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

October 31, 2014

         7 Cheshvan 5775

Lech Lecha
  Candlelighting 6:12 p.m.
This Week on E-Dateline
Dvar Torah by Elana Katz
Preview of the Week
Dates to Remember
Scrip Update
Give & Get
Mazal Tov To
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Mr. Kramer Reaches 20 Year Milestone
Scholarship Dinner Corner
Lower School Science Fun With Etrogim and Sukkot
11th and 12th Graders Prepare for the Future with PSAT Testing
Community News
Hebrew Language Literature Projects
Florida Citrus Sale Through November 7
News from the Upper School Judaic Studies Coordinator
7th Grade Chinese Moon Festival
CTA's Fall Book Fair is Coming - November 7-14
Kindergarten Open House
Steak Dinner
Hebrew Storytime
Advertise in Dateline
Parshat Lech Lecha Quiz
Join Our Mailing List
By Elana Katz

Avraham is famously called "Avram Ha-Ivri." Ha-Ivri literally means "the one who stands on the other side." The Gemara explains that the entire world stood on one side, while Avraham firmly stood on the other. It is most commonly assumed that this moniker is attributed to Avraham after he stood up against Nimrod and the pagan lifestyle by smashing all of his father's idols. Surprisingly though, Avraham is first called "Avram Ha-Ivri" in connection with rescuing Lot after he had been taken captive in war.


Our parsha recounts the story of four kings who were overcome by five others. In this war, Lot, Avraham's nephew, was captured. Upon hearing this news, Avraham rushed to save Lot, and for this he is called an "Ivri." For this act, he symbolized something opposite of the world belief.


As I read the parsha, I began to wonder why this was so impressive. Was it not more impressive that he was willing to risk his life there and smash the idols that everyone worshipped? Why was he not called the "Ivri?" In discussion with one of my mentors, we arrived at the following conclusion:


In pagan times, might symbolized power. The pagan value system dictated that stronger was always better; the stronger god is the one that must be worshipped. As such, war was a means of demonstrating one's strength and might. There was no consideration for the damage that it caused. Wars were fought to conquer land and to attest to the strength of a nation.         


When Avraham risked his life to save Lot, he was the first person to save another with no personal benefit attached to it. He went to fight because he was just and was witnessing an injustice. There is no prior record in the Torah of anyone risking their life for another, especially in a case where there was no personal benefit. Avraham went as an underdog to challenge the aggressors, in a situation where he could have easily turned away.


Avraham began to spread the message that the world does not run on an idea of subjective social justice- rather on values of chessed and mishpat as defined by Hashem. While social standards are subjective from culture to culture, Avraham stood for the only objective standard. He rescued Lot because we help those in need. We put ourselves out for others, even under trying circumstances. We recognize that people were created in the image of G-d, and therefore, must be treated well.


After the war, the King of Sodom wanted to pay tribute to Avraham for saving him and his kingdom. Avraham's response was: "don't pay tribute to me- pay tribute to Hashem, the Maker of the heaven and the earth."

Avraham concretized the lesson that mankind had already proven: we are not capable of setting the standards for chessed and mishpat. In the ten generations from Adam to Noach, mankind could not coexist because there were no objective standards of just social behavior, and thus, were punished with the flood. In the next set of ten generations from Noach to Nimrod, the world proved again that we can not flourish without an objective set of values, and were punished with the mixing of their languages.


By risking his life in a situation where he had nothing to gain, Avraham merited to be called an "Ivri." By recognizing the inherent worth of each and every person, and going to all extremes to save them, Avraham taught us how valuable those who are created in the image of G-d are. As a captive, Lot would have been considered worthless and devoid of all might. Yet, our subjective defintions of worth are not true. Only the values determined by Hashem are objective and are worth teaching and being taught, as these are the only values that will bring about good in the world.


For all generations, Avraham's children will always be standing opposite the ideas and norms of so-called social justice in order to stand up for true justice and true kindness. The importance of learning Torah and a proper Jewish education is even more important today as we are bombarded with subjective standards of values through the various means of social media. We have inherited an important job: not only to be the ones standing on the opposite side of the argument and the culture, but to be those who stand for true justice and true kindness.

Sunday, November 2:  Daylight Savings Time Ends; turn clocks back 1 hour
Monday, November 3: Macaroni & Cheese-Volunteer: Y. Levi
Tuesday, November 4: Tacos-Volunteer: L. Schottenstein
Wednesday, November 5: Pizza-Volunteer: S. Blumenfeld
Prospective Kindergarten Parent Open House, 7pm
Thursday, November 6: Chicken Cutlets-Volunteer: M. Napper
Prospective Kindergarten Parent Open House, 9:30am
Friday, November 7: Fish Sticks-Volunteer: K. Abelman
2:00pm Friday Dismissal Schedule Begins

Wednesday, November 12:  Parent-Teacher Conferences, Grades K-12 -


November 7, 10-14: Scholastic Book Fair

November 16-20:  8th Grade Washington Trip

All of November: Scholastic Book Fair On-Line

CTA Scrip Office, 864-0299 ext. 212
Monday-Friday- 7:30am-4pm

There are remaining gift cards in stock that can be purchased!  Below is a list of what we have on-hand and in what denominations.  There are limited quantities.  Email your order request to:

We are still able to place special orders, just email or call in your specifics.  We will give you an approximate expectation for the order to arrive.  


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.  

OFFICE MAX:  Do you shop at Office Max?  Help CTA earn money off of your purchases by using our Max Perks card number during your purchase.  The 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.  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.  

Apples for Students at Giant Eagle:  If you are a Giant Eagle shopper, 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. 


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


Nathan Lever (8th Grade Class of '98) and Rebecca (Lever) Ribakow (8th

   Grade Class of '00) on the engagement of their sister, Kayla Lever to

   Yehuda Kent

Joey Schwarz (Class of '04) and Henry and Candi Schwarz on the birth of

   son and grandson

Sarah Epstein Barth (Class of '00) on the birth of a daughter, Chaya

   Tzipora and to the grandparents Rabbi Joel and Janice Epstein


Parent-Teacher Conferences will take place on Wednesday, November 12, 2014.  There will be NO school on that day.  Please email Norma Whitmyre at by Tuesday, Nov. 11, to schedule your conferences. PLEASE BE SURE TO INCLUDE THE TEACHERS YOU WANT TO SEE AND THE TIME YOU WOULD LIKE TO START.


This year, Mr. Charles Kramer celebrates his 20 year milestone as a faculty member at Columbus Torah Academy.  He will be recognized for that achievement at our upcoming annual Scholarship Dinner. 


With a humble and devoted approach, Mr. Kramer has guided his Upper School students through various levels of mathematics from 7th grade Math to AP Calculus classes.  His experienced methods and personal excitement for the subject of math have inspired students and encouraged them to strive for excellence in the field.  His students can recall his love of the chalkboard, his willingness to stay after school to give students extra help, his motivating extra credit logic puzzles, his challenging 3-D geometric constructs and, most of all, his near iconic briefcase. 


Ad space in the Tribute Journal is available to show your appreciation to Mr. Kramer or there is a Tribute page for $18 listings.  Contact for more information or to reserve space.


Deadline extended for Ad Book:  The new deadline is Monday, November 10 to turn in contracts for Ads for the Tribute Journal honoring Julius and Mary Ann Vargo & Family, William Batchelder and Patty Sapp.  Contracts are available by clicking here in the e-Dateline.


Tributes/Listings:  Be a part of the Tributes and Listings in the Journal.  Tributes include memorials for members of the CTA family that we have lost this year and honorary pages for Mr. Kramer as he celebrates 20 years at CTA.  There are also Yeladim, Grandparent, Memorial and Alumni pages.  All Tributes and Listings are $18.  Form included by clicking here in the e-Dateline.


Following Sukkot, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade science classes integrated our recent fall holidays and etrogim into their science learning.  The 3rd grade observed the changes to an etrog that had been submerged in water for 5 days.  The students compared its length, circumference, and mass after 5 days in water to those measurements before being submerged in water.  The 4th grade extracted seeds from an etrog to see if the seeds will sprout on wet cotton balls faster than on dry cotton balls.  The sprouted seeds will be used to grow etrog saplings!  The 5th graders identified if an etrog contains enough electrical energy to light a small light bulb.    Great experiments and scientific learning take place in Mrs. Lerner's Spectacular Science classes. Pictured is the bulletin board outside the Lower School science lab with some of the classes data graphs.



On Wednesday, October 29th, CTA 10th and 11th graders took the PSAT. For 11th graders, their score gives them a good indication of what their scores will be on the real SAT. For 10th graders, it's just good exposure so that they have a real idea of what the test is all about. Generally, students take the SAT and/or ACT for the first time in the Winter/Spring of 11th grade, allowing time to re-take it if they wish. All colleges accept both ACT or SAT, but an increasing number of colleges are becoming "score optional." Often in the news, the College Board is introducing a redesigned SAT in the Spring of 2016. The corresponding redesigned PSAT will be available in the Fall of 2015. 


COMMUNITY KRISTALLNACHT COMMEMORATION - Butterfly: A Musical Journey of Hope; a world premiere of Gary William Friedman's Butterfly, a new musical setting of seven poems of the children of Terezin. Sunday, Nov. 9, 4:00 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Gloria Dei Worship Center, 2199 E. Main St. 


Students in Morah Dina and Morah Kelly's 7/8 grade Hebrew language class and 11th grader, Josh Wolf are reading a book called Eight Against One (a chapter book they will be reading all year). It is about a group of children living on a kibbutz in Israel during the British Mandate period. The 7th and 8th graders were each assigned characters from the book to learn more about.  In collaboration with Art Teacher, Amy Neiwirth, the students created a mask of their character which reflect the Hebrew descriptions of either physical features or personalities. The masks are adorning the wall in the hallway outside the library.  Josh designed a beautiful poster of seven of the children from Eight Against One which is also hanging in the hallway.  Pictured are some of the students.  


Help support the CTA eighth grade's trip to Washington, D.C. by participating in our annual Fruit Sale! We have partnered with Florida Indian River Groves to provide you with the freshest fruit available. Your fruit will be harvested the very same day it`s shipped to us, ensuring that you receive fruit that is hours off of the tree. Delivery will be by the second week of December. Now`s the time to pick up a box of Navel Oranges or Tangelos that are sure to be bursting with flavor or a box of sugar-sweet, Indian River Red Grapefruit.   These delectable fruits are perfect for holiday gifts, for saying thank you to someone, for your Shabbat table or just for a healthy snack for your family.  Everyone loves Fresh Fruit from Florida! ORDER ONLINE at:  Questions? Email Agi Hartstein at: 

By Rabbi Zecharia Weitz

Weitz Teachers in Training: Our current 8th graders spent significant time last year mastering core Gemara concepts; from navigating the page to understanding the different eras of the Sages and commentaries. This year, using thoughtfulness and creativity, the 8th grade girls designed a project for their 7th grade counterparts to enable them to master this vital information. Complete with a comprehensive rubric, instructions, examples of possible project models, and hands on support, our class was transformed into a buzzing community of learners. In addition to being a lot of fun, the 7th graders internalized this requisite knowledge and the 8th graders sharpened their understanding through teaching it to others.


Here are some examples of the variety of projects submitted: Left - "Gemara Jeopardy" from Bella Abelman, right - a color-coded cake version of the Gemara page layout from Gillian Herszage, Jane Shevkin and Shylee Delman. Chaya Batya Deitsch and Simmy Kaltmann created a clay puzzle game of the Gemara page (no picture available, sorry!)


Food for Thought: The sequence of events leading up to the start of our nation are befuddling: Avram and Sarai emerge as righteous bearers of G-d's embassy on Earth. But they "happen to be" baren. Before addressing the issue, Hashem commands Avram only one mitzva - over 400 hundred years before the other 612(!), brit milah. Hashem changes their names to Avraham and Sara and then, finally, Yitzchak, the continuity. How do these 3 seemingly extrinsic factors speak to the essence of Klal Yisroel, the Jewish People?


Following their study of Ancient China, Mrs. Moreno's 7th grade Social Studies class held a Chinese Moon Festival replete with fortune cookies, oolong tea and egg rolls.  As part of the culmination of their unit on Ancient China, the students were privileged to enjoy a power point +presentation by Kim Ableman, mother of 7th grader, Bella (and Marc and Leilah) who lived in Hong Kong for several years.  The students also read about the Chinese Years and in what year they were born:  most were dogs. In addition the students made paper lanterns, learned about China now and the origins of the Moon Festival holiday, and practiced their chopsticks skills.




Reading for pleasure in and out of school has real and long-lasting benefits.  It unlocks the power of information and imagination and helps children discover who they are.   Here are a few things you can do to help children develop stronger reading skills and a love for reading:



*        Set the example.  Let children see you read.

*        Read to your children.  Let them read to you. 

*        Let your child have a voice in choosing what they read.

*        Have books at home and update this collection routinely to keep

         pace with changing tastes and reading skills.


Our Scholastic Book Fair is a reading event that brings to school the books kids want to read. It's a wonderful selection of engaging and affordable books for every reading level. Please make plans to visit our Book Fair and be involved in shaping your child's reading habits.


Book Fair dates:     Nov. 7 - 14

Shopping hours:    10 - 3   School days  (Closing Nov. 14 at 1:00)

Special activities:   Open Nov. 12, Conference Day  9 - 3:30


Before visiting the Fair, you can download the Book Fairs app to help you find the right books for your child.  For more information, visit: And for even more books or if you are can't come to the Fair, visit our online Book Fair at   Our online Fair is available Nov. 1 - 21. We look forward to seeing you and your family at our Book Fair!  If you want to be a fair volunteer and earn Give and Get?  Contact  Remember, all purchases benefit our school.  








By demand, the E-Dateline will now be offering advertising space in its weekly newsletter.  Space is limited and rates are weekly as follows:


Weekly Dateline Sponsorship $150 (includes tribute line at top of newsletter)


Full Weekly E-Dateline Sponsorship:  $150 - Name at top

Full Size Submission:  $75 - size is 780 x 432 pixels/10 x 6"

Half Size Submission:  $50 - size is 390x 216 pixels/5.4 x 3"

1/3 Size Submission:  $30 - size is 260 x 144 pixels/3.6 x 2"


Rates are weekly and all submissions must be received by Wednesday at noon.  At this time advertising is only available in the e-Dateline, not paper version.  Advertising submissions are subject to content review. Contact for more information. 

1.  What benefits did G-d promise Avraham if he would leave his home?
a.  He would become a great nation, his excellence would become known to the world, and he would be blessed with wealth.

2.  "And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you." What does this mean?
a.  A person will say to his child, "You should be like Avraham."

3.  Who were the souls that Avraham and Sarah "made?"?
a.  People they converted to the worship of G-d.

4.  What were the Canaanites doing in the Land of Canaan when Avraham arrived?

a.   They were in the process of conquering the land from the descendants of Shem.


5.   Why did Avraham build an altar at Ai?

a.   He foresaw the Jewish People's defeat there in the days of Yehoshua. He built an altar to pray for them.


6.   What two results did Avraham hope to achieve by saying that Sarah was his sister?

a.   That the Egyptians would not kill him, and would give him presents.


7.   Why did Avraham's shepherds rebuke Lot's shepherds?

a.   Lot's shepherds grazed their flocks in privately owned fields.


8.   Who was Amrafel and why was he called that?

a.   Amrafel was Nimrod. He said (amar) to Avraham to fall (fel) into the fiery furnace.


9.     Verse 14:7 states that the four kings "smote all the country of the Amalekites." How is this possible, since Amalek had not yet been born?

a.   The Torah uses the name that the place would bear in the future.


10.   Why did the "palit" tell Avraham of Lot's capture?

a.   He wanted Avraham to die trying to save Lot so that he himself could marry Sarah.


11.  Who accompanied Avraham in battle against the four kings?

a.   His servant, Eliezer.


12.  Why couldn't Avraham chase the four kings past Dan?

a.   He saw prophetically that his descendants would make a golden calf there, and as a result his strength failed.


13.  Why did Avraham give "ma'aser" specifically to Malki-Tzedek?

a.   Because Malki-Tzedek was a kohen.


14.  Why didn't Avraham accept any money from Sodom's king?

a.   G-d had promised Avraham wealth, and Avraham didn't want Sodom's King to say, "I made Avraham wealth."


15.  When did the decree of 400 years of exile begin?

a.   With the birth of Yitzchak.


(Parsha Lech Lecha Quiz originally appeared on the Ohr Somayach


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