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Harv and Suri,

I just completed reading the letters you gave me from Nancy's friends. I am on a plane and my first thought was to pick up my phone the second I land and try and put into words what these letters mean to me. Of course I smile at the thought of calling you at midnight because you are the only ones in my life who will not find that unusual or bothersome at all. When I paused at this thought for a moment it brought a smile to my face because I now know that Nancy would have welcomed the same call.

How do I describe what these letters mean to me? First let me start by saying that I was truly honored when you gave me a copy of the letters and provided me with the privilege to read them. Until the point that I began reading them I felt as if I was one of a few special people in your life who “earned the right” to receive a copy. I cherished this feeling as I have cherished our friendship throughout the years.

To my first lesson learned: You share these letters with people the same way Nancy shares her competitive spirit, religious beliefs, zest for life, free airplane tickets, charitable checks, love of outdoors, good times with friends, and of course that wonderful smile. It is a sense of giving which is so complete and untarnished that it brings out the best in people. It creates a sense of competition . . . not to beat someone in a race . . . but a competition to live a better life . . . to be a better human being . . . to take the time to cherish what is really important in our lives and most of all to be thankful for every moment of them.

It was so gratifying to read one of the letters from someone who is Orthodox recognizing that Nancy had a special place on this Earth bringing Judaism to the masses. The person who wrote the letter clearly learned that the way she did this was not to boast about being a Jew and staying within a community who understood the ways. The way she did it was getting out there in the crowd and sharing her beliefs with the world. She did this in such a confident, unassuming, non-judgmental way that welcomed respect and admiration of people from all beliefs. She followed her friends to cut down Christmas trees . . . they stayed off the bus with her on the Sabbath. She shared . . . she gave . . . she lived . . . people respected . . . people followed . . . people learned . . . people lived.

Nancy’s plain conversation about living your life . . . doing things you feel are important and sticking to your own ideals and not those of others. Boy, what a wake up call that story was for me. I admire her courage and determination and only hope that I can be as strong. I think I will forever be reminded of this when I face these internal struggles.

The simpleness of Nancy stopping by her neighbor’s on Shabbos and being so content to sit and listen to the singing. I could picture the smile on her face. Sabbath is a time to slow down and appreciate the things that are important and to be thankful for them. I never thought of it that way . . . a day of rest? It took me 39 years to learn this. I am thankful for these letters.

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Acknowledgments Introduction Testimonies Photo Gallery 1 Reflections from Nancy's Mother