour towards Give & Get. 


By Dror Karavani, Lower School Judaic Studies Coordinator


The Sanhedrin with the Sixth Graders: As part of our Mishnah curriculum (The Bonayich Program) in the Lower School, Rabbi Elbaz's sixth graders learned about the various places the Sanhedrin (The High Jewish Court) traveled and the dates in which they took place. The students learned to gather and process this information, created displays and presented their findings to their classmates. This unit is one more way to demonstrate how Jewish Law was transferred from generation to generation...finding its way into our classroom today.

  Dror1 12-7

Save the Dates: I would like to invite all parents to come participate in and enjoy the Chanukah festivities taking place on Wednesday, December 12 (Grades K-4), and on Thursday, December 13 (Grades 5-6). On Friday, December 14, the children will continue their celebration by going to the Student Council's Chanukah Carnival. More details to come.




    Anna Bornstein             Juliette Schiff 

Anna Bornstein Juliette Schiff  


By Rabbi Zecharia Weitz, Upper School Judaic Studies Coordinator


The Torah of Music:  If you happened to walk through the halls of the high school this past Monday, you might have heard Irish music emanating from room 215. Recognizing that it was during a Judaic Studies period, you would probably have assumed that students with unusual taste in music were without a teacher. After a closer look, however, you might have been surprised to see there was a teacher in the class and that Mrs. Claman was the one playing the music! Students of her high school Chumash class were learning how artists use devices like tempo, pace and instruments to bring out the emotion behind their lyrics.


With today's heightened awareness of the different ways we think and learn, increased emphasis is placed on presenting material to the variety of modalities of intellect.The theory of multiple intelligences indicates that by engaging the gamut of senses and thought, we are able to provide a more complete learning experience and appeal to the spectrum of learning styles.


Most instructors would agree that music is the most difficult modality of learning to incorporate into a lesson. Nonetheless, Mrs. Claman, a musician by hobby, discovered the song "Burning Bush" by Israeli musician Aaron Razel. After covering the section in the Chumash about the burning bush in depth, students were challenged to use their expertise in analyzing this song. When asked how she conceived this idea, Mrs. Claman explained, "I have a love for music. It was something that spoke to me and I thought would appeal to the class." "It was cool to introduce music to Chumash class" remarked Becky Portman, a sophomore member of the class. "It's not always easy to get into a section of Chumash but music is something we all are into." Pictured is Mrs. Shira Claman who is in her second year at CTA. A graduate of Stern College for Women, Mrs. Claman is currently working on her Masters in Jewish Education from YU's Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration.


Food for Thought: Avraham was told at the Brit Bein Habitarim (Covenent of the Parts) that his descendants would be slaves in a foreign land. It seems, though, that we hold the brothers culpable on some level for wrongfully selling Yosef down to Egypt. Was this not manifest destiny? How could they be held accountable?  

By Dianne Schwendenman, Math Teacher


Our personal data is transferred every time we share information on the Internet. For this reason encryption of data has become necessary to maintaining our personal security. Algebra 2 class recently completed a project where they explored message encryption using matrix multiplication.  After some practice with encrypting and decrypting, each student created an encryption key, a 2 x 2 matrix, and gave it to a second student. The second student used this key to encrypt a message for the first student. The first student then was able to decrypt the message using the inverse of the encryption matrix called the decryption key. Sounds simple right? Well, it wasn't easy, students had to be very careful with their matrix multiplication when they encrypted and when they decrypted their messages. There could be no mistakes. But they prevailed and learned at the same time a little about the complex mathematics involved in the encryption of data and its increasing importance in our society. So, what does 'THAQGRWCTASC' mean?! Well just ask any Algebra 2 student and they will tell you that with the right decryption key it can be deciphered to say 'Math is Great!' (But we already knew that didn't we?!)



Steven and Smadar Import on Sigal becoming a Bat Mitzvah

Matt & Mindy (Tanenbaum) Cooper (Class of '97) on the birth of a daughter

   and to Aunt Miss Deena Tanenbaum (Class of '99), grandparents, Paul

   & Karan (Press) Tanenbaum (8th Grade Class of '67) and great

   grandfather, Pearson Press


Shulamit Ginsburg, Robin Garvin, Jaki Keri and Esther Wilhelm for prepearing the Holiday Treats.


The High School Student Council is sponsoring a Toy Drive! Please donate unopened toys, books and stuffed animals. Bring your toys in and drop them off in the box in the main entrance. All donations will go to patients at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Help make a child's day a little brighter.


The varsity boys are now 4-0 and now are ranked 34th among Jewish high schools in the United States and Canada according to JEWISHOOPSAMERICA.COM.  The Lions started the week off with a 73-54 victory over the Falcons of FCI Academy.  Sophomore David Polster scored a career high 28 points and shot 6 from 7 from behind the three-point line. After cruising to that victory the Lions were met by Gahanna Christian. Turnovers and mental mistakes almost cost the Lions their perfect season, but Senior Max Herszage stepped up in the remaining seconds and knocked down 2 crucial free throws to put the Lions up three and helped lead the Lions to a 36-33 victory.


Please make the following changes to your copy of the Parent Directory:

      NEW PHONE NUMBER:  Berkovich, 564-9144


Please welcome and add to your PTO Directory: Yaacov and Bruria Martin and their children Natan, Kindergarten and Adira, 1st grade, 2575 Bexley Park Rd., Columbus, OH 43209, 231-2220


Dinner2 Sunday, December 2 was a memorable night for Columbus Torah Academy.  The honoring of Sonia Modes Schottenstein was a special celebration for a woman who has been supportive of a school that she holds dear.  The Lower School Choir was a hit with their Chanukah Medley and song selections, and the Sonia Modes Trio ended the night on a high note. A special recognition for the newly renovated Kindergarten and first grade wing was extended to Jay and Jeanie, Joey and Lindsay, Jonathan, Jeffrey and Lori Schottenstein.  Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, our guest speaker, was reflective in his remarks about the importance of Jewish education.  The Silent & Student Artwork Auction received a lot of attention and many winners.  If you did not attend the dinner and would like to see a Tribute Journal, please stop by the school office.  The Journal contains pictures and messages and wonderful information about our school.  To see pictures from the event, go to or visit the CTA Facebook page.  Some selections are included in Dateline.  Thank you to all of the sponsors, donors, supporters, volunteers, co-chairs, helpers, that made Sunday night so perfect! 






Book Fair 12-7 From Pete the Cat and Fancy Nancy to Ninjago, from Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel to Confectionately Yours and on to Divergent and Insurgent with lots more all around and in-between, the boys and girls at CTA are reading and loving it!


Our Fall Scholastic Book Fair was awesome!  There was something for every reader.  This book fair was our most successful ever and put over 550 books into the hands of students. That's hours of reading, critical thinking and FUN!


Reading is one of, if not the most important, skills you can teach a child - one that is vital for success in life.  Home libraries provide children access to good books and the joy of having favorites they can call their very own.  This provides the opportunity and motivation to read - and the more a child reads, the better reader he or she becomes.


In addition, book fair profits bring books to our library.  Lots of new books have been added to library shelves for all the children to enjoy.  Special thanks to the many families who so generously purchased books from Classroom Wish Lists.  I am pleased to say that every classroom received gifts of one or more books to add to their libraries.       


To everyone who came to our Book Fair, and to all who helped make it a great experience, a big thank you!  Keep on reading, and we'll see you at our next Fair coming in the Spring!



According to the Columbus Public Health Department (CPH), central Ohio is seeing an early start to the flu season.  There have been 45 people hospitalized in Columbus due to the flu so far this year while last year there were only 4 hospitalizations the entire season. Please refer to the CPH website for more information:


Nurse Chris strongly encourages you to get flu shots as soon as possible for yourselves and for your children if you have not already done so.  According to the CDC signs of the flu are: 

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

When notifying the office of your child's absence please indicate if your child is ill and what they are experiencing (fever, diarrhea, vomiting). If you take your child to the doctor and they are diagnosed with a communicable disease please share that information with us. There are guidelines in the school handbook regarding when to keep your child home. Please call the school nurse if you have questions or concerns. She is available Monday, Thursday and Friday. Thanks for your help in keeping all of our children healthy!  


  Nurse 12-7


Shoshana Ginsburg is running the ING half-marathon for Team Yachad. Yachad is part of the Orthodox Union. It is a tzedakah for helping people with disabilities. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation for this worthy cause, please contact Shoshana at 237-8181, or to donate on-line, go to, click on Miami and type in Shoshana Ginsburg under "Sponsor a Runner."


  Chanukah Activities pg1 

Chanukah Activities pg2  


   Basketball Weekly Sched


Gift Fund Ltr2  




Hanukkah Lights 12-7   


  Shwarma Night


1.  These are the offspring of Yaakov: Yosef..." Give three reasons why Yosef is considered Yaakov's main offspring.

     a. (1) Yosef was the son of Rachel, Yaakov's primary wife. (2) Yosef looked like Yaakov. (3) All that befell Yaakov befell Yosef.


2.  What was praiseworthy about the fact that Yosef's brothers did not speak to him in a friendly manner? 

     a.  They did not act hypocritically.


3.  How do we see from Yosef's dream about the sun, moon and stars that all dreams contain some untrue element?

     a.  The moon represented Rachel. Since she had already died, it was impossible for that element of the dream to come true.


4.   Who brought Yosef down to Egypt?

     a. A caravan of Midianites.


5.  Where was Reuven when Yosef was sold?

     a.  He was attending to Yaakov.


6.  In addition to the brothers, who else knew that Yosef was alive?

     a.  Yitzchak. 


7.  Why didn't G-d reveal prophetically to Yaakov that Yosef was alive?

     a. Because the brothers had issued a ban against revealing the truth to Yaakov, and G-d, so to speak abided by their ban.


8.  For how long did Yaakov mourn the loss of Yosef?

     a.  Twenty-two years.


(Parsha Vayeshev Quiz originally appeared on the

Ohr Somayach website,


As part of our partnership with the Shiloh school in Israel, we will be receiving riddles each week relating to the Parasha.  You will notice this each week on this back page.  The goal is to have the parents and children discuss the parasha, while trying to figure out the connection between the picture and the parasha.  All answered riddles should be given to the Judaic teacher on Monday. The names of the winners will be announced and sent to our friends in Israel.       

Riddle 12-7    

What is the connection between the picture and the parasha? Look in Chapter 37, Verse 9. You will find the answer there. 

  Danielle SchubachThe winner of last week's riddle is Daneille Schubach. 

Moreh Dror Karavani will collect all of the submitted answers, put them into a box, and save them for the big raffle! You will hear more about this very soon. Keep your answers coming.

I hope you enjoy the electronic version of our Dateline. Please check out our website at