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

March 13, 2015

        22 Adar  5775

  Candlelighting 7:18 p.m.
This Week on E-Dateline
Dvar Torah by Rabbi Yosef Hauser
Town Hall Meeting
Preview of the Week
Dates to Remember
Scrip Update
Give & Get
News from the Lower School Judaic Studies Department
Condolences To
Spring Fling Planning Committee
Writers Workshop
Letters in Literature
Teacher Feature - Dr. Matthew Kennedy
PSAS Tuition Assistance Forms Due
Are you Eligible? EdChoice and Expansion Scholarships
Shishi Ivrit
Purim Thoughts From the 5th Grade
Physics Class Puts Text to Song
Frankenstein Trial Underway During Block Periods
2nd Grade Happenings
Clean-Up Torah Academy-Earn Give & Get
Art to Remember
Jewish Women's Renaissance Project
Community News
Advertise in Dateline
Parshat Vayak'hel Pekudei Quiz
Join Our Mailing List
By Rabbi Yosef Hauser

This week we finish the book of Shemot (Exodus) by repeating how the B'nei Yisrael gathered and built the Mishkan.  We can ask: Why does the Torah repeat how this small portable building was built? Indeed, Rabbi Yeshahayu Leibowitz asks an even stronger question: Why does the Torah use only 31 verses to create the entire world but uses some 400 verses to create a small temporary building that the B'nai Yisrael used only for a short time?  This seems vastly out of proportion!  What is it about this Mishkan that Hashem spends so much time in His Torah describing it and how it was built? What lesson do we learn from this?


Rabbi Leibowitz answers his question as follows: The Torah's purpose is not to give us detailed information about the creation of the world but to tell us of mankind's significance within the framework of this world; that we are to use this world to serve Him. Hashem spends more time in His Torah glorifying how His people use this world to serve Him by building a temporary building than how long it took Him to create the world! The Torah writes in this Parasha over and over again that the B'nai Yisrael built this or that "as Hashem commanded them". This is to emphasize that the greatness of the B'nai Yisrael is that they built this building only by doing what He commanded of them.  Over and over Hashem uses His Torah to praise how we use this world to serve Him; this is our purpose for being in this world. Indeed, the whole purpose of the Mishkan is to serve Hashem!


Rabbi Leibowitz's point is that the Torah is not a book of theology but a book of action. The physical world that Hashem created in 34 verses is indifferent to the goals, beliefs, hopes and visions of people. What matters to Hashem is the actions we do to perform His Mitzvot; how we use our creativity, our talents, material wealth and wisdom to further the goals that Hashem has set for us. Therefore Hashem spends a considerable amount of time in his Torah describing how we did so. I believe that the Torah is inspiring us to use our strengths and talents today to further Hashem's goals by finding the best ways to educate our children in His Torah. There are so many resources today for finding new and creative ways to inspire our children to learn Torah! May we find the strength and creativity to always use these resources for service of Hashem.  Shabbat Shalom!


Please plan to join us next Thursday, March 19, at 7:00 pm for a Town Hall Meeting at CTA. At this informative program we will review the accomplishments thus far for the current school year and discuss plans for the future growth of CTA.  As always, questions and comments from attendees will be encouraged.


Monday, March 16:  Macaroni & Cheese-Volunteer: W. Almasanu

OGT Exam, Grade 10, all week

Tuesday, March 17: Chicken Nuggets-Volunteer: L. Hoffman

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

Thursday, March 19: Meatball Subs-Volunteer: R. Topolosky

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

Lower School Dress Down Day

End of 3rd Quarter

PSAS Financial Assistance Forms Due

EdChoice Forms Due


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

Wednesday, April 1: Model Seders; 2:00pm Dismissal

April 2-10: Passover Break - NO SCHOOL

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:  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!


By Dror Karavani, Lower School Judaic Studies Coordinator


Hinei matov u'manayim shevet achim gam yachad - One of the main values of Judaism is chessed, kindness. "Le'Oro Nelech" is an Israeli organization that works with Israeli high school students on many different chessed programs.  As part of their activities, we are very excited and privileged to be part of a new project between our school and a yeshiva high school in Israel. In the week before Purim, the first and fourth graders skyped with our "big brothers" in Israel. It was so nice to see the interaction between the two groups as they were singing together and playing riddles and games.  This is another opportunity for us to emphasize the connection and the love to the state and people of Israel. Our next skype with them will be next week as part of our preparation for Pesach. 


Compu-tefilah- The fourth graders tefilah keeps surprising us again... Lead by Morah Sharon the fourth graders are sharpening their computer skills and are integrating them into their tefilah skills.  Last week as part of their iyun tefilah (learning about prayer) they created tefilah clips that emphasizes the question they have been discussing in class, "How we can improve our davening?"  They, of course, have shared that with the younger grades. Yashar Koach. This is one example of our dynamic tefilah at CTA.  We will share more about the other grades in the future.Shabbat Shalom! 



Bruce Cohen (8th Grade Class of '70), Barry Cohen (8th Grade Class of

    '72) and Tammy (Cohen) Kaplan on the loss of their father, Eugene


Lisa and Seth Stavsky (8th Grade Class of '79), Jared Stavsky (Class of

    '12), Jonah Stavsky (Class of '14) and Tamar (8th Grade Class of '14)

    on the loss of mother and grandmother, Rosalyn Finkelstein


Want to take a leadership role to make the Lag BaOmer Spring Fling a great success?  Come to a planning meeting this Sunday, March 15 at 7:30 pm at Shari's house.  (address furnished upon request).  If you are interested in volunteering that day, a sign up will be coming out soon or email to volunteer.  Mark you calendar for Thursday, May 7 for Spring Fling Family Festival! 


Writer-in-Residence, Amy Greenberg, joined with the 2nd and 5th grade classes for the past two weeks for the Annual Writing Workshop.  The intensive workshop with this talented artist, gives the students a chance to focus on their writing development.  Second grade is emphasizing poetry and fifth is working on short stories.  Both will present their complete works and a compiled anthology at an April 27th Sharing Night for parents and the community beginning at 7 pm.  3rd and 4th grade classes also had the chance to work on their writing skills with Mrs. Greenberg.  Thank you to parent volunteers and teachers for their work on this program.  




Congratulations to 8th grade student, Hanna Wolfson, who is a semi-finalist in the Letters About Literature contest.  Hanna's letter was among the 165 letters that were advanced to the next level by the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress out of the 1,784 total letters which they had received from Ohio students.


In the contest students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to that author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally.  Hanna wrote to Laurie Halse Anderson, the author of Fever 1793, an historical fiction book about the epidemic of fever that swept through the streets of 1793 Philadelphia.  


CTA is proud of the Professional Contributions of Dr. Matthew Kennedy, Upper School Science teacher.


In February, Dr. Kennedy addressed Science teachers across the state at a modeling conference on "advances in AP Physics models of rotational dynamics". In March, at Eastern Kentucky University, he is addressing the regional meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers on the topic of "Alternative Approaches to Teaching Rotational Motion for High School Physics."


Other current accomplishments of Dr. Kennedy include being Vice-President of HS physics teachers for the Southern Ohio Section of the AAPT (American Association of Physics Teachers), Spring 2014-Spring 2017; Modeling Workshop Leader for the AMTA (American Modeling Teachers Association), Summer 2015, Chemistry; member of AMTA Biology Modeling National Curriculum Development Committee; College Board AP Physics Rater (Reader), selected but not yet assigned for the reading.

Reminder, PSAS Financial Assistance forms are due Friday, March 20.

If you would like to apply for ANY level of financial assistance, you must complete the appropriate PSAS (Private School Aid Service).  All deadlines must be adhered to. Forms are available online at or you can apply and submit all information online at


Please note, PSAS will assess a $30 late fee for all applications received after March 20.  CTA will assess a $500 late fee for all non-kindergarten applications received after March 20.


The financial assistance form and documentation should be mailed, faxed or uploaded directly to PSAS along with a copy of your 2014 W-2's and 2014 1099's and, if available, 2014 tax return for their analysis. The results will be evaluated by the CTA Scholarship Committee.


If you have any questions about Financial Assistance or Payment Plans, contact Norman Leist at or 864-0299, ext. 200.


All information and forms for the 2015-2016 school year regarding the EdChoice Scholarships can be found on the CTA Website at under Downloadable Documents or the EdChoice website at http://edchoice.ohio.govForms are due to Norma by March 20.


Last Friday, the Hebrew department had a small Shishi Ivrit celebration for the month of Adar.  The Upper School classes enjoyed a Power Point presentation about the Purim story, received "the Best Student of the Month" award and finally learned and sang new Israeli folk songs.  Morah Eva awarded 11-12th grade Zack Sukienik, 9-10th grade Molly Cohen and 7-8th grade Addison Horwitz for best students of the month.  Morah Diana awarded 11-12 grade Josh Wolf , 9-10th grade Libby Klynn and 7-8th grade Isabella Abelman for best efforts and dedication. Morah Kelly Adar awarded 11-12th grade David Wolfson for excellence in achievements, Rosie Kalef for best adjustment and Batya Deitsch for excellence in class.  All students had a great time and enjoyed the activities. Looking forward to next month's Shishi Ivrit Nissan !!






Morah Elana's fifth grade class studied the Purim story from the perspective of "ve'nahapoch hu"- people or events that transformed and changed in an opposite manner. While many examples and themes of ve'nahapoch hu in the Purim story were studied, students were asked to write which example they thought represented the biggest or most impressive change.  To see some examples shared by Mina Schulman, Akiva Gisser, Cece Mastracci, Yaakov Newman and Eilyahu Ackerman, click here.


Ms. Meyer's Physics students exercised their creative side this week when they performed their self-created songs for their classmates. Ms. Meyer's 11th and 12th grade Physics course is currently learning about the different forms of energy. From catchy pop songs to raps about kinetic and potential energy, the students stole the spotlight! The "concert" was a big hit, and will announce tour dates soon!  To view a clip, click on image below. 

Physics Energy Songs
Physics Energy Songs
Submitted on behalf of Mr. Guinan's 11th and 12th Grade English classes

In legal news, the triple murder trial surrounding Victor Frankenstein began this week in the upper school. The one who responds to "The Creature," is accused of murdering the loved ones of his creator, Victor Frankenstein, the Geneva born scientist and anti hero of Mary Shelley's classic novel. The acrimonious trial conducted by Mr. Guinan's 11th and 12th grade classes has heard testimony from the various characters of the novel attempting to determine whether the individual or society is guilty of crimes committed therein. Judge Guinan, donning judicial garb that looks suspiciously like the CTA graduation robe, is ruling his courtroom with an iron fist. The verdict will be announced following jury deliberations next week. Stay tuned!  Throughout the year, double blocks are held at different class periods for all academic disciplines to make time for all classes to extend their learning.



In 2nd grade, as part of both Language Arts and Social Studies, the 2nd grade is studying "schools around the world". One of the ways they experienced this topic was with a discussion with Moreh Dror to learn about our sister school, the Shiloh School in Kfar Saba, Israel. We compared and contrasted topics like our school building, how we get to school, what we have for lunch and what subjects we study. We are looking forward to emailing Shiloh school to share photos and ask more questions.


Norm Leist, Chief Financial Officer of CTA, is hosting a volunteer day on Sunday, March 22 from 10 am to 2 pm to do some brush and small tree removal around the back of the school building.  The brush and small trees need to be cut back 10ft or so from the walkways around the backside of our building.  This is for maintenance, view, and security.  We are asking for men, women, and older children to help with the work.  You would need to wear appropriate clothing and bring gloves, pruners, tree saws and even a chainsaw if you have one.   We would like volunteers to prepare a lunch with sandwiches, chips, and drinks.   (Funding available) Norm and his two sons will be here to help with the work and oversee operations.  This is a great opportunity to work as a team to help CTA and to earn volunteer hours for Give & Get! Please email me, Norm Leist, at  if you plan on helping!








  Bunk Connect: Think of a website like Expedia or, but instead of using it to find vacation deals you use it to connect kids to Jewish camps.The Foundation for Jewish Camp in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Columbus is offering a new program offering first-time campers from middle- and lower-income families camp sessions at prices that are 40-80 percent below the camps' standard rates.The BunkConnect program has made available discounted slots at many known camps around Ohio and its discounts are available to kids who attend day school. BunkConnect is only available to children who have not previously attended a Jewish overnight camp.   Those interested in searching for discounts can do so at:


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1)    On which day did Moshe assemble the Jewish People?

a)  The day after Yom Kippur.


2)    Why is the prohibition against doing work on Shabbat written prior to the instruction for building the Mishkan?

a)  To emphasize that the building of the Mishkan doesn't supersede the laws of Shabbat.


3)    Why does the Torah specify the particular prohibition of lighting a fire on Shabbat right after it had already noted the general prohibition of doing work on Shabbat?

a)   There are two opinions: One opinion is to teach that igniting a fire on Shabbat is punishable by lashes as opposed to other "melachot" which are punishable by death. The other opinion is to teach that violation of numerous "melachot" at one time requires a separate atonement for each violation.


4)    What function did the "yitdot hamishkan" serve?

a)    The edges of the curtains were fastened to them. These were inserted in the ground so the curtains would not move in the wind.


5)    What function did the "bigdei hasrad" serve?

a)    They covered the aron, the shulchan, the menorah, and the mizbachot when they were packed for transport.


6)    What was unusual about the way the women spun the goat's hair?

a)    It was spun directly from off the backs of the goats.



1)   Why is the word Mishkan stated twice in verse 38:21?

a)   To allude to the Beit Hamikdash that would twice be taken as a "mashkon" (pledge) for the sins of the Jewish People until the nation repents.


2)    Why is the Mishkan called the "Mishkan of Testimony?"

a)    It was testimony for the Jewish People that G-d forgave them for the golden calf and allowed His Shechina to dwell among them.


3)    Who was appointed to carry the vessels of the Mishkan in the midbar (wilderness)?

a)    The levi'im.


4)    Who was the officer in charge of the levi'im?

a)    Itamar ben Aharon.


5)   What is the meaning of the name Bezalel?

a)   "In the shadow of G-d."


6)   How many people contributed a half-shekel to the Mishkan? Who contributed?

a)   Every man age twenty and over (except the levi'im).


(Parsha Vayak'hel-Pekudei Quiz originally appeared on the 

Ohr Somayach  website,

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