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

September 12, 2014

         17 Elul  5774

Ki Tavo
  Candlelighting 7:26 p.m.
This Week on E-Dateline
Head of School's Message
Preview of the Week
Dates to Remember
Scrip Update
Give & Get
News from the Lower School Judaic Studies Department
News from the Upper School Judaic Studies Department
What a Great Sunday!
Advertise in Dateline!
Applications of Technology in the Lower School
Film Studies Out On Location This Week
Science: Investigate
Save the Date & Looking For Volunteers
Mazal Tov To
Condolences To
Parsha Kit Tavo Quiz
A Riddle From Israel
Join Our Mailing List

Torah reading this week, the portion dealing with bringing the Bikurim, the First Fruits offering, provides us with not so subtle a reminder that the ultimate expression of Zionism is through Aliyah, actually living in the land.  This can be discerned by the opening phrase that states, "It will be when YOU ENTER the land that Hashem , your G-d, gives you as an inheritance,."  The word "YOU ENTER" is written in the second person singular not the second person plural, thereby, indicating that the obligation to live in the land is a personal mitzvah more than it is a national mitzvah.  Every individual Jew has the obligation to live in the land of Israel.  Jewish life lived to perfection can only be achieved by living in our ancestral homeland. 


"So, Rabbi Levine," one may ask, "What are you doing living in Columbus, Ohio?" The question is a fair one and I am troubled that, for various reasons, real, perceived, or rationalized, I find myself not living up to this command.  Sadly, this is but one of my many imperfections. The point is that I am profoundly troubled by my inability to achieve the goal of making Aliyah.  To be a Zionist one must, at the very least, place on one's life agenda the notion of making Aliyah and be saddened by not realizing this goal.


We root for our favorite sports teams, my passion being for the Boston Red Sox.  But I realize that I am not a member of the team, that I never was and I never will be.  I am a bystander, a fan, an outsider.  I experience the team vicariously.   Three World Series in ten years (my apologies to the Yankee fans reading this) were a joy.  But I can only imagine what it would have been like being a member of that team, down on that field after clinching the World Series in 2004.  How much more intense would that joy have been? Similarly, if our Zionism is nothing more than rooting for Israel, admiring it from afar, we are experiencing Zionism vicariously.  Unlike my passion for the Red Sox, however, I do aspire to be a member of the team, to experience the challenge of daily life in Israel, to be on the field exulting in its triumphs.


My intentions in writing this d'var Torah is not to make myself or others feel badly or to impart feelings of guilt.  My point is that as Zionists, in addition to everything else we do to support Israel, the donations, the advocacy, the AIPAC Conferences, the multiple trips, we also must seriously consider the possibility of Aliyah.  The Torah obligates us to do so.


The section dealing with the Bikurim states, "You shall rejoice with all the goodness that Hashem, Your G-d, has given you and your household."  I can only imagine the measure of goodness and the intensity of rejoicing I would experience standing at home and looking out at that "Desirable, good and spacious land."


Rabbi Samuel J. Levine
Monday, September 15:  Pizza Bagels-Volunteer: W. Almasanu
Tuesday, September 16:  Chicken Nuggets-Volunteer: L. Hoffman
Wednesday, September 17: Grilled Cheese 
Thursday, September 18:  Sloppy Joe-Volunteer: R. Topolosky
Friday, September 19:  Tuna-Volunteer: K. Abelman
Monday, September 22: School Picture Retakes
September 24-26: Rosh Hashanah - NO SCHOOL
Friday, October 3: Erev Yom Kippur - NO SCHOOL
October 8-10: Succot - NO SCHOOL
Wednesday, October 15: Hoshanah Rabbah - 2:00 p.m. Dismissal
Thursday, October 16: Shemini Atzeret - NO SCHOOL
Friday, October 17: Simchat Torah - NO SCHOOL
Monday, September 15
HOME Game vs.Grace Christian
Middle School Volleyball, 5pm

HOME Games vs. New Hope Christian
Middle School Volleyball, 6pm
Varsity Volleyball, 7pm

Tuesday, September 16
HOME Game vs. New Hope Christian
Varsity Soccer, 5pm

Thursday, September 18
AWAY Games vs. Liberty Christian
Middle School Volleyball, 4:30pm
Varsity Volleyball, 5:30pm
Varsity Soccer, 5:30pm
CTA Scrip Office, 864-0299 ext. 212
Monday-Friday- 7:30am-4pm

There is still some Scrip inventory available for those who wish to purchase. Please call (864-0299) or stop by the front office.  Additional Scrip can be purchased by order or request.

Give & Get statements and updates will be provided in due course.


Shop at Polaris Fashion Place and enter CTA into a drawing for $7500!  Just bring your receipts dated from 8/4/14 through 9/27/14 to the Guest Reception at Polaris Fashion Place and have them marked for Columbus Torah Academy.  The school with the largest number of purchases will receive a grand prize of $7500.  Full rules can be seen at


Looking to help raise money for CTA?  Here are a few ways to do it that will cost you NOTHING:


Kroger Rewards Card:  Go to and register your rewards card.  Kroger will donated up to 1% of your Kroger or Turkey Hill stores.


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.  Always shop through to benefit CTA.


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. 


If you have trouble with any of these, contact Shari or come visit her in her office and she will walk you through it!

By Dror Karavani, Lower School Judaic Studies Coordinator

Dror-new When walking through the halls of CTA, you can hear the symphony of shofrot being blown by the students, trying out their skills.  In addition to that, they are also learning about the meaning of the three different shofar sounds. During Chodesh Elul, there are three things which we emphasize; tefillah (prayer), teshuva (repentance), tzedaka (charity). In an effort to continue the growth of our tefillah time, we are beginning a program, entitled "Our Tefillah and Israel" with our new shlicha tziera, Lihi Shmueli, who comes from Israel.  How exciting for us!  Stay tuned. In the weeks to come, many of the things we will be focusing on revolve around the theme of Rosh Hashanah and the High Holidays.  I would like to remind everyone to check our Jewish Studies teachers' blogs on a regular basis. There, you can find out what is going on in the classroom, including homework and tests. As always, I am happy to be of any assistance to you. Please contact me at [email protected] or 864-0299 ext. 216 with any questions. Shabbat Shalom! 



By Rabbi Zecharia Weitz, Upper School Judaic Studies Coordinator

WeitzAliyah:  What better a speaker for our 12th grade Israel Advocacy class than a CTA graduate who is in the Tzahal and made Aliyah? This past Tuesday, we invited Yoni Calabrese (graduating class of 2009) to talk with the class about his experience making Aliyah.  Yoni shared with us the reasons that helped him decide to make Aliyah in addition to giving an informative "walk-through" of the process of making Aliyah and acclimating to the Holy Land.  Students were able to hear a real life perspective of what it is like to currently live in Israel from a person not so much older and not so different from them.  He also shared with our seniors the various skills that he learned while serving in the IDF.


It is our hope that exposing our students to speakers like Yoni will help them see that making Aliyah is a realistic opportunity and privilege worth considering.



Last Sunday's welcoming reception was a wonderful start to Rabbi Levine's tenure at CTA.  The building was abuzz with CTA families, faculty and community members who were excited to see the new renovations and to connect to the school and each other.  Newly renovated space in the 2nd grade classrooms, lower school science lab, shul, lower school gymnasium, multi-purpose space, cafeteria, administrative wing, kindergarten and 1st grade wing and upper school classrooms showed the vibrancy of our spectacular building.  Hopefully you were able to attend.  If not, plan to schedule a private tour and to meet Rabbi Levine. 


Pictured are snippets from the full morning of touring and remarks.   





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"Computer Class" is a thing of the past.  Across the curriculum, students are using technology as a means to gather and express information. This year, in the Lower School, General Studies' teachers and Mrs. Schwendenman, computer teacher, are teaming up to create student-centered lessons that combine curriculum content with technology.  As part of ongoing professional development, our teachers are engaged in this approach which is best for our students and our teachers.


Regularly scheduled training meetings between the computer teacher and the general studies teachers allow teachers to learn how to use and apply technology within the context of their teaching and at the same time share ideas and experiences with their peers.


Explained Mrs. Schwendenman, "Our teachers will be able to modify their practices and create lessons that will allow for more collaborative learning, more brain-based (active) learning and provide more differentiated instruction.  It's a win-win for them and our students."




This week the award winning CTA film studies students were on assignment, visiting Westminster Thurber house to shoot their documentary project "Ageless Yoga." Author and Yoga teacher Shelly Dembe is seen here with her student Marla. The documentary that the students are working on this fall explores Yoga's amazing physical and emotional effects on senior citizens. 




With their science teacher, Mrs. Lerner, the 4th graders are learning each week in the newly renovated science laboratory in the 2nd grade wing.  This week they were investigating variables to study scientific principles.  The students tested whether string length or weight of an object affects the swing of a pendulum.  By using 2 different sized metal washers, the students made observations about the pendulum swing at 30 cm of string length; and then tested the pendulum swing at 10 cm of string length to make their conclusions. 


Pictured are the 4th graders engaged in a lesson about inference.


"Get Ready for Sukkot" is scheduled for Sunday, October 5 from 1-3 pm at CTA.  Students and their families are invited for a fun activity which includes making art decorations to hang in your sukkah or leave in the school sukkah.  Moreh Dror will lead an interactive story time for ages 2-6. More details to follow.  Parent volunteers are needed from 12-4.  Contact [email protected] or [email protected] to be included on the schedule.


Shayna (Cohen) Pinsker (Class of '06) on the birth of a daughter Nina

   Eve and to grandparents Rick and Sherri (Vinar) Cohen (8th Grade Class

   of '80) and to the great grandparents Marvin and Barbara Vinar 

Dr. Rachel (Weinerman) Spinner (Class of '98) on the birth of a son and

   to grandparents Drs. Phil and Julie Weinerman


Rachel Shapiro (Class of '01), Yonah Shapiro (Class of '04) and Aviva

   Shapiro (Class of '08) on the passing of their grandmother, Florence



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:


To the Scholarship Fund: 

Scott and Tammy Weisman in honor of Joey and Lindsay Schottenstein

   and Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein families for the recent success of the

   mission to Israel

Bob and Betsey Lane in memory of David Bernzweig's grandmother, Mary

Robert and Carol Flexer in honor of their grandchildren, Libby, Rebekah,

   and Jakob Klynn

Gary Leibesman and Stacy Leeman in memory of Chaya Morris' father


To The Annual Giving Fund by: 

Rabbi Howard and Linda Zack in honor of their three daughters, Etana,

   Shifra, and Meira


1.    Why must a captured woman mourn her family for a month in her captor's house?

a.    So her capture will find her unattractive.


2.   What fraction of the inheritance does a first-born receive if he has a) one brother? b) two brothers?

a.    a) 2/3   b) 1/2 


3.    What will become of a ben sorer u'moreh if his parents don't bring him to court?

a.   He will eventually rob and kill to support his physical indulgences.


4.    Why is it a degradation to G-d to hang a criminal's body on the gallows overnight?

a.   Because humans are made in G-d's image; and because human beings are all G-d's children.


5.    What do you do if you find a lost object that costs money to maintain?

a.   Sell it and save the money for the owner.


6.    Why does the Torah forbid wearing the clothing of the opposite gender?

a.   It leads to immorality.


7.      Why does the Torah link the mitzvah of sending away the mother-bird with the mitzvah of making a railing on the roof of your house?

a.   To teach that one mitzvah leads to another, and to prosperity.


8.    When is it permitted to wear wool and linen?

a.   Wool tzitzit on a linen garment.


9.    If one charges interest to his fellow Jew, how many commandments has he transgressed?

a.   Three; two negative commandments and a positive commandment.


10.   What is the groom's special obligation to his bride during their first year together?

a.   To gladden her.


 (Parsha Ki Tavo Quiz 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.


What is the connection between the picture and the parasha? Look in Chapter 26, Verse 2. You will find the answer there. 


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