Remembering Our Friend, Samuel Fisher
By: Jacob Drucker (TAMID at Harvard University)
I’ve been tasked with the impossible- doing Sam Fisher a modicum of justice in a brief piece for TAMID. Let me start, right off the bat, by saying that I’ve failed. How to summarize a life? How to describe 24 all too brief years with a few hundred words? Samuel Fisher was the smartest and most hardworking kid in the room, and the most helpful, and selfless, and genuine. It wouldn’t necessarily strike you. And why would it? He went to your event, or helped you on your impossible problem set, or just poured you a drink and listened when you needed it. You see, what was so striking was the banality and regularity with which he did these things. He did all of them, all the time. Every now and then, when you take a step back, you realize that he never stopped- he really was always doing things for those around him. If you needed him, he would be there, regardless of how well he knew you or whether or not you’d ever be able to repay the favor. The prevailing sentiment has always been that things were just better when Sammy Fisher’s around.
But he did far more than give his time and energy to others. He held you to standards. And I think that was such an important piece of who he was, and how his friends and classmates grew. Sam Fisher expected you to live up to what you could be, in all respects. Whether it be kindness to others or effort in school or general attitude, he instinctively knew when you were doing your best, and when you weren’t. I could write about the time he made me rethink my cavalier attitude toward an acquaintance of his or the dozens of times he helped me work harder to understand course material or the hundreds of times he made sure I could sit back and appreciate what I had.
One thing I can say with certainty: I appreciate it a whole lot more now, now that such a central part of it is gone. I had the great fortune of calling Sam a close friend of mine.
There are so many stories to tell, so many anecdotes to share. The best I can do at the moment is quote Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Sam never had to say much. His actions spoke far louder than his words. But how he made you feel- now that was something else entirely. Welcomed. Respected. Valued. Loved.
I suppose I ought to tie this into TAMID in some capacity. Sam was the president of our TAMID chapter and did a fine job of running its programming. But far more importantly, Israel was always an important piece of his identity. He spent a year after high school in yeshiva in Jerusalem, and I know that it has shaped his mindset since. Israel and Judaism were both big pieces of who he was at a person, whether or not he chose to wear it on his sleeve (or his head) at any given moment. And business was becoming a part of him too- he went on to take a job working for an elite group within Strats at Goldman Sachs.
But that’s not really the point. I suppose you could have taken the business piece out of Sammy. He could’ve done a thousand other things. But the Israel part was there to stay. Sammy will be sorely missed. He already is.
photo by Michael Brooks