The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York


November 18, 2011

End of a chapter

Friends and community members gathered at John Jay Middle School on Sunday to recall and honor the memory of Amy Friedlander, children Molly, 10, and Gregory, 8, whose lives were tragically ended last month when Samuel Friedlander killed his wife and children before turning his shotgun on himself.

The incident, so shocking, so saddening, was profoundly resonant in a community that prides itself on its affluence, its strength and its resilience. Many of us knew the Friedlanders, either through their children, who attended Lewisboro Elementary School in the Katonah-Lewisboro School District, or via their house of worship at Jewish Family Congregation in South Salem. Others knew Samuel Friedlander professionally as an attorney, with offices in Bedford and Bedford Hills. Those who did not know them personally nevertheless felt that “but for the grace of God,” the Friedlanders could have been any of us. We all sought for that missing clue: what made Sam Friedlander snap? What was it that turned a hardworking professional, a lawyer living the so-called American dream, end it all in a statement of ultimate despair?

In the weeks following the tragedy, we’ve heard many words addressing these concerns. Some have pointed to the stress of supporting a family and maintaining a lifestyle in a costly, competitive and demanding world. Others suggest that the jagged economy took its toll, leading to a loss of work for Mr. Friedlander, reducing income and the ability to provide for a family. Some have suggested that the toll of divorce and the pending family separation was what may have caused the snap. Mental illness undoubtedly contributed to his fatal decision. Still others have suggested that all of us — school, community, family, friends — failed to recognize warning signs, and thus we all bear some measure of responsibility in failing to prevent the hideous outcome.

Since that time, we have heard from religious leaders, mental health professionals, as well as those who were close to the Friedlanders. We are no closer to answers as to what demons possessed Sam Friedlander in his moment of family destruction. But there are some lessons that we can learn:

• During a time of divorce, special care must be taken to assure the safety and well-being of children. This may take the form of family therapy or in some cases, family separation.

• It is not clear that Sam Friedlander and his wife had a history of an abusive relationship. But statistics — and common sense — make clear that proactive steps must be taken at the first signs of spousal violence. This is open to interpretation, but if there is any suspicion or concern, seek professional intervention, notify the police or contact school authorities.

• We do not live in this world alone. While it is tempting to “mind our own business,” it is not always the best policy. We’re not urging snooping or meddling, but a call to a neighbor to say, “Are you OK?” could be a valuable way to prevent tragedy.

Jewish Family Congregation will be providing an opportunity for adults to receive emotional support in the aftermath of the Friedlander deaths.

Program on Sunday

Local clergy are making themselves available this Sunday, Nov. 20, from 12:30 to 2 p.m., at the South Salem Presbyterian Church, Spring Street, South Salem, to help members of the area community as we mourn the deaths of the Friedlander family.

Participating will be the Reverend Dr. Chip Andrus, pastor of South Salem Presbyterian Church, Pastor Gene Ott of Stevens Memorial United Methodist Church, Rabbi Carla Freedman of the Jewish Family Congregation, and Dr. Gary Altheim, a local psychologist. For more information, contact the Jewish Family Congregation at 763-3028.

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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York



Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Perks – 197 Katonah Avenue    

  4. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  5. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  6. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

  2. Connie’s at Northern Westchester Hospital
    400 E. Main Street    

South Salem/Vista

  1. JNR Pharmacy – 222 Oakridge Commons;
    Route 123   

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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