Monthly Dateline Newsletter                                                                                          March 2016
Columbus Torah Academy Monthly Dateline
Message from Head of School
by Rabbi Samuel J. Levine

Along with Rabbi Drandoff and Shari Herszage, I had the opportunity to give a tour of our school to Andrew Brenner, Ohio State Representative, and Chair of the Ohio House Committee on Education.
Mr. Brenner visited classes and was duly impressed with the variegated educational experiences he witnessed as he moved from room to room. Representative Brenner is a strong advocate for all children in our state, including those attending faith based schools like CTA. Mr. Brenner was accompanied by Howie Biegelman, (Executive Director of Ohio Jewish Communities) and Rabbi Yitz Frank (Ohio Director Agudath Israel of America) who do yeoman's work on behalf of day schools and Yeshivot in Ohio. Because of their work, elected officials throughout the state are better acquainted with the needs of Jewish educational institutions in our state.
In speaking with the Education Committee Chair, we made him aware of the challenges faced by our parents in paying tuition given the economic circumstances of many of our families as well as the tax burden these family shoulder in the form of taxes that support our public institutions.  We also made him aware of the special security needs of schools like ours the cost of which are ever growing.
As the state already provides health and busing services, we explored the possibility of state funding for security measures as well. Mr. Biegelman and Rabbi Frank will continue to advocate on our behalf and we thank them for their efforts.
With presidential politics consuming so much of the oxygen of our political discourse, it is important to understand that "All politics is local." This phrase, oft quoted by Tip O'Neill, underscores the need to be mindful of local politics and elected officials, as they affect our lives in a most direct way. Given this reality, meetings with state officials on our school's behalf take on greater importance.

Save the Date - Spring Fundraiser

CTA's Spring Fundraiser is scheduled for Wednesday, April 13 at 7:30 pm at the home of Lindsay and Joey Schottenstein.  The event is part of a larger fundraising effort for our Annual Fund which supports operating expenses.  It is one of the school's largest fundraisers.  If you have any questions or would like to make your pledge for 2016-2017 in advance, contact Shari or Rabbi Levine.
News from Lower School Judaic Studies Department
Dror Karavani, LS Judaic Studies Coordinator

Chag HaChumash
One of the central events in second grade is Chag HaChumash.  In their festive costumes and crowns, singing and dancing was part of their special production called, "The Dispute of the Mountains", which was about the reasons that Hashem chose the humble Har Sinai for the giving of the Torah. The children even memorized all of the 54 names of the parashiot! Kol HaKavod! Special gifts in honor of this occasion were sent to each of the students from their friends at the Shiloh school in Israel.  The students also decorated the covers of their Chumash with their parents and concluded their celebration with delicious, personalized treats. May the sweetness from these festivities remain with the students throughout their life long Torah learning experiences.  Special thanks go to Rabbi Hauser for his dedication to our students on a daily basis. To enjoy the production, go to 

Welcoming Rosh Chodesh Adar-Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B'simcha
The spirit of Judaism is a very important part of our curriculum. At every opportunity, we try to strengthen the connection to our Jewish tradition from the academic side as well as the experiential side. The month of Adar is definitely a wonderful time to do this. On Rosh Chodesh Adar Aleph, smiles were seen everywhere, as each student marveled at seeing hats worn in honor of Silly Hat Day.  For the second Rosh Chodesh Adar, we will celebrate with singing and dancing around the classroom wearing specially designed, Purim themed t-shirts and of course eating delicious hamentashen baked by the students.
"Creating" Israel
All of Rabbi Hauser's second graders integrated Chumash learning with the STEM program to
create 3-D maps of Israel at the time of Avraham using colored salt dough. The students learned about the different land formations and terrain of Israel along with tracing the travels of Avraham in Israel. They placed on their maps the various cities that Avraham lived in as well as the mountains, lakes and seas that you can find in the land of Israel.  You will be able to appreciate the project at the Achievement Fair.
The fourth grade Enters Israel...
In fourth grade Navi (Prophets) class with Morah Yona, we have been learning the Book of Yehoshua which tells of Joshua bringing the Jewish People into the Land of Israel and dividing it among the tribes. After studying the pesukim about crossing the Jordon River with a miraculous splitting of the waters, and entering Israel, the students created a beautiful collage that depicts this historical moment. The students made sure that all the details presented in the text were present in their project. Come and take a look, it is hanging in the hallway!

In addition, the students have been working on their grammar skills in Biblical Hebrew. They have learned a fun song to help them remember the form of past tense verbs.  Listen here (MP3)

Hebrew Department Happenings

Kelly Adar, Hebrew and Israel Culture Coordinator
Third Grade Listening Comprehension
The third grade went on a "trip in Israel" following a Hebrew song called "The
Little Trip". They are working on a new and challenging skill called listening comprehension where the students have to answer questions based on hearing only. They heard and saw a short video about the song and then, answered questions Hebrew of course...successfully. The activity was part of a wider subject in 3rd grade called "My Israel" where the students are learning about places in Israel, flowers, and about one of our most lovable Israeli poets, Naomi Shemer.
11th-12th Grade
When students in 11th and 12th grade Hebrew were struggling to understand a challenging unit in grammar, Morah Kelly decided to introduce a competition game to help them overcome the obstacles. The students had such a good time and totally forgot that they were actually acquiring speed and fluency in Hebrew language and they thought they were doing fun sports! Take a look at their "we had such a good time" faces.....

Hebrew Dialogue in 7th and 8th Grade Class

100th Day Activities

It's hard to believe that its been 100 days of school, but luckily we have the kindergarten and 1st graders to remind us that as of today, there has actually been 117 days of school since 100th day was celebrated on February 8.  The milestone is a right of passage in the lower grades.  Students brought in various collections of 100 (grass, legos, M&Ms, pictures and more) to mark the day.  Lots of counting and graphing adding up to or including denominations of 100 marked the fun day that was full of learning.
Cross-Curricular Innovation!
This past month, Mrs. Savage and Rabbi Weitz teamed their eighth grade Chumash and Dinim classes with Mr. Guinan's Digital Media class to collaborate on a video for the Israeli Video Network contest "Inspired by Israel." Students brainstormed on what they find inspiring about Israel, then studied the basics of effective video production. Not only had many never made a video before, but also they had two weeks to complete the project. On top of all that, contest rules stipulated that ONLY content created for the video could be used. How could it be done? What they came up with is inspiring in itself. Theirs is an innovative look at Israel--as told through social media apps. You can see for yourself but the contest continues only through Monday, March 7. Winners are judged on voting alone, and so far the CTA vote is turning out. With over 90 entrants worldwide, CTA has been towards the top, but needs your vote to stay in the running. Way to go 8th graders! The students are proud of the work, and proud to encourage everyone to keep voting, and, oh yeah, enjoy the video!  


Avi Chai Study to Involve CTA

Columbus Torah Academy has been chosen to participate in a national research study examining the school learning environment in Jewish day schools throughout the United States. The study, funded by the AVI CHAI Foundation and conducted by the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education, will ask students in grades 3-11 to complete a survey about teachers and peers in our school.  The survey will yield four scores: caring and supportive environment, academic challenge, peer social and emotional culture, and Jewish engagement. Student responses will remain anonymous and results will be analyzed for groups of students (not individuals) who share common characteristics (for example, girls/boys, younger students/older students). Data will be shared with our school's administration.
A Parental Consent Form will be emailed to all families of students in Grades 3-11. You need reply only if you do not want your child to participate in the study.
Iditarod 2016

The weather was PERFECT for the annual CTA Iditarod race last Friday!  As a culmination of their study of the Alaskan Tundra, the class invited the whole Lower School and many parents and grandparents to celebrate with the 1st graders this amazing school tradition..

Traversing the fields on their plastic sleds, the teams raced through checkpoints and activities to the final challenge of creating their own sled and mushing it the last 100 feet of the course. Cheered on by throngs of fans, the Bronco Marshmallow Cavs, The Awesome Fighter Jets, One Huskie Sled Dog Team, The Thunderbolts, Team Akiak and The Iditarod Team

Honorary musher was Dani Lane, CTA 10th grader, who missed her own 1st grade Iditarod race due to illness, but sledded in joy by a first grade group.

The 6 teams each included one musher to ride in the team sled and several "dogs" to pull.  They ran the race course as quickly as possible, stopping at checkpoints along the way to figure out the math, science, social studies, and problem-solving challenges presented to them. The teams progressed through the checkpoints until finally crossing the finish line on their team-created sleds made of cardboard, rope and canvas.

The 1st graders are following the official Alaskan Iditarod race online and checking the progress of their favorite teams each day.

Thanks you to all the parents and guests who attended, those that helped at checkpoints and setting up, and all the teachers, especially Miss Tanenbaum, who take great care that the 1st graders learn so much.

Tzedakah Box Turn In
If you have a CTA Tzedakah Box, don't forget to fill it and empty it often.  You can choose to send in a check with the amount of the contents or put the change and cash into an envelope or baggie and send in with your child.  Amounts are counted towards your Give and Get and are a great addition to the donations the school receives.  If you need a new or more Tzedakah boxes, contact Shari.
Ohio Ed Choice & Financial Assistance

The deadline for turning in Ohio Ed Choice renewals and new applications is March 18.  Also the same date as all Financial Assistance applications.  To apply for assistance, go to and complete all forms online.  You will need your completed 2015 tax returns or, if they are not yet readied, 2015 W2s and 1099s.  Applications received after March 18 will be assessed a $500 late fee and may not be eligible for assistance.  Questions, contact Norm Leist.

Ohio Ed Choice Scholarship Renewals and new applications are also due.  Click here for more information or contact Norma.
CTA Receives Grant for WiFi

CTA is the recipient of a Federal Government E-Rate grant to update our wireless network.  Thank you to Joel Greff and the Tech Department for their efforts to apply for the grant ($11,000+) and install the new WiFi. You will see Joel along with our outside contractor electricians working on this upgrade throughout the building.

New Ipads Enhance Learning Center
The Learning Center is busily making use of the three iPads gnerously donated by CTA alumnus Sam (Class of '04) and Ariella Nutis. The iPads are being used for teaching and reviewing math skills, ESL lessons, beginning reading skills, letter and sound recognition,and even handwriting skills. The students enjoy the lively interaction and immediate feedback that the iPad's offer.

Technology Update

In February, teachers participated in an online professional development workshop. They completed the workshop by reading online articles, and listening to informative podcasts and videos. Teachers were able to do this at home, in their car or wherever they chose. Workshop topics ranged from scientific research on best learning practices to  e-portfolios and reflective learning. There was much to cover, but teachers were able to work at their own pace and, share ideas with one another via a comment thread. Most importantly, teachers got to experience the feeling of being a student in an online learning environment.
For the second year, CTA students traveled as delegates to the 26th annual Yeshiva University
National Model United Nations (YUNMUN). The two day program, run by the YU Admission office, is the ultimate experiential education in the functioning of the UN. Roughly 450 high school students from Jewish schools all over the world participated, with each school assigned a country to represent, and each student assigned a UN committee. The five CTA students, Chad Horwitz, Shayna Herszage, Yaakov Metz, Avior Hazan and Addi Horwitz, represented Chile and served on the committees of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, the World Food Program, the International Maritime Organization, the Counter Terrorism Committee, and the United Nations Refugee Agency. The students had to function using the formal Parliamentary Procedural language, draft proposals, caucus with other countries to build alliances, and try to pass resolutions. YUNMUN participants also enjoyed presentations by Seth Siegel, author of "Let There Be Water: Israel's Solution for a Water Starved World, and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon who spoke about the evolution of the treatment of Israel by the UN. The CTA students who participated sharpened their skills in the areas of research, public speaking, note taking and diplomacy. It was a positive experience for all, and CTA plans to continue to participate in this program.  More information about YUNMUN can be viewed at 

Volunteer Opportunities Abound for CBI

The 2016 Columbus Baseball Invitational is set for May 19-22 and a variety of volunteer opportunities, all eligible for Give and Get, are available. To volunteer, contact

Jobs range from Concession Stand (Griller, Clerks), to Food Servers and Monitors, and Drivers and help with Shabbat Activities and Meals. As the events are over a Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there will be much needed help all days.

Yarok Together Sets Date for Spring Planting

Our garden may be covered in snow; however, underneath a healthy bunch of rye has been growing! The green peaking through reminds us that spring is in the way. The new season for Yarok Together is right around the corner.

SAVE THE DATE: Spring kick-off for students and families in 4th - 6th grade! Sunday, April 10th 2016 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. More information will be coming home with students.

Varsity Tournaments Offer Unparalleled Experience


Girls' and Boys' Varsity teams had the great opportunity in February to attend Basketball Tournaments established especially for Jewish day school athletes. The Girls attended the Hebrew Academy Basketball Shabbaton in Miami, Florida where 9 schools from across the country brought teams. The Boys were at the Tri-State Basketball Shabbaton in Pittsburgh, PA with 4 schools. Besides the athletic competition, both tournaments were held over a Shabbat and learning, prayer and interaction with peers. There is an adage that Jewish day school students come to know about never knowing when or where they will make new friends and see them again. Our worldwide Jewish community is a small one made comfortable by shared experiences. CTA is proud to offer these opportunities. For those of you with younger students, consider the possibilities of staying through High School, ask a 9th-12th grader, they will guarantee its worth it.

CTA fared well on the courts, while not taking home trophies, the played hard and felt good about their effort.
Sign Up For Twirlers Jump Rope Team

The C.T.A. Twirlers jump rope team is open to students in grades 2 through 12. The team will be meeting and practicing on Tuesdays from 4:00-5:00 pm beginning March 15. Space is limited and if your child is interested, reserve a place on the team by contacting Deena Tanenbaum at Reservations will be taken in the order in which they are received. The cost to join is $40 per student, plus $10 for the team shirt.
Purim Festivities Set for March 24 at CTA

This year, the holiday of Purim falls out on Thursday, March 24. We will have our usual Purim festivities on that day. School will dismiss at 1:00 p.m. 
The K-6th grade classes will attend a carnival during the day and participate in the costume parade. All Lower School students should wear or bring a costume on Thursday in order to participate in the Purim parade and presentation. There will be a costume contest judged by the Lower School Student Council with prizes awarded for the most creative costumes. We suggest that children bring approximately $4.00 to $5.00 on Wednesday, March 23, to purchase tickets so that they may enjoy the various booths and refreshments at the carnival. Tickets are $.25 each or 5 for $1.00. Tickets can be purchased at the door on Thursday as well. The 7th graders will organize the carnival, and all proceeds go toward their Washington, D.C. trip next year.

The 8th-12th grade classes will also mark the occasion with special Purim-style activities on Thursday. 

Also, CTA PTO will be providing a special Purim Seudah lunch on Thursday. (No peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will be offered.) Students are allowed to bring their own lunch of dairy or parve food items only.

Along with gaiety and celebration, the festival of Purim entails several mitzvah opportunities. We gather together to hear the reading of the Megillah at sundown on the eve of Purim (Wednesday, March 23) and on the morning of Purim (Thursday, March 24). The school Megillah reading will take place on Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m. (service at 8:30 a.m.). Families are invited to join us.

As in past years, the school is collecting money for the mitzvah of "Matanot L'evyonim" (gifts for the needy). All families who would like to fulfill this very important mitzvah by contributing to the "Od Yosef Chai" organization should have their donations into the school office by Thursday, March 24. Checks should be made out to CTA. The monies collected will be distributed in Israel to those in need on Purim day.

Condolences To:
Rabbi Avraham Goldstein on the passing of his grandfather, Emilio Goldstein

Jackie (Carson) Stallings (Class of '01), Corey Carson (Class of '04) and Stefanie Carson (8th Grade Class of '02) on the loss of their father, Larry Carson.

Terri and Rick Barnett, Rebecca (Barnett) Levy (Class of '99), Alison (Barnett) Gutwaks (Class of '02) , Shimra Barnett (Class of '06) and Carolyn Asch on the loss of brother, uncle and son Dr. Robert Asch

Michael and Chanita (8th Grade Class of '72) Weisz, Tuly Weisz (Class of '98), Leah (Weisz) Sturm (Class of '01), Ariella (Weisz) Eltes (Class of '02) and Mina (Weisz) Steiglitz (Class of '06) on the passing of father, grandfather and great-grandfather, George Weisz

Boris Ryabinky and Moti Ryabinky (Class of '96) on the loss of wife and mother, Ludmilla Ryabinky

Lindsay Schottenstein and family on the passing of grandmother, Miriam Lissak

Mrs. Janet Jones (former faculty member) upon the loss of her husband Robert Jones
Mazel Tov To:
Miriam (Schottenstein) Engelson (8th Grade Class of '02) on the birth of a daughter and to grandparents, Tuvia and Lea Schottenstein

Chad and Mara Friedman on the birth of a son and to grandparents, Eddie and Lily Friedman

Judah (Yehuda) Kay (Class of '01) on the birth of a daughter and to grandparents, Dr. Bruce and Nancy Kay

Shimra Barnett (Class of '10) on her engagement to Jonathan Bernstein of Chicago

Naomi Myers on the Bar Mitzvah of her sons Saul and Dov

Irina Katon (Class of '00) on her new position at the Columbus Jewish Federation as the RSJ PJ Library Program Professional

Please share your special moments by submitting to Dateline at
Thank You To:
Rabbi Ben and Rachel Berger, Bob and Betsey Lane, Raanan and Rebecca Lefkovitz, Dr. Norman and Suzanne Schneiderman and Drs. Miriam and Oded Shenkar for sponsoring January's Rosh Chodesh Staff Appreciation Lunch.

Upcoming School Events

March 24, Purim Festivities, 1 pm Dismissal
March 28, Choir Practice, 4 pm
March 29, Lower School Student Council, 4 pm

April 4, Lower School Food Drive Kick Off
April 6, Kindergarten Assessments for incoming class
April 10, Yarok Together Spring Kickoff, 10 am 
April 10, Hebrew Story Time at Bexley Library, 2 pm
April 13, Spring Fundraiser at home of Joey and Lindsay Schottenstein, 7:30 pm
April 14, Writing Workshop Share Night, 7 pm
April 21-29, Passover Vacation

For questions about any of these programs,  contact to be directed to the correct coordinator.
Upcoming Community Events
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 the Annual Giving Fund:To the Annual Giving Fund:
Michael and Helene Lehv in memory of Irving Baker
Give Today
Give & Get Info
More info can be found at here
Tribute Donation:  Contact Lesa, Shari or submit donation on line at for all in honor, in memory or milestone tributes to family and friends.

Kroger Rewards Card:  Go to and register your rewards card.  Kroger will donate up to 1% of your purchases from 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:  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.

Magazine Sales Help the 8th graders year round when you purchase magazines at using their code # 2522449.

Shoparoo Download the app to your smartphone and start earning points by snapping pictures of your receipts.

Columbus Torah Academy | 181 Noe Bixby Road | Columbus, OH 43213 
614-864-0299 |