July 18, 2024
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Moriah Dedicates the Yocheved Orbach Campus

The Moriah School has announced that the campus will be named The Yocheved Orbach Campus as part of an “extraordinary” gift made by Jessica and Meyer Orbach of Englewood and their extended family, in memory of Meyer’s mother who recently passed away. In a letter to parents, Evan Sohn, Moriah President; Jay Goldberg, Chairman of the Board; and Dr. Elliot Prager, Principal said, “Jessica and Meyer are investing in the Moriah Refresh campaign with the largest donation in Moriah’s history. Moriah stands strong and ready to take on the challenges of the next 50 years thanks in part to the generosity and commitment of Jessica and Meyer.”

Jessica Orbach said her mother-in-law was “passionate about, and devoted to, yeshiva education.” An elementary school art teacher, who dedicated much of her time to the Yeshiva of Flatbush when her children were growing up, Orbach was “deeply religious and traditional, living a life of love of Judaism. She served Hashem, her community and her family with utter joy.”

Jessica told JLBC that Yocheved was a typical Jewish mother who loved feeding people and loved to nurture and care for others. As president of the Ladies Auxillary of Yeshiva of Flatbush, she instituted “Pizza Day” where she and her husband would heat up and hand out pizza. They sponsored the project for 10 years after being informed that many children couldn’t afford the pizza. It is now being called the Yocheved Orbach Pizza Project in her memory.

Moriah was a big draw in attracting the Orbachs to Englewood, Jessica said. They wanted a big community school, with hundreds of Jewish children under one roof and lots of bustling activity, like Meyer had at Flatbush.

The Orbachs have lived in Englewood for 10 years and have three children currently in Moriah. Their eldest graduated last year. “Yocheved loved coming to Moriah,” Jessica said. “She was so proud of Meyer’s involvement in the school, just like how she used to be at Flatbush with her own children. Last year, our eldest daughter, who is now in Frisch, interviewed her grandfather, Joseph Orbach, a Holocaust survivor, for the “Names Not Numbers” project. Yocheved was so happy to come and attend the event (dinner and a movie made by the eighth grade participants who interviewed survivors). She was also at her granddaughter’s Moriah graduation. She was proud of these events. Her grandchildren’s achievements were her achievements.”

Yocheved became well known in Englewood, visiting with Jessica and Meyer’s family frequently for Shabbos and holidays, and she was very much a part of the community. She was also close to her children in Livingston and in Montreal, Canada. “Wherever her children set up life, she became a part of it,” Jessica said. “Everyone here knew her. We have been inundated with beautiful, supportive words from our friends and other Moriah parents. Dozens of people have told us how unbelievable this tribute is. There is no better person to be the face of this project.”

Jessica said Yocheved’s childen learned about community involvement and service from their mother’s example. When her sister-in-law Chaya was informed about the Moriah dedication, she said ‘Mommy really taught us well.”

Summing up her thoughts about Yocheved Orbach, Jessica wrote in a follow-up email to our conversation: “Yocheved was a woman with exceptional Midot. She encompassed both beyn adam le makom and beyn adam le chavero. There was no better example of how one should treat one’s fellow man. This gift toward the school would make her so proud. It’s the least we could do for all she gave us, her family. Our children learned, and will continue to learn invaluable lessons from how she lived her life.

“We have always felt how deeply intertwined our family is with the Moriah family. Now the two are literally fused together in that Yocheved Orbach, our mother and Baba, has cemented our connection forever. That’s what she did. She brought people together. She united everyone.”

By Bracha Schwartz

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