The Columbus Torah Academy will honor five people Dec. 12 at its Scholarship Gala & Silent Auction, and each honoree, in their own way, has worked to create a better school community and to strengthen a sense of Jewish identity, according to CTA gala materials.

The “distinguished service award” will go to Cheri and Tod Friedman, who said they are happy to do what they can to spread the word about the institution.

“The aspect that makes us the most proud (about being given the honor), is the forum that allows us to clearly and thoughtfully be able to explain and to show the community, at large, what a wonderful place of learning CTA is,” Tod Friedman told the Columbus Jewish News. “The fact that children of all Jewish identities are welcomed at CTA and given the opportunity to learn in a dual curriculum environment is a testament to (the)strong foundational underpinning children receive while being educated at CTA.”

That dedication to education is at the heart of the “remarkable dedication award,” which is being presented to long-time school librarian Cheryl Miller.

“I am very proud that this recognition will bring focus to the library and the important role that literacy education has at CTA,” Miller said. “Our well-stocked shelves give students opportunities to explore new interests and expand their own learning with books in hand. When students are read to and engage in discussions, they develop an appreciation for literary language, build their own vocabularies and become critical thinkers. I am very proud that, at CTA, students can come to a beautiful library, hear books read aloud, engage in discussions, and borrow books to read at home.”

The library and the school itself are an important part of the lives of “parent of the year” award recipients Devorah and Justin Weprin, and their children, Lilly, Noa and Gabe, who are students at the school, with their daughter Eva, an incoming student.

“It’s very humbling and exciting. CTA is a very special school and community,” Devorah Weprin said. “We are proud to be a part of it. “

Friedman said that he and his wife want their honor to have ripples across the Columbus community.

“We are hopeful that when Jews of the broader Columbus community read our story and understand our motives for sending our children to CTA. It will bring better awareness and understanding of the importance of Jewish education while also learning in a demanding secular curriculum,” Friedman said.

Miller told the CJN, “CTA means a lot to our family and to the greater Jewish community. I know that the gala is a big fundraiser for CTA’s scholarship fund. It is instrumental in making sure that a CTA education is affordable. That’s a pretty important cause that I am happy to support,” she said. “It is my fervent hope that all of CTA’s students follow their own interests, find their own successes, and that their visits to our library encourage them to continue to love reading. “

Devorah Weprin said she sees the event as a cause for celebration, especially after the challenges of the pandemic.

“These past two years have been incredibly difficult on so many levels. This is a great opportunity to come together and focus on all the great accomplishments of Columbus Torah Academy, it’s leadership, faculty and staff and students,” Weprin said. “There is so much to be proud of.”

Noell Wolfgram Evans is a freelance writer.

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