Rabbi Daniel Syme


Rabbi Daniel Syme reflects on his brother, Michael's suicide that took place almost 40 years ago with guilt and anger.

Rabbi Syme, then a young 29-year old rabbi, had gone to service with his parents on a Saturday night. When they returned to their home, they found that young 21-year old Michael had taken his life. To this day, that night haunts one of Michigan's most respected spiritual leaders.

"Yes, I'm still angry and I still feel responsible." The day of Michael's suicide, Rabbi Danny was driving with his brother. Danny was prodding him about how he was doing.

Michael had just returned back to Michigan after being on the road as an accomplished violinist. Michael had told Danny he never felt worse, but as Danny explained, the therapist who Michael was seeing had just told their parents that he appeared to be doing well. Their talk together would not go beyond that car ride.

Now, many years later, Rabbi Syme opened up about this painful time in his and his family's lives. He shared the story for our film, Death is not the Answer.

In a very distinctive, gospel preacher proclamation, he loudly said over and over, "Death is not the answer! Death is not the answer!" It was a chilling moment for all of us there, filming. In an eerie, painful way, it felt like he was yelling at his younger brother, Michael to hear.

Over the last 40-years Rabbi Danny has spoken to audiences from every ethnicity and age group across the country. "Every time I talk to an audience, in a small way I feel like I'm talking to my brother, Michael."

We are extremely proud to have Rabbi Daniel Syme as one of our co-executive producers of this film Death is not the Answer.