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Boy Scout honors Molly and Gregory

Noah Sklarin, a Goldens Bridge Boy Scout in Troop 154, is using his Eagle Scout service project to honor the memory of Molly and Gregory Friedlander, who, like Noah, were members of the Jewish Family Congregation (JFC), where a memorial will be built.

Boy Scout Noah Sklarin and Goldens Bridge Troop 154 Committee Chair Crystal Kennedy. Noah plans to build a memorial to Molly and Gregory at the Jewish Family Congregation with funds from the Mar. 3 pancake breakfast at the South Salem Fire Department. (Reece Alvarez Photo)

“When I decided to come up with an idea for my Eagle project, I wanted to do something that meant a lot to me and in a place that is important to me,” said Noah, who teaches religious education courses at JFC on Sundays.

Molly and Gregory were 10 and 8, respectively, when they lost their lives, along with their mother, Amy, in a domestic violence incident in October 2011.

“This memorial will be a physical reminder for all of us at the JFC of Molly and Gregory, whom we can never forget and whose memory time can never erase,” said Leslie Gottlieb, the director of education at the JFC. “In placing this memorial on our property, we have given them a home with us forever.”

The memorial

The service project aims to raise $1,000 for the memorial through a pancake breakfast being held on Sunday, March 3, at the South Salem firehouse from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For $10, participants may enjoy pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, milk, juice, coffee, and tea.

Proceeds from the event will be used to purchase the materials for the memorial, which will include a shaded seating area tucked in a quiet, wooded area on the JFC property.

“It is very much about making a place of peace and reflection, not just limited to the congregation, but for the whole community,” said Crystal Kennedy, who is Noah’s adviser for his project and a committee chair for Goldens Bridge Troop 154.

The plan for Noah’s project outlines a 15-feet-in-diameter circle filled with mulch and lined with paver stones. Within the circle there will be two separate Adirondack chair seating areas facing a central tree and stone with a memorial plaque dedicated to the memory of Molly and Gregory.

“The idea of having a twin seat is symbolic of the two children,” Noah said.

The plaque alone is the most expensive item and is expected to be the largest cost associated with the project. Pricing for the modestly sized bronze plaque chosen for the memorial can range from $500 to $1,500, Ms. Kennedy said.

A community remembers

While Noah has taken the lead on the project, the Forever Molly and Gregory Fund has helped Noah find contacts and volunteers to help him. In honor of Molly and Gregory, the fund supports the pursuits that were closest to their hearts in the areas of academic, athletic and artistic achievement, according to the Forever Molly and Gregory website.

Molly and Gregory

Thus far the fund has given out life-saving defibrillators for the Lewisboro Baseball Association and a grant to the Lewisboro Soccer Club to pay for players benches and a memorial stone marker at Onatru Farm. The fund will also be involved with the 2013 South Salem Presbyterian Church Memorial Day races as the sponsored charity.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the races again this year,” said Lisa Cohen, co-founder and current manager of the fund. “It was a huge success last year, and we look forward to a very special day to honor and remember Amy, Molly and Gregory.”

Taking the lead

An Eagle Scout is the highest rank a Boy Scout can achieve and identifies a Scout as a leader in his community.

A major part of Noah’s project is to show that he can lead, Ms. Kennedy said.

The installation of the memorial will be done by Noah and whatever volunteers he can muster from his troop, family, friends, and community at large, and the project is expected to be completed by April or May, Ms. Kennedy said.

The memorial does not have an official installation date, and a number of factors will contribute to its completion, including the amount of money raised at the pancake breakfast fund-raiser. One of the main goals of the breakfast is to raise enough money so that more fund-raisers are not needed, Ms. Kennedy said.

Whenever the memorial is completed, Ms. Gottlieb has expressed a desire to incorporate a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the memorial’s presentation. The ceremony would include Molly’s sixth grade classmates from the Sunday religious program at the JFC, she said.

“In Hebrew we ask that their memory be for a blessing, zikron l’vrach, and so we live with them in our hearts, guiding our actions as their spirits live within us,” she said.

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