Rabbi Syme with a photo of his late brother Michael
Rabbi Syme with a photo of his late brother Michael
Rabbi Syme with a photo of his late brother Michael

Death Is Not the Answer, the two-hour documentary from 11-time Emmy Award-winner Keith Famie, will premiere at 8 p.m. on DPTV on Friday, Nov. 11, preceded by a premiere open to the public at the Emagine Theatre in Royal Oak at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6.

The film unearths the roots of depression and explores the reasons for suicidal tendencies. The film examines the tragic nature of suicide while conveying the message that death is not the answer.

Featured are mental health professionals and physicians from the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Stanford University, University of California Berkeley, Florida State University and the Henry Ford Health System.

Rabbi Daniel Syme, rabbi emeritus at Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Township, is an executive producer of the film.

Rabbi Daniel Syme

“Aug. 30, 1975, is a date I shall never forget for that was the night my baby brother, Michael, died. That was the night he chose to die rather than live in a big and troubling world,” Syme says. “And though I have pondered and tried to understand that senseless tragedy for more than 40 years now, I still cannot fathom why.”

His brother, Michael, was only 20 years old when he left this world.

As a rabbi emeritus, Syme is focusing his time and attention on depression and suicide prevention and lessening the tragic toll of loss by suicide in America, in part, under the umbrella of Jewish Family Service in the “Single Soul” program.

A Single Soul will teach the ways in which suicide might be avoided.

“Every bit of evidence we have suggests that suicide is preventable, a preventable tragedy, a wrenching agony that can be eliminated by listening, caring and acting people,” Syme says.

“The overwhelming majority of those contemplating suicide tell someone they are going to do it,” he continues. “Most often, that confidante is a friend, someone whom they swear to secrecy, desperately hoping that friend will care enough about them to break what we have come to know as the ‘wall of silence’ and to tell.

“The film Death Is Not The Answer is a product of Keith Famie’s unique gifts. As we view it together, from coast to coast, I hope that it will move us to a new sense of urgency to help those in pain. We can make a difference. We must make a difference,” Syme says.

The film is produced in association with Kevin’s Song and KnowResolve, two 501(c)(3) organizations dedicated to mental health and suicide awareness.

To learn more about the production, visit www.deathisnottheanswer.com.

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