WEST ORANGE, NJ - On June 10, Golda Och Academy (GOA) will honor two exceptional leaders and donors of the school at the 2015 Spring Gala at Temple Beth Shalom in Livingston. Community philanthropist and school grandparent Dr. Lynne B Harrison will be honored for her commitment and generous support of our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program together with immediate past board chair Sheryl Pearlstein who, as a dedicated leader, has had a transformational role at GOA.

Recognizing the importance of STEM education and its future for our students, Dr. Harrison has been a staunch supporter of advancing STEM at GOA. In 2013, thanks to a $480,000 grant, GOA launched the Dr. Lynne B Harrison STEM program, which enabled the school to hire a new STEM Coordinator as well as fund a new intensive high school STEM class, high school robotics team, computer science electives, 3D printers and most recently, a brand new Macintosh lab. Yet her latest generous contribution to the school, a $1 million donation, will fund the new Dr. Lynne B Harrison Stem Center at the Eric F. Ross Upper School Campus. “Nothing is more important in a global economy for a nation’s position, for its prosperity, than the enrichment that STEM can give us,” said Harrison. “Making top quality STEM education available to our Jewish youth is one of our key objectives.”

Dr. Harrison is the president of Harrison Research Laboratories, Inc., which she founded in 1981, testing products for safety and efficacy for major companies worldwide. Additionally, she is a member of the Board of Space Israel and chair of the USA Board of Space Israel. As vice chair of the Hillel International Board of Directors and a member of the Hillel International Board of Governors, Dr. Harrison was named “Woman of the Year” in 2009. She is also vice president of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and a member of its executive committee. In addition, Dr. Harrison funded the Dr. Lynne B Harrison Science Center at the New Jersey “Y” Camps, which offers specialty science education to young Jewish campers. She is a mother of two daughters and the grandmother of GOA eigth grade student Adam Harrison Gross. 

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For the past 15 years, Pearlstein has dedicated herself to the advancement of GOA’s mission. As Board Chair from 2012-2014, Pearlstein was instrumental in helping to complete the Building on Tradition campaign, the school’s $32.5 million endowment and capital campaign. Her work soliciting donors helped to ensure the expansion and renovation of the Wilf Lower School Campus. Pearlstein also oversaw the completion of GOA’s Strategic Plan.

In addition to her role as immediate past Board Chair, Pearlstein has also served on various committees for GOA over the last 12 years, including the Executive Committee, School Finance, Strategic Planning and Head of School Support committees. She also served as chair of the Development committee and as president of the Parents’ Association.

Pearlstein’s commitment to GOA is undoubtedly a family affair, as her affinity for GOA and day school education is shared by her entire family. Along with her husband, Sam, the Pearlsteins have been important school donors. Sam has served on many school committees and is currently the chair of the GOA Foundation Board. Her parents, Doris and Mike Saranga, have been generous supporters of GOA ever since their oldest grandson began attending the school.  They also created the Saranga-Goldstein Math, Science, and Technology Endowment Fund with their friends Leslie z'’l and Roslyn Goldstein, which laid the groundwork for the current accomplishments in STEM at GOA today. 

Her in laws, Rabbi Aaron Pearlstein z”l and wife Peggy, were early supporters of Jewish day school education and were founders of the Solomon Schechter Day School in New London, CT where her husband Sam attended. They have also been consistent donors to the Shomrei Torah Annual Campaign.

Currently Pearlstein is co-chair of the UJC MetroWest Agency Presidents and Executives Forum and is pursuing a Masters of Social Work. Additionally, she has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and received her MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. Prior to her involvement at GOA, Pearlstein served on boards including UJC MetroWest, Women’s Department/ Philanthropy and Family Connections of New Jersey. Professionally, she held vice president positions at Goldman Sachs and Bankers Trust.

The Pearlstein’s three sons have all attended GOA. Joshua graduated in 2012 and is currently attending the University of Pennsylvania. Noah is graduating GOA this year, and Aaron is currently in the ninth grade.

“The Golda Och community has meant everything to our family,” said Pearlstein. “Sam and I are so appreciative that in addition to an amazing education, GOA has given our boys Jewish values and a strong moral compass. Everything that is important to us is right here in this community.”

The gala will also be the last for Rabbi Joyce Raynor, PhD. in an official capacity as head of school; she will be retiring on June 30. Raynor, however, graciously declined to be honored. “When I was approached about being honored, I suggested we recognize deserving community donors and leaders at our Spring Gala, since those who know me know I don’t usually love being the center of attention,” said Raynor. “I am so pleased that we are honoring Dr. Lynne B Harrison and Sheryl Pearlstein, two outstanding individuals who have significantly advanced our mission at GOA.”  

To support the journal or purchase event tickets in support of our honorees, call (973) 602-3612 or email sbashsoudry@GoldaOchAcademy.org.