A friend died yesterday. He didn’t “pass away” or “succumb to an illness.” No, he died. In a lucid moment before he lost consciousnesses, Sy loudly and boldly told everyone present in his hospice room, “I’m not going to fucking die!” But, he did. Try as hard as he could, he could not stop it. None of us can, and we all know it. If Sy couldn’t win his last argument, none of us will.
Sy was one in only a hand full of liberals who, in the late 60’s and early 70’s in the Miami IBM office, stood up for the young, apprehensive black new employees being hired as America joined the rest of the civilized world. Sy famously said “Segregation is bullshit! I’m a Jew and I know what I’m talking about!”
He was true to his beliefs, and one of those most important to him was that we are all equal. Sy knew no color boundaries or religious definitions except one: intolerance. Sy was intolerant of intolerance.
Anyone who knew Sy knew where he stood. His friends were his friends, regardless of where we worked or what we did. Political discussions were his wellspring and he would tackle any conservative or repressive, backward view of human rights with a vigor reserved for those who believe with all their heart that no one has the right to diminish any other human being. He was as fervent and dedicated in his opposition to tyranny and oppression, regardless of where he encountered it, as any one I have ever known.
Sy is missed. Sy will always be missed.