Human Rights Activist

Sandy's life and achievements are a testament to his personal belief that individuals who attain financial success owe a special duty to people in need and society as a whole. Sandy's social consciousness found expression as a human rights activist for Russian dissidents and refuseniks in the dark days before the collapse and fall of the Soviet Union.

In 1977 Rabbi Judea Miller, Spiritual Leader of Temple B'rith Kodesh, introduced Sandy to Ed Lozansky, a Soviet émigré professor teaching at the University of Rochester. For the following five years Sandy joined Ed in leading a relentless public relations campaign, which included appeals to the White House, Congressional leaders, and the State Department. They ultimately won the release of Ed's wife, Tatiana, the daughter of a three-star Soviet general, and their daughter to immigrate from the U.S.S.R. to the United States.

As a result of Sandy's efforts to reunify Ed's family, he became a member of the Andrei Sakharov International Committee, of which forty Nobel prize winning scientists composed the honorary board. Sandy was also one of the leaders of another campaign to keep Andrei Sakharov, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Soviet human rights activist and father of the hydrogen bomb alive by maintaining international media pressure on the Soviet Union. At that time, Sakharov had been exiled to a mental institution in Gorky. Sandy was also appointed Secretary of the Sakharov Institute which promotes the humanistic ideals of Sakharov through the development of a National Mathematics and Science Correspondence School.

Sandy played a leadership role in the reunification of Soviet Refusenik families. In 1985-86, Sandy helped bring a dying cancer victim, Rimma Bravva, to Rochester to rejoin her sister. In 1987, Sandy participated in hunger strikes in Washington, D.C., Moscow, and Leningrad for the release of other members of divided families. Four of these families were released after Sandy coordinated their activities during his visit to the Soviet Union.

In addition, Sandy aided another well-known Soviet refusenik, Ida NudeI. Nudel emigrated to Israel and founded the Mother-to-Mother Project to assist Soviet émigré single women and children. Sandy has been a key fund-raiser and member of Nudel's Advisory Board since 1994.