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Dear Mr. and Mrs. Morgenstern and Family,

September 11, 2001, is a day that will live in our minds forever . . . a tragic and confusing day.

On future September 11’s, I intend to celebrate the life of a girl, Nancy Morgenstern, who entered my life in December of 1995.

Mountains, snow, smiles, and our great friend, Robby Morey, were our common threads when we met in Breckenridge, Colorado. I was a little unsure of what to expect of a born and bred New Yorker, but it turned into the beginning of a unique friendship between people of completely different backgrounds and cultures. I quickly got to know a girl that was fun, easy to be around, easy to talk to, and a true lover of life.

Our geographical and cultural differences seemed amazingly small; we used them more as educational tools than anything. I became knowledgeable in the areas of kosher foods (we had to feed her when she visited), Chanukah, Shabbat, and chocolate babka. I think the limitless outdoor recreation and peaceful existence we live here in Colorado allured Nancy. It is as close to opposite from Manhattan as I can imagine.

There’s a place I visit a lot; it’s at the top of one of our local hike/bike trails. It has become a regular stop when I’m passing by, a spot that overlooks our little village and ski area. A magical spot, really. There is a beautiful granite sculpture and a small boulder off to the side. On the boulder is an engraved poem that reads:

Quietly the beauty and spirit of the mountains fill my heart
I open to the awe and sense of discovery
I feel free and alive and at peace
And nearby, I hear G-d saying
Do you want to play?

— Stark King, 1945–1996

I don’t know who Stark King is, but he sums up the essence of what I feel, and what I think Nancy felt, every day in Colorado.

It’s been almost six years since I met Nancy. We’ve been fortunate to spend plenty of time together conquering ski slopes, biking and hiking trails, road-biking twisting mountain roads, wandering city streets of the Big Apple, and just hanging out talking. I’m happy to say that she has become a friend for life and a part of our family.

I admire Nancy for her devotion to her faith, how she taught us about it, and how she loved it. To know someone so devout seems like a rarity in this day and age. She always had and has my utmost respect. She was not afraid to adventure through the world, to see and experience new lifestyles and cultures. I also admire her athletic endeavors; she found her gifts and excelled at them.

Michelle and I were always happy to arrange her accommodations when she visited, whether it was our extra bedroom or a condo at the lodge, and we always looked forward to her company. We enjoyed meeting her friends, Nicole, Tara, Sam, Graham, and others. They are all superb people, a reflection of her.

Nancy’s big, brown-eyed smile will be dearly missed, but my memories of her will forever bring a smile to my face. I think she would expect nothing less.

Jeremy Assalone

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