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

February 13, 2015

        24 Shevat  5775

  Candlelighting 5:47 p.m.
This Week on E-Dateline
Dvar Torah by Rabbi Jon Savaage
Preview of the Week
Dates to Remember
Scrip Update
Give & Get
Model UN
Volunteer Day Postponed
News from the Lower School Judaic Studies Department
News from the Upper School Judaic Studies Department
CTA Videos
Grandparent & Special Persons Day Recap
Are you Eligible? EdChoice and Expansion Scholarships
EdChoice Scholarship Program Fact Sheet
Basketball Highlights
Wahoo! Kindergarten Preview Day a Success
Lower School Computer Lab Takes on Common Core and OnLine Testing
PTO Purim Cards
Important Purim Information
Purim Carnival
Meet an IDF Officer
Purple Teen Party
Community News
Advertise in Dateline
Parshat Mishpatim Quiz
A Riddle From Israel
Join Our Mailing List
By Rabbi Jon Savage

In his opening commentary to the Book of Shemot, Nachmanidies describes how the inherent theme of the entire Book is one of redemption. After all, it is called Exodus. At the outset, we understand how Nachmanidies can make such a claim since the beginning of the book completely deals with the Jewish plight in Egypt and G-d's miraculous demonstration of Divine power - culminating with our amazing redemption from Egypt. The question that begs to be asked is how does the middle and end of Shemot deal with Geulah, or redemption? The middle parshiyot deal with the giving of the Torah and transmission of our Law, while the ending deals with the commandment to not only build the Tabernacle, but also with its many intricate designs and appurtenances. How does the giving of the Torah and the construction of the Tabernacle relate to our theme of freedom and redemption?


The Ramban gives a very deep answer to this question. He explains how the true expression of geulah/redemption is not merely one of physical freedom; rather it must also have an expression of Hashra'at Hashechina, or bringing G-d into our lives. True redemption was not just punishing our tormentors and escaping Egypt with a bang, it was also a pathway toward a connection with G-d. Therefore, the giving of the Torah and the building of the Mishkan actually complete the sefer (book) hageulah/redemption as they represent the manifestation of the Shechina (Divine presence) in to the world. The giving of the Torah is that direct link between the will of G-d and our service towards Him. His revelation at Sinai is a clear demonstration of G-d "desiring" us to make a connection with Him. This notion culminated in the establishment of the Tabernacle. The Mishkan was to be a place on Earth where G-d can reveal Himself and have a "home" with His people. The Mishkan was a place where one could experience a true connection with the Almighty, the final piece of the amazing story of our Exodus from Egypt.


If one were to break down each and every Parsha in Sefer Shemot, one would see the words of the Ramban coming to fruition. However, there is one Parsha that clearly seems to be out of place or out of theme; that is Mishpatim! What do the details of money, damages, slavery, the way we speak, own property, etc. have to do with either our physical or spiritual freedom? Imagine the feeling of the Jewish nation as they leave the tyranny of Pharaoh; finally after so many years of persecution and back-breaking labor - they are free. They witness a plethora of miracles that defy physics and nature, they see the Hand of G-d openly, and at Har Sinai they buy into this concept of Torah with their proclamation "Naaseh V'Nishma," "we will do and we will hear." Finally they are given the Law, and when opened it is seemingly a rulebook with law after law, restriction after restriction.  They must have thought we are going from one ruler to another. How was this the freedom that they were promised? How was this the redemption for which they so longed?

I believe the answer can be found directly in the theme of the Parsha - laws and restrictions. As individuals, the Torah does place many restrictions upon us. No stealing, no adultery, no negative speech, etc. Life may seem restrictive on the individual level, but as a whole, as a nation, we prosper and strive from these laws. Society seems almost utopian when we are all willing to sacrifice our own pleasures or forbidden pursuits when it comes at the expense of our neighbors. We restrict ourselves on the individual level, but as a nation, we strive and live without the fear of being hurt or damaged. We inconvenience ourselves a bit by making life better for those around us. When everyone, on the communal level, acts in such a way, we all prosper and we all feel the freedom.


In essence, Mishpatim is the one Parsha that actually makes the most sense when it comes to redemption and freedom. It is the one Parsha that was designed to make life not only amazing for us as individuals by connecting to Hashem, but also by providing an amazing life by connecting to each other. Shabbat Shalom.


Monday, February 16:  President's Day - NO SCHOOL

Tuesday, February 17: Tacos-Volunteer: L. Hoffman

Wednesday, February 18:  Lasagna-Volunteer: L. Blumberg

Thursday, February 19: BBQ Chicken-Volunteer: B. Martin

Friday, February 20: Tuna-Volunteer: K. Abelman

Enrollment Agreements Due


Sunday, February 22:  Chag HaChumash, Grade 2, 9:30am

Friday, February 27:  1st Grade Iditarod

Monday, March 2:  Executive Board Meeting, 7:30pm

Thursday, March 5: Purim Festivities, Grades K-12, 1:00pm Dismissal

Sunday, March 8:  Daylight Savings Time, time clocks ahead 1 hour

Monday, March 16: Miss Chocolate Sale Ends


Basketball Season is coming to an end! 


Monday, February 16

2nd Annual CTA HS Basketball Winter Classic

Game #1, 5:30pm

Game #2, 7:00pm



Tuesday, February 17

2nd Annual CTA HS Basketball Winter Classic

Varsity Boys, 5:30pm

Game #2, 7:00pm


Wednesday, February 18 - Sunday, February 22

Girls Varsity Tournament in Miami, FL

CTA Scrip Office, 864-0299 ext. 212
Monday-Thursday:  7:30am-4pm
Friday:  7:30am-2pm

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

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!



CTA students were privileged to attend the recent Yeshiva University's 25st National Model U.N. (YUNMUN) along with hundreds of high school students from around the world who debated important issues as part of a forum on February 8-10 at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in Stamford, Conn. The Yeshiva University National Model United Nations (YUNMUN) is a student-run simulation of the workings of the real United Nations that gives students an opportunity to experience and learn about the complex landscape of international diplomacy.  The CTA delegation (and those of us at home) took great pride in seeing the proceedings run by Secretary General, Aaron Portman, CTA alumnus from the High School class of 2011.  Playing the roles of delegates to actual United Nations member nations, participants represent a variety of positions, often ones with which they may not agree. In advocating for a given country, students must conduct thorough research of that country's interests and policies across a wide range of issues and concerns, adding both to their knowledge of world affairs and to their appreciation of and facility with research, preparation, communication and critical evaluation.


Pictured is the CTA delegation (Susie Wilhelm, Becky Portman, Orri Benatar, Josh Needleman, Roston Shore and Zach Sukienik) who attended with faculty advisor/teacher, Mr. Tim Pray and Upper School Principal, Eliza Delman.  This program is funded by the Jewish Education and Literacy Fund of the Columbus Jewish Foundation.


(Clean-up Torah Academy) volunteer days for this Monday, February 16 (President's Day) has been postponed due to the weather.  Please mark Sunday, March 22 from 10 am to 3 pm on your calendar for another day to do some brush and small tree removal around the back of the school building - and earn some Give and Get.  For more info or to RSVP, contact Norm Leist, at [email protected].


1st 2015 Columbus Baseball Invitational Planning Meeting scheduled for this Tuesday, February 17 has been postponed.  The new date will be announced via email.  If you would like to be on the committee (a great way to earn Give & Get), contact Lisa Kaufman, CBI Event Coodinator at [email protected]

By Dror Karavani, Lower School Judaic Studies Coordinator


Starting next week, during parshat ha'shavuah classes, we will learn the parshiot about building the mishkan.  The students will learn about the building, the unique vessels that were placed in it and, of course, about the Kohanim, their clothing and their works.  The sixth grade students have already started to learn about the mishkan and Kohanim.  They studied the details of the keilim with Morah Elana and placed information about them on tri-fold boards.  These will be used to teach younger children about the mishkan.  In addition, together with our art teacher Ms. Neiwerth, they have built wonderful models of the vessels (the menorah, the ark, etc.). You will be able to see all of that and more in a special exhibit.  Stay tuned.


By Rabbi Zecharia Weitz, Upper School Judaic Studies Coordinator

WeitzStealing Time

Rav Moshe Feinstein, of blessed bemory, would tell yeshiva students that in order to become a talmid chacham (Torah scholar), one needs to "steal time". In other words, there is simply not enough time to master all of the Torah, we need to create pockets time whenever possible.


In the Junior High, we took advantage of one of those moments: For a week or so in January, the 7th grade was busy working on their celebrated Shakespeare production. This left the 8th grade with half empty classes; a pocket of time! We cover so much Torah over the 12 years of day school but there is so much more we simply can't fit in. Naturally, we seized the moment to tackle some topics that were of particular interest to our class; berachot.


Our 8th grade girls conducted an in depth analysis of our lunch menu to determine the correct berachot procedures. They then created illustrated beracha posters to be hung in the cafeteria so that the rest of the school would benefit from their research. 


The 8th grade boys tackled the "other berachot"; those berachot that many know little about or may not even know exist: The correct berachot on fragrant trees versus herbs versus fragrant foods, in addition to the berachot on natural phenomenon like lightening and thunder. Our "Beracha Bodega" is pictured at left.


Food for Thought: The following question was asked to me by Noah Ziv (10th grade): Until now, the Torah has been basically a storyline. However, beginning last week with the Aseret HaDibrot (Ten Commandments) and increasing exponentially this parsha, is the emphasis on the laws. What is the reason for this shift in focus? 


Check out the videos of school events and activities.  Most events are recorded for your later enjoyment and can be viewed at the ColumbusTorah Youtube page.  Recently added videos include: Grandparents and Special Persons Day and the Kindergarten Breishit Siyum.  These are not glossy productions, but wonderful reminders of these milestone events of our students.


CTA Grandparent Special Person Day 2015
CTA Grandparent Special Person Day 2015


CTA Kindergarten Siyum 2015
CTA Kindergarten Siyum 2015




Last Friday was a special day for our Lower School as they welcomed Grandparents and Special Persons to our school for a short program and activities in the classrooms.  The special adults in our student's lives enrich their learning and their experiences learning about their heritage and traditions.  Visitors and students participated in classroom activities that ranged from using math manipulatives to playing Hebrew language games and more.  The purpose of GPSPD is to expand our school community beyond our faculty, students, and parents to engage a wider cross section.  Showing off our wonderful program and great facility empowers everyone with pride in CTA.  Thank you for the faculty support and parent volunteers who made it successful.  A special thank you to teachers Mary Lynn Buster and Cheri Friedman for their help to make it happen.  Enjoy the short video of the student's presentation at� 



State vouchers are a benefit to many of our families and help with tuition.  There are two types of EdChoice scholarships: 1) the "traditional" EdChoice scholarship, based on students either attending or being assigned to attend a poor performing eligible school and 2) the "expansion" EdChoice scholarship, for students entering grades K-2 who are not eligible for the traditional EdChoice scholarship and whose family meets the income requirements. Any student who is eligible for the traditional EdChoice scholarship must apply for that one. Students can only apply for the expansion scholarship if they are not eligible for the traditional EdChoice scholarship and they meet the other expansion eligibility criteria.


For Parents Renewing Vouchers:  (1) Complete the renewal form mailed to you; (2) Provide proof of current address; (3) Turn in both items to Norma Whitmyre by Friday, March 20, 2015. 


For Parents Enrolling Their Children for the First Time: (1) Complete an EdChoice Scholarship Request Form; (2) Provide a copy of the child's birth certificate; (3) Provide proof of current address; (4) Turn in all 3 items to Norma Whitmyre by Friday, March 20, 2015.


For Families That Qualify Based on the Federal Poverty Guidelines: (1) Complete an EdChoice Scholarship Request Form; (2) Complete an Income Verification Form and mail to the EdChoice Office, 25 S. Front St., MS309, Columbus, OH 43215 along with supporting income documents.


All information and forms for the 2015-2016 school year regarding the EdChoice Scholarships can be found on the EdChoice website at




Varsity Boys:  Last week's "Senior Night" highlighted the members of the Varsity Boy's Basketball team who will be graduating this year.  Coach Byron Allgood shared heartfelt words about each of the players and Mr. Bailey expressed appreciation to Orri Benatar who has been recording and calling the games over the years. 


Varsity Girls:  The Lady Lions will be heading to Miami, Florida for the 10th Annual RASGHA Basketball Tournament from February 18-22.  Watch for more information on Facebook.


Middle School Boys:  Our middle school boys played an amazing game last week with a buzzer beater vs Liberty Christian in the last few seconds of the game to win by 1 point. 


Middle School Girls:  Our girls won their recent tournament game to proceed to the semi-finals of the tournament and finished a respectable 10 out of 15 in the league.  




Twenty-one potential kindergarteners for Fall 2015 from area preschools spent the morning this week at CTA in our annual Kindergarten Preview Day.  The morning highlighted our faculty and included stories and songs about Tu B'Shevat with Moreh Dror, activities in the classroom with the teachers and "veteran" kindergartners, a hamburger lunch and fun with Mr. Bailey.  Pictured are some of the adorable incoming kindergartners.  Applications are still being accepted.  Please contact Shari with any perspectives.


As the State of Ohio's standardized testing is moving away from the pencil and paper format, at some point in the future students will be taking standardized tests online.  The lower school has begun to prepare students for online testing by piloting a program called Scootpad. It is an interactive site that not only prepares students for online testing but provides teachers with real time feedback on student performance in Mathematics and Language Arts.


So far the Fifth and Sixth Grade students have been testing the mathematics portion with great success! Students have been using their computer class time to learn how to navigate through math problems online. They are able to work at their own pace and challenge themselves with mathematic concepts that are based on the Common Core Curriculum.


Teachers can design the program to automatically assign personalized learning paths or they can manually select Common Core Curriculum elements for students. With either method, teachers can track each student's performance and adjust online learning levels accordingly. This is an ideal platform for differentiated learning, allowing both accelerated learning and remediation to take place simultaneously.


In just the past two weeks teachers and students have learned much about online learning and testing. We hope to expand our pilot program to other grades in the coming weeks.












For those who think Columbus is "a cow town," Congregation Ahavas Sholom says "It's a kosher cow-town!" Columbus's first ever Kosher Food Festival will be on Sunday, February 15 from 11 AM until 3 PM, at Ahavas Shalom.   Local vendors will be displaying and selling kosher food and other products available in central Ohio. Come, taste and buy gourmet cheeses from Kosher614 and baked goods from Matt's Bakery.  Satisfy your craving for thin mints by buying Girl Scout cookies. Silver Spoons, Etc. will be selling beautiful, reasonably priced paper goods for your next dinner or party. Raffle tickets are being sold for $5 and include prizes from Bexley Natural Market, Costco, and the Breslov Center.  Admission is free but sorry no children under 12 admitted.  Vendor space is still available. Please contact [email protected] for more information. 


Brachos Bash 2015 on Sunday, February 15, 10-11am, at the Columbus Community Kollel for boys and girls in grades K-5. For more information, contact Rabbi Alt at [email protected] or 237-7133.


Gallery Players at the JCC presents Les Miserables with CTA students Rosie Kalef and Yaakov Newman, CTA parent Rick Cohen, and CTA alum Aaron Shatz.  Performance dates are: Saturday, March 14, 21 & 28, Sundays, March 15, 22 and 29 and Thursday, March 18 and 25. If you would like to come for a discounted rate of $15.00 on Sunday, March 22 (note: date change), at 2:30 p.m., please contact Norma Whitmyre at [email protected]. Tickets for other performances can be purchased by calling the JCC at 614.231.2731 or by visiting

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


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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 [email protected] for more information. 


1)    In what context is a mezuzah mentioned in this week's parsha?

a)  If a Hebrew servant desires to remain in servitude, his owner brings him "to the doorpost mezuzah" to pierce his ear.


2)    What special mitzvah does the Torah give to the master of a Hebrew maidservant?

a)  The opportunity to marry her.


3)    From where in this week's parsha can the value of physical labor be demonstrated?

a)    From the "five times" penalty for stealing an ox and slaughtering it. This fine is seen as a special punishment for preventing the owner from plowing with his own ox.


4)    What is meant by the words "If the sun shone on him"?

a)    If it's as clear as the sun that the intruder has no intent to kill.


5)    A person is given an object for safe-keeping. Later, he swears it was stolen. Witnesses come and say that in fact he is the one who stole it. How much must he pay?

a)    Double value of the object.


6)    A person borrows his employee's car. The car is struck by lightning. How much must he pay?

a)    Nothing.


7)    Why is lending money at interest called "biting"?

a)     Interest is like a snake bite. Just as the snake's venom is not noticed at first but soon overwhelms the person, so too interest is barely noticeable until it accumulates to an overwhelming sum.


8)    Non-kosher meat, "treifa," is preferentially fed to dogs. Why?

a)     As a "reward" for their silence during the plague of the first-born.


(Parsha Mishpatim 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.


What is the connection between the picture and the parasha? Look in Chapter 22, Verse 30. You will find the answer there.




This week's riddle winner: Natalie Slutsky


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