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N.J. School Receives $17 Million Gift

The Golda Och Academy in West Orange, N.J., has received a $17.2 million donation from the estate of philanthropist Eric F. Ross.

The money will support grants for the Lore Ross Neshama program, which allows students at the Solomon Schechter day school to spend the second semester of their senior year in Israel following a week in Eastern Europe. Ross started the program, which is named for his wife, who died in 2009.

Joe Bier, chair of the school’s board of trustees, told the New Jersey Jewish News that the donation would be used for the travel program. The school also will form a committee to make recommendations for other uses of the bequest.

“Just as Eric was one of our most generous supporters during his lifetime, he continues to support us now,” said the academy’s head of school, Dr. Joyce Raynor, in a statement.

The upper school of the academy is named for Ross, a Holocaust survivor from Germany. His longtime support for the Conservative school included $4.5 million for renovations in 2007. Ross died last year at the age of 91.

The school was renamed last year for one of its co-founders after her son, Daniel Och, made a $15 million contribution – then the largest gift in the history of the school, which was founded in 1965.

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