Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

SOJC Holocaust Memorial awarded Eagle Scout Service Project of Year


Eagle Scout Max Waldor

The Boy Scouts of America Central Florida Council and National Eagle Scout Association Committee chose Eagle Scout Max Waldor's Eagle Scout service project, Holocaust Memorial at Southwest Orlando, as the winner of this year's Grove Adams Award. This award recognizes one Eagle Scout for his service project. Waldor's project will compete first in the Southeast Region and then if chosen, in the National competition.

The Council evaluates each Eagle service project for the award on planning, development, leadership character provided by the scout, achievement of the planned result, impact on the beneficiary and community at large, originality, scope of the work, time and materials contributed and level of skill employed to complete the project.

In order to earn Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout must be a Life Scout who has completed a series of merit badges and is under the age of 18. He must conceive, plan, and lead a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or community. The Eagle Scout service project idea must be approved by the troop's scoutmaster, troop committee and council or district before it can begin.

Eagle Scout Max Waldor created a mural so that the memories of those whose lives were lost or altered during the Holocaust will not be forgotten. At 4-feet tall by 8-feet wide, the memorial is a collection of stories, reproduced on tile and via the Internet, to honor and describe the experiences of 40-plus survivors during a terrible chapter in our history. Each story is collected over several tiles, and augmented by a smartphone-readable QR code that leads to more information. Each is also a compilation of interviews, research and information that Max collected in order to honor these individuals. The collection of material includes hyperlinks connecting the viewer to the organizations and museums around the world that support keeping these memories alive and encourage tolerance and understanding among different cultures.

Gerda Weissmann Klein, Holocaust survivor, author, 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, and one of the survivors commemorated, wrote about the project. "I am deeply touched by the caring, sensitivity and dedication Max Waldor has displayed with his Holocaust Memorial wall project," she said. "As a survivor and someone who has dedicated over six decades of my life to sharing my story of survival, I find is especially heart-warming that Max has shown such passion for this project. Today's youth are messengers to a time I shall not see. I am comforted and assured that with future leaders such as Max Waldor the world will become a better place!"

Waldor, a member of the Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation (SOJC), is an Eagle Scout with Troop 996 of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). He is a recipient of the Alef, Ner Tamid and Etz Chaim Religious Awards for Judaism, given through BSA's Jewish Council on Scouting who creates the criteria to receive the awards. These three awards represent all his years of scouting from Cub Scouts at age six, through his Eagle Scout rank at age 17. Max worked about a year each with a leader at SOJC, Rabbi Daniel Wolpe, Cantor Doug Ramsay and Rabbi Hillel Skolnik respectively to achieve them. He is a member of SOJC's Cantorial Corps and SOJC's United Synagogue Youth group (SOJUSY). He volunteers at Give Kids the World and at SOJC as a classroom assistant. This Holocaust Memorial is a highly ambitious gift to the Orlando community and the world at large as Max has managed the entire production, from initial design, to story collection, tile production and memorial construction.

This project is the culmination of a lifetime of scouting experiences, rising through the ranks of scouting from Wolf Cub to Tenderfoot, from Star to Eagle. Waldor is a 3.9 GPA senior at Dr. Phillips High School where he performs with the DP marching band and jazz band and attends the Center for International Studies magnet program. It is an additional honor to be recognized by the Central Florida Council for having the top Eagle Scout project.

The Holocaust Memorial at Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation is open to the public during office hours at 11200 South Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32836 and through the website: http://www.sojc.org/HolocaustMemorial. Special arrangements to visit may be made by calling (407) 239-5444.


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