Golda Och Academy, a Conservative Jewish day school in West Orange, New Jersey, has announced a $17.2 million bequest from the estate of Eric F. Ross, who died in September 2010.
The bequest will be used to fund two areas of particular interest to Ross: travel to Israel and student support. The academy's board chair, Joe Bier, said the bequest initially would be used to support the Lore Ross Neshama Program — named for Ross' late wife — in which high school seniors spend their second semester in Israel following a week of travel in Eastern Europe. The GOA upper school campus bears Ross' name in recognition of a donation that made its opening possible in 1991, and in 2007 the academy broke ground on a $4.5 million renovation funded largely by Ross.
Ross, who fled Nazi Germany in 1938 and returned to Europe in 1942 as a soldier in the U.S. Army, later founded Alpha Chemical & Plastics in New Jersey and the Mercer Plastics Company in Florida. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., recently announced a $17.2 million gift from his estate.
"We are fortunate that Eric's gift will help Golda Och Academy to continue to advance its mission by investing in academic excellence, while providing the necessary tuition subvention for our families," said Daniel Och, son of the schools' founder, "ensuring that future generations of students enjoy the best possible education."