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

On April 18, Columbus Torah Academy will hold its annual Spring Fundraiser at the home of Lindsay and Joey Schottenstein. The success of this event is vital to every student attending our school as the funds raised subsidize the education of every student in attendance. It may come as a surprise to many, but in an effort to keep a Torah education accessible and affordable for as broad a range of families as possible, the average tuition charged by the school does not cover the actual cost of educating each student. Every student attending CTA receives a tuition subsidy of at least three thousand one hundred and fourteen dollars.  Funds derived from this event cover a myriad of school improvement initiatives, including security upgrades.

During the current year, we have upgraded security in the school with a number of important security measures. We cannot enumerate these upgrades for reasons of security; however, these upgrades have cost in excess of forty five thousand dollars. Stated another way, CTA has spent two hundred and twenty five dollars per child in order to enhance security.

The minimum pledge to attend the Spring Fundraiser is seven hundred and fifty dollars. We encourage school families, stakeholders, alumni and members of the general community to make this pledge, attend the event, and show support for our school.  We also ask that if you cannot attend the event that you consider making a pledge of two hundred and twenty five dollars for each child enrolled in order to offset the cost of these security measures.

For weeks we have been reading about the construction of the Mishkan.  What was unique about that fundraiser was that everyone participated, thereby, generating more building material than what was needed. The Jewish people were enthusiastic about supporting the Mishkan, the dwelling place of the Shechina, the Divine Presence. Our community, too, has a Mishkan, where the Shechina resides: the Columbus Torah Academy, where our children study Torah is that Mishkan. We need everyone's participation to keep this institution viable. 

By attending the Spring Fundraiser, and making a quality financial gift to show your support of the school, G-d's Divine Presence will continue to dwell at the heart of our community.
Please Come to Spring Fundraiser

Please join us on Monday, April 18 at the home of Joey and Lindsay Schottenstein for a Spring Fundraiser to benefit the Annual Fund.  As you know, CTA balances its budget each year thanks to generous donors who support Jewish day school education.  For current families, their donations count towards their annual family Give & Get commitment.
For more information or to RSVP, contact Shari Herszage.

Uniforms Likely for 2016-2017 School Year

A school wide survey of the parent body showed overwhelming support of school uniforms with well over 70% in favor.  With the support of school staff and leadership, the Board recently mandated the establishment of an Advisory Committee under the direction of Rabbi Levine and Gary Blumberg, Board President, to consider the implementation of a uniform policy for the 2016-2017 school year.  Amongst other things, the Committee is investigating school uniform options that are affordable, appropriate, and attractive. Additionally, the Committee is being very thorough in considering a variety of relevant factors.  Some of the many benefits that have been identified include, increased school pride; the overall perception of the school in the community; more effective adherence to our dress code; and of course, less argument over what to wear in the morning!
The Committee looks forward to updating you on their progress. Any thoughts and ideas can be directed to Rabbi Levine or Gary Blumberg.
News from Upper School Judaic Studies Department
Rabbi Zecharia Weitz, US Judaic Studies Coordinator

Turning Friday into Erev Shabbat
This might have been the earliest most of our Upper Schoolers were ever flieshig, having eaten a meat chulent at a mere 9:00 am! Over the past month, each of the four Amazing Race teams in the Upper School were each given one Friday to build a rich and dynamic Erev Shabbat atmosphere. Team "Chevra" began with an IronMench (our Judaic knowledge competition)  pre-season round, and then segued into eating chulent, a d'var Torah, parsha questions and singing.
Two weeks later, Team "Fire of Life" followed by featuring a brilliant "Escape" game based on Torah knowledge and some delicious potato kugel! We look forward to more student lead Erev Shabbat programs!

Save the date for the 2016 IronMench competition to be held on Tuesday, April 12, 8:30-10 am for High School and 2:30-4:00 pm for Junior High.
An Amazing Purim

Following an awesome Spirit Week in the Upper School
featuring Superhero Day, Pajama Day, Red Carpet Day and Sports Day, an amazing Purim was had in the Upper School! Beginning with Davening and Megilla reading by Rabbi Weitz the students then enjoyed a Gala Breakfast Seudah that was fit for a king prepared by Mrs. Savage.  Learning sessions led by Alumni Sam Rosenstein and Danny Lebowitz along with Rabbi Kimche and Rabbi Savage inspired the students to know more about the story of Purim and the applications of the laws of the holiday. The
highlight of the day were the amazing videos created by the 11th grade Halacha class and the "My House" video created by
Mr. Guninan and the Upper School staff.  We ended the day with a teacher Family Feud game that Dr. Kennedy created and emceed. He polled all of the students from 7-12th grade to find out what the "survey 
said".  And, the 7th graders spent the day running the Lower School Purim Carnival which was great fun for all the kids and a lot of hard work for the 7th grade!  All in all it was an amazing day! 
Arts in Chumash
This month, Morah Savage's high school girls' Chumash class integrated their learning with arts in a special project. Each student chose a blessing and a curse in the Torah and related it to events in their own lives. The students could choose to make an art piece, collage, scrapbook or creative writing piece. Everyone enjoyed themselves and it was so nice to see how talented our students are!  
News from Lower School Judaic Studies Department
Dror Karavani, LS Judaic Studies Coordinator

Purim in Our School... It seems like it never ends.
On Thursday, we had our Purim celebration.  Since this year we were privileged to celebrate together on the actual day of  Purim, all the children were able to complete the four mitzvot of Purim together. The day began with Megillah reading for all of the grades.  The students brought Matanot L'evyonim (tzedakah for the poor). They designed and made mishloach manot to exchange with each other and they enjoyed a special  lunch around decorated tables in the lunchroom.  In addition there were many festivities including a parade in which students marched around and then had their costumes judged.  The students baked hamentashen. Our magician entertained us with wonderful tricks and juggling which kept the children on the edge of their seats.  The carnival, organized by the Seventh Graders was a hit as always, and a fun time was had by all. We concluded the day with a megillah play performed by the Sixth Graders, that left us smiling.  
They did it again..... Kindergarten Shemot Siyum
A siyum is always exciting and a big achievement.  This is why we are so proud of the
kindergarteners having their Chumash Shemot (Exodous) siyum (their second siyum this year!). Together with the third graders they enjoyed a variety of activities around the stories and the values of the Book of Shemot.  Yasher Koach and Chazak, chazak v'nitchazek.
What does Nurse Chris have to do with Tefillah ?
If you thought that you only need to see Nurse Chris when you are sick, then you thought wrong.  As part of iyun tefillah (learning about prayer) with Morah Sharon in the fourth grade, the students are studying about birchot Hashachar.  In order to bring the brachot into their daily lives and to make them practical, Nurse Chris visited the class to discuss proper posture while sitting and standing and how important it is to zokef keffufim (straighten the bent).  That was another important lesson about the integration between Judaism and science.
Hebrew Department Happenings

Kelly Adar, Hebrew and Israel Culture Coordinator
The Hebrew department is working diligently on a new program that would take place every year before Pesach IY"H.THE HEBREW SPELLING BEE CONTEST

The idea is to build up the program over the years so we can eventually, have
the program run in the Upper School, just like the Junior High's English Language Spelling Bee.  The students in 5th and 6th grade are the protagonists of this pilot program. Third and 4th grade students will be able to watch the Bee which will be held this month.  Pictured are some 5th graders working on their spelling vocabulary
lists.  They are really enjoying it! 
Morah Kelly couldn't resist taking a picture of her 7th and 8th grade class on "Red Carpet Day" leading up to Purim.  She was taken with how beautiful, grown up and happy the group looked.  It was funny watching them study with their elegant outfits, but that is the purpose
of Purim - to find happiness and joy.
Online Hebrew Classes
CTA's participation in online Hebrew classes affiliated with Bonim B'Yachad was recently featured in an article in The Jerusalem Post  (2/14/16 - Click here for article)  The program, now in its 3rd year at CTA, offers 65 online classes to schools across the US in many subjects - from Hebrew to Bible studies, Arabic, math and zoology, to name a few. 
IDF Boot Camp
Eleventh and 12th graders were led by Neta Ben Ezra, the
Columbus Community Young Shlicha, in a special program about what it is like to be an Israeli teenager, specifically at the age of 18 becoming a soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces.  With her colleague, Idan Simchonim, the Israel Fellow at OSU's Hillel, they led an abbreviated army boot camp with the students and then engaged in a discussion about their experiences from the beginning of army service.
One on One Student To Computer Pilot Program 
The Upper School will soon participate in a modified one-to-one (student-to-computer) pilot program. Through a generous donation of laptops and a charging cart, four select classes, Rabbi Weitz's Chumash, Mrs. Schramm's Algebra III and Dr Kennedy's Adv. Chemistry and  Health classes will integrate the devices into their daily lessons.  Students in these classes will be assigned a laptop to use each day for the duration of the pilot program. Each teacher will take on the responsibility of providing tech rich lessons designed to encourage student engagement and achievement. Computer monitoring software will be evaluated and procedures for  storing/charging and accounting for computers assigned to each classroom will be developed. Lead students will assist in the planning for proper care, storage and use of the devices from a student perspective. 
CTA Receives Grant from Moritz Mayer Fund at Columbus Jewish Foundation

CTA recently received a Computer Literacy Grant from the Moritz Mayer Fund at the Columbus Jewish Foundation.  The funds will be used for technology including our new upgraded wireless system and fulfilling the school's plans for one-on-one laptop use for students in the High School. 
Born in Germany, Mr. Mayer had a hard upbringing and upon his father's sudden death when he was 15-years old Moritz became responsible to care for his mother and siblings.  He was drafted by Kaiser Wilhelm to fight for the "Fatherland" in World War I and later forced to flee the Nazis, eventually finding work in a Columbus bakery.  Moritz Mayer had no children.  He left the bulk of his estate to the Foundation and CTA is a recipient of this most recent grant from his memorial endowment.
CTA Student Qualifies for National Tanach Competition in NYC

Congratulations to 8th grader Shylee Delman on her qualifying for the 2016 National Chidon Ha"Tanach competition in New York City in May.

This annual competition has middle and high school students from across the globe studying certain areas of Bible. They are given 3 regional tests in order to qualify. Areas of study include: Chumash with Rashi, Neviim and parts of Ketuvim. Shylee has been studying since September and her diligence and determination have paid off as she has passed all of her regional tests and is off to New York to compete against hundreds of other students competing for the grand prize of a trip to Israel and to be crowned the national Chidon champion.  We are so proud of her accomplishments and wish her tremendous success in all of her Torah learning.
Chemistry Olympiad
High School students enrolled in the AP and Advanced Chemistry classes at CTA recently took
part in the National Chemistry Olympiad. This prestigious competition is open to first and second year (AP) C
hemistry students. The program includes testing where students apply their science knowledge to national testing of chemistry concepts.  We look forward to hearing their results which have been impressive in past years.  Participants included, front row: Mira Cassell, Rachel Wolf, Benny Makias and back row: Dasha Kuperberg, Riki Shenkar, Molly Cohen and Julie Chase.
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.
New Horizon Space Party Features Astrophysicist

The entire student body joined together for a special speaker when Dr. Paul Sutter, astrophysicist
at Ohio State University and newly hired Chief Scientist at COSI gave us an update on the New Horizons Space Probe.  Dr. Sutter's presentation was inspired by Miss Tanenbaum's promise to her 1st graders in 2005 that the probe would reach Pluto when they were in 10th grade!  The students were elated with the idea that they would 
one day be in 10th grade!  Continuing each year, Miss Tanenbaum told the students about the probe and where they would be as it was fulfilling its mission.  Fast forward to July 2015 when the first pictures of Pluto began to be sent back to Earth!  Dr. Sutter showed the students pictures of Pluto, the first ever, since its discovery in 1930.  The students asked very thoughtful questions and it was marvelous to see parents and even a former 1st grade student come out to celebrate what we know and what we can learn about
Space.  All the students made either hats or pins representing a space item like planets, stars, sun or moon.  For more information about Dr. Sutter and his work, including his upcoming collaborative presentation, Song of the Stars, go to
STEM at United Skates of America

Third through sixth grade students spent a recent morning at United Skates of America learning the science of Rollerskating in their STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathe-
matics) program, then they had the chance to apply what they learned to the skills of skating. It was a great program, and they learned a lot!

An Update from the Fourth Grade
Fourth graders are learning about plants. Students are learning about plant structures such as a root, stem, and leaf and are making a diagram to label the different parts.

Students have been working on a persuasive paragraph on having school uniforms or not and they typed it in the computer lab. They had to include persuasive language in their paragraphs such as wonderful, great, and popular. 
Third Grade Studies Simple Machines and Other Innovations

Ms. Rahav's 3rd graders are studying about simple machines.  They began this lesson learning
what technology is, what work is, and what force is being used at the time.  The children competed in work relay races where they needed to push, lift, and carry different objects.  They enjoyed letting off some steam in the Lower School Gym as well. 
After participating in math centers all year round, always
created by their teacher, the students developed their own math center activities to help reinforce their multiplication facts in a creative and fun way.  It is great to see the students become the teacher and work enthusiastically to learn their facts and have fun.
Third grade student Brooklyn Binsky recently began "The Giving Club" where the students meet during lunch once a week to make gifts for the residents of Heritage House.  This week the children decorated posters covered in happy messages that were delivered to residents.  

Food Drive Starts April 4
Not sure what to do with unwanted canned and dry food items in your pantry as you prepare for Passover?  Look no further than the Lower School Food Drive which starts April 4 and ends on April 15.  Newly purchased donations are also welcome.  Items collected will be donated to the Mid Ohio Food Bank who desperately needs our contributions.  Great idea, students!
Yarok Together Kickoff on April 10
Have you been to the CTA Garden lately?  The garden, which runs outdoors parallel to the length of the 3rd-6th grade hallway, has been renovated thanks to a joint grant with CJDS from the Columbus Jewish Foundation.  Families are welcome to join us on Sunday, April 10 from 10 am - 12 noon.  The rye that was planted in the beds needs to be tilled. Cold weather plants like lettuce will be planted in the ground and seedlings will be started for late spring planting.  If you are interested in being involved in the garden and want to help with this project, please contact Diana D'Angelo-Wolff at [email protected]  Yarok Together is targeted to students in grades 4, 5, 6 with curriculum goals about environmental stewardship and includes an after school Garden Club which will start up in a few weeks.  In the past, produce cultivated from the Garden has been distributed to residents at Wexner Heritage Village and will continue to be part of ongoing chessed in the community.
STEM Update and Integrating with Purim
A lot of learning and fun continues in the STEM classes.  Unit 11, named Masquerade, is a study of plant and animal adaptations. The first graders have researched the ways that animals use camouflage and mimicry to survive. They have discovered that many animals use camouflage to hide from predators, but some predators use camouflage to help them catch their prey. They also discovered that animals use mimicry to confuse predators or prey. We discovered other animal adaptations such as teeth, venom/poison, and claws/talons. First graders designed animal adaptation costumes for paper dolls. The costumes are displayed outside the STEM lab.  

Second graders have researched plant adaptations and learned that the structure of plants: roots, stems, leaves, and seeds, are adaptations that help a plant survive. They also discovered that plants need defense mechanisms - plants can't run away from predators - so plants use thorns, nettles,
poison, bad smells or tastes, mimicry and camouflage to protect them from predators. The second graders created plant adaptation accessories. These designs are wearable accessories: bracelets, necklaces, backpacks, that show a plant adaptation such as thorns, poison, mimicry or camouflage.
Third graders completed in depth research of animal adaptations and the ways animals use mimicry, camouflage and defenses like poison/venom, playing dead, electricity, or spines/spikes to protect themselves from predators or to be more effective predators. They created costumes that demonstrate animal adaptations and posters to explain a specific animal adaptation.
These projects and curriculum integrated very well with the holiday of Purim.

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 [email protected].

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.

Federation Asks Parents of Teens to Take Survey

Link to survey:

As you may have heard, the Jewish Federation has created a survey for parents of teenagers as a part of their planning process as it pertains to Jewish teen life in Columbus.  We hope that as many parents as possible will fill this out in order to help inform our understanding of the current landscape of Jewish teen activities.  All of this information will be anonymous and will only be shared in the aggregate in order to inform our own decision-making about how to enable more Jewish teens to connect to quality Jewish activities. Please note, after the survey closes, we plan to convene the professionals who work with teens in Columbus together to review the data and glean insights that will hopefully be helpful in all our endeavors. Thank you again for participating!

The survey for parents of teenagers should take less than 5 minutes to complete. Please know your answers will remain confidential and anonymous, and feel free to pass along this survey to parents of other Jewish teens.  This survey will be open until Friday, April 8th, please complete the survey before then.  If have any questions, contact David Kaplan, at [email protected]. Thank you!
Condolences To:
Andrew Morrow (8th Grade Class of '82) on the loss of his father, Thomas Morrow

Amy Greenberg on the loss of her father, Burton Schildhouse

Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann on the loss of his father, Yossi Kaltmann
Mazel Tov To:
Deena Tanenbaum (Class of 1999) on her engagement to Jeremy Gottesman

Michael Tewner (Class of 2000) on the birth of a daughter, Gal Or and to grandparents Yankie and Marlene Tewner

Michelle Szames O'Donnell (8th Grade Class of 1997) on the birth of a son and to grandparents, Linda and Steve Szames and great-grandparents, Francine and Irv Szames, and Miriam and Maynard Goldmeier

Ben Supowit (8th Grade Class of 1997) on the birth of a son and to grandparents, Ken and Nancy Supowit

Please share your special moments by submitting to Dateline at [email protected]
Thank You To:
Laura and Ken Clubok, Rabbi Avi and Miriam Goldstein, Steven & Smadar Import, Lindsey & Joey Schottenstein and Rabbi Benjamin and Ahuva Weinschneider for sponsoring March Rosh Chodesh Staff Appreciation Lunch.
Upcoming School Events

School Links for Parents (

April 4-15, Lower School Food Drive Kick Off
April 6, Kindergarten Assessments for incoming class
April 10, Yarok Together Spring Kickoff, 10 am 
April 12, IronMench 2016, 8:30 am for High School,  2:30 pm for Junior High
April 18, CTA Choir Practice, 4-4:45 pm, CTA
April 18, Spring Fundraiser at home of Joey and Lindsay Schottenstein, 7:30 pm
April 21-29, Passover Vacation

May 2, CTA Choir Practice, 4-4:45 pm, CTA
May 4, CTA Choir Practice, 4:45 pm, Agudas Achim
May 13-20, Scholastic Book Fair 
May 2-22, Online Scholastic Book Fair
May 18, Achievement Fair (Book Fair Open)
May 18, 2nd and 5th Grade Writing Workshop Share Night

June 5, 12th Grade Graduation, 1 pm, CTA
June 7, Kindergarten Celebration, 10 am, CTA
June 7, Last Day of School, 12 noon dismissal
June 7, Freshmen Speeches, 5:30 pm
June 7, Upper School Awards Assembly, 7:30 pm, CTA

Some Times yet to be determined. For questions about any of these programs,  contact [email protected] 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:
Jeffrey and Meagan Buren and Family in honor of Dov and Saul Myers Bar Mitzvah and in memory of Lindsay Schottenstein's grandmother, Miriam Lissak

Bob and Marcia Hershfield in memory of Frank Pfaff, Larry Carson, Amanda Greff, and Terri Barnett's brother

Victor and Susan Schmelzer and family in honor of the marriage of Debbie Weinerman and Josh Grashin

UH Fertility Center in memory of Candy Davidson

Cantor Jeffrey and Tobi Siegel in memory of Michael Weisz's father, George Weisz

Jonathan and Agi Hartstein in memory of Sage Moreno and in honor of the birth of a grand-daughter to Tom and Lea Schottenstein

Steven and Smadar Import in honor of and in appreciation to Mr. Matt Bailey, Coach Eddie Karmia, and Coach Joey Nutis

Judge Brandt on behalf of the Franklin County Municipal Court Judges in memory of Murray Ebner
Yitzchak Gold in memory of Sonia G. Fesman

Cantor Baruch and Minna Shifman in honor of their granddaughter's engagement, Shoshana Adina Shifman to Yossi Hacker, in memory of the Yahrzeit of Jerome Schottenstein, in honor of Deena Tanenbaum's engagement, and wishing a speedy recovery to Tuvia Schottenstein
To the Scholarship Fund:
Christopher and Jennifer Oldstone-Moore in honor of Rabbi Henoch and Dr. Rochelle Millen
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.

Do you use a smartphone?  Do you ever go to the store and buy anything?  These are the two things you need in order to help CTA earn money through Shoparoo.  There is no cost to you.  Snap a photo of a receipt from a store you made a purchase at and CTA earns points that are converted to $$$.  Best fun is that your points are posted and you can see who the leaders helping CTA earn money are.  To date, there are 10 supporters and some are very active.  Imagine how much money we could earn if you participated?  For more information or to help out, contact Shari and she can walk you though it.
Columbus Torah Academy | 181 Noe Bixby Road | Columbus, OH 43213 
614-864-0299 | [email protected]