Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
GOA Fun Tracks/After Care Coordinator.
She explained to me that everything was ok, and that they were having an Uno Tournament. I decided to walk down and have a look for myself. When I got down to the Aftercare room, the laughter and shenanigans were still in full swing. Four out of the five kids in aftercare had chosen to play in the game with Ms. Keisha. Miri told Ms. Keisha she was “bleeding”. To which Ms. Keisha replied, “Where? Tell me where I am bleeding!” Miri explained that “bleeding” in Uno meant that you were showing everyone your cards! There was a roar of laughter, which was riotous, from the kids over Ms. Keisha’s lack of understanding of “Uno terminology”.
The volume of laughter from the kids and Ms. Keisha was a wonderful sound to hear. It made me stop and think for just a moment. It made me realize how grateful I am that Ms. Keisha has joined us this year. It made me thankful that she takes the time to sit down and play a game with the kids in Aftercare each and every day. The kids in Aftercare come in at 3:15 p.m. and get right to their homework. The children who have no homework get busy playing. Ms. Keisha and the children spend a portion of everyday out on the playground or so they have time to run and play in open space. I often peek in on Aftercare and I am always pleased to see the interaction between Ms. Keisha and the children. Ms. Keisha and the kids can be seen on any given day jumping rope, reading stories or building with blocks. Whatever the task, Ms. Keisha has shown that she is up for it!
If you are in the Lower School after 3:15 p.m., please take a moment to welcome Ms. Keisha to GOA. She is a wonderful addition to our afterschool team!
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
AIPAC Day 2
By Kineret B.
On our second and longest day of the Schusterman AIPAC High School Summit, our delegation, along with the many other students, attended many sessions that specialized in many areas. A few of them focused on the reasons behind the different issues in the Middle East in which we learned that it is not as simple as “Arabs hate Israel,” but that there are many underlying problems that cause the uneasy relationships in the Middle East and around the world. Our other sessions were mainly focused on the importance of lobbying Congress members and how to do so effectively. We were familiarized on the positions that AIPAC takes on each issue and how to present it in a professional yet personal and conversational way to our political representatives.
Most of the day was filled with structural information, so it was nice to take a break from it all during lunch when we heard four inspirational speakers. The first speaker was an African American representative of North Carolina who spoke of his support for Israel even though he is not Jewish. The next speaker was a southern, Catholic woman who got involved with AIPAC and now works with college students to promote pro-Israel support, yet she is not Jewish. The third speaker was a Muslim who got involved in his on-campus Hillel in college and involved in AIPAC, and has become a strong Israel supporter. He also is not Jewish. The last speaker was a Hispanic college student who attended an AIPAC policy conference and has become a pro-Israel leader on campus, but to our surprise, she also is not Jewish. From these four speakers, it was clear to us that Israel is not alone, and the Jews are not alone. There are people that support Israel as an existing state, and it is not necessary to be Jewish to be passionate about it. There are so many ways to help support Israel, and if effort is put into it, Israel will continue to exist and strive as a Jewish State.
AIPAC Day 3
By Daniel S.
As the Schusterman AIPAC Summit comes to a close, our delegation can only look back in awe and appreciation for all the AIPAC personnel who led and inspired us on our journey to becoming pro-Israel lobbyists and activists. Throughout our three days in Arlington, Virginia, our group was immersed in learning about AIPAC’s different approaches and views on Israel’s current political situation. After this, we were introduced to various methods that we, both as individuals and as a school, can use to promote theses issues to our elected officials. Equipped with these tools, the group took to Capitol Hill where we were scheduled to lobby the administration of Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. Upon entering the office, we were greeted by Arthur Mandel, Rep. Pascrell’s legislative assistant. Mr. Mandel acts as the representative’s “decision maker” by recommending in which way Mr. Pascrell should vote. After discussing our stances on the issues with him, Mr. Mandel jubilantly explained that he, along with Congressman Pascrell, agreed with us on the majority of the issues and would sponsor legislation that has a positive effect on Israel in the future. Although our group was very glad about the reception we received from the Congressman’s staff, we realized that we must keep in contact with the staff for their voting record to stay this way. And so, we hope to raise awareness in our school about this new form of Israel advocacy and hope for it to bring much needed support for AIPAC and most importantly, Israel, in the future.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
On Tuesday, as we were walking to our last class of the day, we were stopped by Mr. Shapiro, Dean of Students at GOA. "Did you hear my announcement?" he asked, "Netanyahu announced a huge advancement in the Gilad Shalit compromise; he could be home within days." Rarely have we heard the name Gilad in a sentence so close to the phrase "home within days."
Ever since the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit in 2006, Golda Och Academy students have not gone without recognizing and discussing the story. The issue of whether or not Gilad should be returned was constantly debated. We could never reach an agreement; is it fair to put millions of Israelis in danger for one man? Some of us said yes; Israel has the responsibility of returning every soldier, dead or alive, back to Israel. We also learn in our Tanach and Rabbinics classes that saving one life is like saving the world. However, others said no; regardless of whatever responsibilities Israel has towards its soldiers, putting millions in danger for one person is too risky. We started with weekly updates to the middle school and high school Israel Clubs, leading up to the distribution of yellow ribbons, which adorn most students' backpacks and lockers, and amounting to students visiting the actual Gilad Shalit tent in Jerusalem, while on Na'ale or Neshama. Our 9th graders wrote letters to Gilad’s parents expressing our love and concern for Gilad. We have also had an ongoing count of Gilad's days in captivity on our daily slideshow, and have handed out numerous "גילעד עדיין חי", "Gilad is still alive" stickers.
The students at our school have created such a strong relationship with the whole crisis and feel personally connected to Gilad. Not only have we created a personal association with Gilad, but also with his parents and fellow supporters. As a club, we've read Aviva and Noam Shalit's cries for help, and have shared similar stories of other captives and soldiers with the rest of the High School. We also took the time to read through Gilad’s children’s book, “The Shark and the Fish”, and a song composed by Camp Masad in Gilad's honor. Danielle R., a senior and co-president of the High School Israel Club, noted that the Gilad bumper sticker earned a prestigious spot on her wall of photos next to her bed at camp. Others have also decorated their water bottles or lunch bags with the sticker, serving as a constant reminder of the ordeal.
To be honest, some of us at Golda Och have recently lost hope in the homecoming of Gilad. After being gone for more than five years, we could no longer imagine the day when this character, Gilad Shalit, would become a real person in our Jewish American eyes. Our hearts, as well as our Facebook news feeds, have graciously been filled with new-found hope and curiosity.
Whatever way the story ends, this whole journey has been remarkable. Through the kidnapping of one Israeli soldier, thousands of Jewish communities around the world have come together and established an unmatchable international coalition in support of Gilad and Israel. GOA junior Rafaella S. mentioned how the constant presence of the story has served as a major focal point for Israel supporters everywhere, and the impending arrival of Gilad positively portrays Israel's commitment and close relationships to all of its citizens. We know the fight is far from over, and continue to pray in the hopes of Gilad's return. Carmelle B., a junior and secretary of the High School Israel Club says, “We have worked nonstop over the past five years spreading awareness and gaining support for his release. It is truly amazing to see this dream come true.”
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Our 6th graders participated in a two night trip to an environmental camp on Sept. 12-14. The trip, which complements the 6th graders’ curriculum in both secular and Judaic studies, took place at the Frost Valley YMCA in Clarysville, New York. Students learned about science and nature – incorporating Jewish content – through creative writing, art, hikes and other challenging activities. The trip was also designed to encourage social interactions and to help create a cohesive class. Facilitating cooperation and caring are important components as students shared responsibilities, lived together and learned together.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Check out our videos and pictures!
Friday, June 3, 2011
|Our Scholars: Noa, Yael (center), and Jacob|
“Today is a wonderful first for our school – we are truly blessed to be recognizing our first Golda Och and Schechter Scholars,” said Upper School Principal Nancy Leaderman. She added, “In creating these scholarships, our Board and administration have taken the core values of our school – academic excellence, commitment to Jewish study and tradition and the nurturance of the next generation of leaders in our Jewish community and world – and sought to embody those values in students who show remarkable promise and achievement.”
For more photos, please visit GOA's Flickr!
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Many thanks to everyone who attended, participated and supported Golda Och Academy students! The Virtual Journal can be viewed online at www.GoldaOchAcademy.org/Dinner.
Our Children, Our Future
Here's our dinner video, which spotlights our Lower School and upcoming renovation project.
Many thanks to the volunteer leadership team who made the evening such a success including: Sheryl Pearlstein and Shelley Paradis, Board Development Co-Chairs; Evie Posner and Gayle Wieseneck, Dinner Chairs; Alan & Elisa Pines, Zygi and Audrey Wilf, Journal Chairs; Shelley Paradis and Joanne Bramnick, Journal Coordinators; and Michele Landau and Shari Broder, Silent Auction Chairs!
Special thanks to all the school staff and administrators whose significant support ensured the event's success!
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Morah Malashock will be reading stories in Hebrew -- including some Dr. Seuss favorites -- at the festival, which will be held at the Pleasantdale School in West Orange.
The event is 2 to 5 p.m., and Morah Malashock will be reading around 4:15 p.m. We hope you'll be there!
From the West Orange Diversity Day website: In West Orange we have more than 50 different languages and countries represented. What a diversity and what a strength! Having a diverse population is an asset to any town and having multilingual individuals adds a lot of different dynamics. A lot of the multilingual and multicultural families in West Orange have moved here from their native countries. They have first hand knowledge of the world. What an asset! Let us take advantage of what they can offer our town and let's celebrate! The event is FREE to visit.
Battle of the Books is a literary quiz competition. Over the course of the year, students read from a list of 15 books selected by a committee of teachers and librarians. They then participated in battles, answering very specific questions about the plots, characters and themes of the books. Battle of the Books began in 1982 and was created by a librarian from Urbana, IL, and it has since spread across the country.
Golda Och Academy has been competing in the Essex & Union Interscholastic Battle of the Books for more than a decade.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
|Judy Elbaum, author Ann Kirschner, and curator Jill Vexler.|
|Sixth-graders Samuel Z. of Montclair and Joshua S. of West Orange peruse the Letters to Sala exhibit.|
Through the Elbaum’s generosity, the exhibit, Letters to Sala, is on display in the lobby of Golda Och
Academy, (1418 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange), through Friday, May 27. Exhibit hours are
Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30 pm. To arrange for visits to the exhibition, please contact
Abby Finkel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-602-3798.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Three winning classrooms will receive a fun-filled Field Day from New Jersey American Water, brand-new Scholastic books, and a pizza party. We think our sixth graders did an amazing job, and we wish them bucket-loads of luck!
Monday, April 11, 2011
It was the first love poem the fire hose had ever received … not the first for the clock, however -- there were no fewer than seven love poems dedicated to the third-floor timepiece. The gym reveled in the newly found ardor of its four admirers as well, while the stone floor in the vestibule shyly reflected her single sonnet. What was going on? To honor National Poetry Month, students and faculty had written poems in honor of their most beloved Golda Och Academy feature, and on April 1 had plastered the objects of their love in appropriate places (one entire class of students had poems pinned to their shirts!).
There were stranger things going on: Mr. Londino was discovered reading a poem in an English class. Poems protruded from every pocket. Seussical verses and hats on cats were flying through the halls. Perhaps most amazing, however, were the visits from the Urban Word NYC prize-winning Spoken Word Poets. English classes reverberated with the stampede of magical zebras, garbage cans bulging with undelivered love letters and dreams of awakening in a new world … all nudged with the panache only a New York City Urban Word Poet can bring (“The sign on this door says AMAZING!”).
April has just begun … what could possibly happen in the coming weeks? Stay tuned … (Wait—was that Brutus running through the BK in a toga? Chasing Puck?)
Monday, March 21, 2011
The group received an extraordinary number of awards, including gavels for best delegate on four out of seven committees, which were awarded to Oren Fliegelman, Adam Langenbucher, Jared Fineberg and Sam Rubinstein. Honorable Mention awards were given to Anna Brooks, Matthew Davis, Ben Hersch and Josh Pearlstein. In all, we received eight out of a possible 21 awards!
The recognition accorded our delegation is particularly impressive when we realize that most of the schools either have classes dedicated to preparation for the Model UN or coaches who come into school to prepare the students for debate. Our success is a credit to the caliber of the students and to everyone who helps prepare them for these kinds of activities every day.
The entire delegation was commended by the committee chairs for their research, position papers and ability to stay focused as they stayed in character while articulating their thoughts on a wide range of topics. We were continuously impressed by the manner in which our students conducted themselves, both in committee session and during free time when they had a chance to mingle with the students from other day schools! They are confident, poised and always respectful.
As a special bonus we were treated to a lesson on how to tie a turban from Jason Roth during the no-talent talent show. Guess what? He won!
Many thanks to Eleanor Brooks and Michael Monson for their dedication to our Model UN students.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Our eighth graders learn interviewing skills and then meet with a Holocaust survivor to practice those skills. The students write up the interviews as a way to learn more about the survivors and their Holocaust experiences. The student write-ups will be collated into a booklet, and the students will present those booklets to the survivors at the annual Café Europa Yom Hasho'ah program in May.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
In May, at the culmination of the tallit project, there will be a presentation, which celebrates the completion of the tallitot and includes a student-led learning and breakfast program with the students' families. The goal of the project is for each student to have a beautiful tallit that will reflect his or her own personality and style!
Monday, February 7, 2011
|Last year's Jump Rope for Heart was a true success!|
The actual event will happen on March 1, and we will be asking all of our students and faculty to wear something red on that day. The money we raise for the American Heart Association will help to support vital research and help our children understand the importance of community service and physical activity. We think it's a true win-win situation!
Donations can be made by visiting our Team Page, where you'll find student pages made by our second through fifth graders in computer class. Our pre-K through first grade students also have the chance to make a page at home with parental guidance.
Also, be sure to browse the American Heart Association website for heart healthy suggestions, to find information about nutrition, physical activity, healthier kids, weight and stress management, as well as games and health experiments to do with your children.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
We also hope you'll attend our Annual Choir Benefit Concert on February 15, 2011 at 7 p.m.* at the Maurice Levin Auditorium at the Leon & Toby Cooperman JCC in West Orange, NJ. The benefit concert will feature our Middle and High School choirs, as well as a guest performance by the men's barbershop chorus, Voices of Gotham. Our choir also will be releasing their newest album, Mashehu Matok.
Tickets can be purchased through February 8, by emailing Josh Ehrlich or speaking to one of our choir members. We can't wait to see you there!
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Our students were taught how to sign the havdallah blessings, and it was a moving experience to watch all of the students signing in unison. The evening then concluded with a festive and delicious Melaveh Malka.
Stay tuned for more milestone events with our Lower School students!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
|Engaging with the residents at Canterbury Village.|
|A Golda Och Academy student (center) at the WAE Center.|
|The one-man "Jordy Pordy" show.|