Who was Golda Och?

Golda Och, z”l – School Founder, Leader and Friend

On December 6, 2010, Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union was officially named Golda Och Academy. Golda Och and her husband, Dr. Michael Och, were among the founders of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union in 1965.

Until her death on January 10, 2010, Golda Och was involved in the life of the school on many levels. “Golda did it all – she took on every role here and brought her incredible energy and commitment to every aspect of the school,” said Head of School Rabbi Joyce Raynor. Golda Och played a pivotal part in our school’s development, taking on many positions in the school over the years. She served three terms as Board President from 1979 to 1982 and was the school’s business manager for 10 years. Mrs. Och also taught Jewish history and was a president of the Parents’ Association. Her three children – Daniel, Susan and Jonathan – attended Schechter. Today, one of her nine grandchildren attends the school.

In addition to her formal roles, Mrs. Och was a valued advisor, respected mentor and beloved friend to generations of Schechter leaders, teachers, families and students. “Golda Och personified everything that is best in our school,” said Rabbi Raynor, adding, “She inspired both her students and her colleagues to strive to reach their potential. Through her personal integrity, values, ethics and wisdom, Golda Och served as a role model to all who knew her.”

Golda Och was born in Montreal, Canada; she moved to the United States in 1957. At the time of her death, she had lived in Maplewood, New Jersey for 44 years. Mrs. Och was a long-time member of Congregation Beth El in South Orange where she served on the board. She was a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Albert A. List College joint program with Columbia University; she also held a master’s degree in Jewish history from JTS.

Golda Och and her husband were members of the Herskowitz Society of MetroWest, established in 2008 by the MetroWest Day School Campaign to recognize donors making significant endowment commitments to the community’s day schools. In addition, Mrs. Och chaired the MetroWest Maxine Fischer Scholarship Committee for 2007 and 2008 and served on the MetroWest Women’s Philanthropy board for many years.