Golda Och Academy Celebrates the Completion of a Sefer Torah


In a special ceremony on Tuesday, October 21, just a few days after Simchat Torah, Golda Och Academy students, faculty, and friends came together to welcome and celebrate a completed Sefer Torah at the Wilf Lower School Campus. The Torah was dedicated in memory of Golda Och, z’’l, a beloved founder of the school.

The dedication and presentation of the beautiful Torah, which involved singing, dancing, and reciting a special shehecheyanu, culminated the Sefer Torah Community Project. The project launched in October 2012 and, over the course of two years, members of the GOA community had the opportunity to scribe with Upper School teacher and soferet, Linda Coppleson and witness the creation of a sefer Torah.

“The new sefer Torah is a beautiful tribute to a wonderful teacher, founder and friend of our school. Golda Och was a true Jewish educator in every sense of the word and it is fitting that we now have this exquisite Torah, scribed by her friend, former colleague, and current Upper School teacher, Linda Coppleson, to have in our Wilf Lower School Horace Bier Beit Knesset as a poignant nod to her incredible legacy,” said Adam Shapiro, Associate Head of School and Upper School Principal.

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Golda Och’s husband, Dr. Michael Och, and their daughter, Sue Och, were in attendance at the dedication. Dr. Och assisted in scribing the first word of the Torah and had the opportunity to scribe the last word of the Torah, Yisrael, as GOA fifth graders eagerly watched on.

“There is special significance to our community in this Sefer Torah dedicated in Golda Och’s memory. It will be used for years to come by our students in the school which bears her name, and that is particularly meaningful,” said Rabbi Joyce Raynor, Head of School.

The GOA community relished in the unique opportunity to participate in fulfilling a commandment – to “write a new Torah.” The Sefer Torah is now housed in the new Beit Knesset within the recently renovated Wilf Lower School Campus.

“One of the things that makes this Torah so special is now our building is complete. A new building with a Beit Knesset is like a dream. We will treasure it and use it with love,” said Carrie Siegel, Lower School Principal. 

Located in West Orange, NJ, Golda Och Academy is an accredited private independent school offering a college preparatory private school experience to students from Pre-K through 12th grade, while nurturing Jewish identity and knowledge. In the tradition of Solomon Schechter schools, the school grounds a rigorous academic curriculum in the culture and tenets of Conservative Judaism, while welcoming students and families from a range of synagogue affiliations and Jewish expression. The school is located on two campuses with a Lower School and an Upper School, which are located about two miles apart in West Orange. The schools serve approximately 550 students from more than 70 communities across New Jersey including Livingston, Millburn/Short Hills and Westfield.

Golda Och Academy

  • Wilf Lower School Campus— Pre-K - 5, 122 Gregory Avenue,West Orange, NJ 07052, Phone: 973-602-3700
  • Eric F. Ross Upper School Campus— 6 - 12, 1418 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange, NJ 07052, 973-602-3600


The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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