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My name is Moshe Katz and I lived in the same building as Nancy. I met her through Mindy and Nicole.
I remember being very impressed that, what I thought was a Brooklyn transplant, was making such a good go of it in Manhattan.
I watched her transform into a ìfitness machine and guruî. I distinctly remember her reprimanding me for eating Sugar Puffs cereal and also anything with sodium, even diet soda.
At one point, I was training for the NYC Marathon, and I could see that I gained some respect from her for the effort. She was not one to fake praise. In fact, when we would talk about training, I felt a sense of pride if she approved of my approach.
To me, it was evident that she lived life so passionately and wanted everyone else to do the same.
She had a lovely presence and a beautiful smile. I am confident that she will serve as inspiration to countless others to live life with a generous and unlimited passion.
Just a short note to say I am thinking of you today, September 11th, and of course I am thinking of your Nancy. As I write, thousands of Americans participate in commemoration ceremonies at ground-zero and across the country. But those of us who were ever touched by Nancy need no moments of silence nor bagpipes and floral wreaths.
We could never forget.
I work with Avi Shapiro and he gave me a copy of the book you put together in honor of Nancy. I read the entire thing in 24 hours. I have to tell you that my response was one of admiration mixed with some chagrin. I myself was seriously injured in a bombing here in Israel four years ago. As I read the glowing tributes, I could not help but wonder: if my fate had been different (and it very well could have been), what would people have said about me. I am afraid that the notes would be far less noteworthy. Your daughter sounds like a simply incredible person and I cannot imagine the pain you must still be going through.
I have been going through something of a crisis of faith recently (bout with cancer/resultant depression/long, boring story), and have made something of a concerted effort to avoid prayer and Torah whenever I can. However, for what it is worth, in Nancy's honor, last night I sat down and read this week's parsha. Just another tiny drop in what is already a overflowing bucket of merits, but know it comes from the heart.
I just recently visited my friend, Avi Shapiro, who gave me the book you wrote about Nancy. Every person who passes away is praised by their friends and relatives.
However, when I read this book, I understood that Nancy was not just any person. I understood that Nancy was a person who loved life, and life loved her. Her smile and joy of life that is so present in her friend's letters and in her pictures project a life of happiness and wisdom.
I feel extremely proud that I have gotten to know Nancy, through her brother-in-law Avi and her book, even though I never met her personally.
The book is amazing in its intensity and ability to project, through letters, Nancy's radiant personality.
May her memory be a blessing.
May she be a meliach yasher for her family and for her people.
I have been thinking of Nancy lately and logged on to her memorial website, which I haven't done in a few months, just to reminisce about her. I was moved by many of the recent entries in the guest book, and particularly moved by the fact that her good friend Tara accompanied you to Israel a few months ago for the unveiling, ultimately ended up racing in Israel, winning the race, and having the opportunity to talk about Nancy at the awards ceremony! You have to figure that Nancy played a role in all that from up above. I also love the poem written by Yona Rockoff.
I know I expressed this in my email in the guestbook, but when I think of Nancy, I remember her smile - both with her mouth and through her eyes, her giggle, her optimism, her goodness. I also think of little things like her long fingers and beautifully manicured nails, the shape of her eyes. She was a wonderful person. I miss her and frequently reminisce about her with Rik Perlow.
I wish I could have paid a shiva call and met with you in person to talk about Nancy. I am not sure when my next trip to Israel will be, but I will call you before I go so that I can go to the cemetery where she has been buried. I hope that the burial and unveiling provided you and your family with some comfort.
Wishing you and your family all the best.
Aviva (Naierman) Wernick
It is still September 11 here in Spokane, WA. My husband and I moved here from Syracuse, NY, in August 2003. I thought a lot about you and Nancy today. I don't know if time is healing your wound or not, although†I pray that it is.
I apologize that I never sent you a thank you after you sent me Nancy's book. I was so deeply touched and inspired by the book--such a beautiful legacy and memory of your incredible daughter. I continue to race and just competed in a race in VT alongside Sarah Chubb Sauvayre. I carry Nancy with me up and down the hills of the northeast. I bet she's proud and a bit humbled by the wonderful ways she is being remembered. I was so sorry I couldn't stay on the east coast to race today in Bear Mountain. Many women headed to that race today because of Nancy's spirit.
Thank you for touching all those who loved Nancy in your efforts to remember her and celebrate her life.
With deepest gratitude and my best wishes each and every day,
I was a rescue worker on 9-11 and have always considered the day sacred, and couldn't imagine doing anything but honoring the dead on that awful yarzeit. I have to say however that you have given me a new way to honor those taken on such an awful day as I will be there for her memorial race. May her memory be blessed and thank you for raising such an incredible daughter.
I can offer you no consolation except that she lives on long past her presence here...
With much respect,
I recently sent out a mailing of 50 Nancy books to some of the public school members of NCSY in the Cleveland area. The kids all had similar feedback, they were inspired by the way your daughter was able to participate in a secular world, and be proud of keeping kosher and being Jewish. This is a real challenge for the public school kids who are struggling with their commitment to yiddishkeit, and with how others see them, and how they see themselves.
Thanks for sharing her world with us.
Director NCSY Cleveland Ohio
I am a friend of Tara Parsons. I just wanted to say... well...I read alot of this website and looked at all of the pictures. I never met Nancy, but just from all the genuine memories of her preserved in the hearts of her family and friends, it really makes me understand the importance of meeting as many people as you can, and living every day to its absolute fullest. There are times when I don't live up to these ambitions, but when I learn about someone as special as Nancy, it reassures me to keep keeping on. I admire her, and all of those who knew her. I lost a friend once, and the only thing I could think to say at the time was, At least we knew him as well as we did.
People are special and life is worth living. Thanks for sharing her spirit with others."
Reading about your daughter Nancy was an electrifying experience. I never met her, but Chaim, who is a friend of mine from Yeshiva, gave me a copy of the book when I came to pay a shiva call at your house. Stories of gedolim and tzadikim have often inspired me to try to improve myself and become more like them; reading about Nancy had the same effect. I felt as though I were meeting her in person - she practically jumped off the pages of the book. There was no ambiguity or complexity in† her life - it was all joy, faith and passion. Particularly striking†was the letter which ended, You raised a happy daughter. What more could a parent desire?
I was also moved by the introduction: "If you were feeling down for whatever reason she would laugh and explain how silly or ridiculous you were for feeling or behaving the way you did. Before long you found yourself laughing with her with your optimism and happines† restored." The Gemara speaks of two people who were b'nei olam haba because they made it their business to lift the spirits of†others. Nancy then would seem to be a true bas olam haba.† If I can be inspired by her example to make even a small positive change it will be a great z'chus for her n'shama as well as a great accomplishment for myself. This book is perhaps in a sense the greatest memorial to her because through it she can†have the most direct continuing effect on people's lives. Thank you for giving me the opprotunity to know her.
It was incredible and wonderful to meet you and your family, although after reading the book dedicated to Nancy I felt as if I did know you. I have been thinking about our visit, and I wanted to share a few more thoughts and memories about Nancy. My own experience has been that for any person in mourning, no detail or remembrance is too small; all are precious and to be treasured. So, in that spirit, here are a few, small or not.
Nancy was so alive, so feisty, and so present, that everyone in the bike club knew her, whether they KNEW her or not. The first year she showed up to race was perhaps my second year, and I remember hearing about, and noticing myself, the new girl" (and the only girl) on the Renaissance team. When the racing year starts in the spring it is still bitter cold outside everyone arrives to race bundled in extra clothing and most leave right away afterwards to get home and get warm. So it usually takes until the weather warms up for people to talk to each other much and truly meet if they haven't the year before. If I am remembering correctly though I knew who Nancy was had met her and talked to her and had heard her laugh many times long before that. There was something so comfortable about her.
I am a bit of a tomboy and a bit of a slob at heart. Often after an exhausting race I am happy to pull on a clean T shirt and shorts. Nancy always impressed me...she would have a skirt a nice top would have fixed her hair etc. and she was pretty much always smiling. She would have loved Rob Gray's email to you and the place (in Italy) where he put her photograph could not be more perfect. Fausto Coppi was a multiple-time phenomenal charismatic champion cyclist and is a sort of deity unto himself in Italy. I love the idea of Nancy's smiling face in amongst all of the cycling legends and cycling love. Like many people I read "Nancy's book" in one sitting mostly with tears streaming down my face but with many laughs as well. And I am struck again reading the letters now on the web site with how many of us remember her laughing smiling giggling and generally seeing the fun in almost anything. She had the most beautiful eyes and they were almost always laughing too.
As a parent myself I am in awe of the daughter you created and nurtured....and I am full of unanswerable and only somewhat rhetorical questions. How did you instill such confidence and strength? What made her so naturally empathetic and generous and kind? What did you feed her for breakfast growing up? (OK I mean that one metaphorically as well) Thank you for having us in your home and for giving us the chance to remember Nancy with you and to see her in your faces. I hope that we do have a chance to see you again soon.
By way of introduction, I am a good friend of Nancy's uncle, Jack. I read most of the book and I feel like I know her better than many people I have met. Since I did not know her personally, it would be presumptuous to add to any of the comments that were made in the book honoring your daughter. It is apparent that your daughter had a positive and upbeat effect on everyone around her. A true individual who complied with Rabbi Yishmaelís advice written in this week's Perek(3) that one should greet everyone with joy. Overall from the various people's comments, it clearly appears that your Nancy was a special woman. I plan to continue learning Mishnayot in her memory on a regular basis.
Below is a version of the only poem I have written, which I adapted based on details in the book you have compiled and edited to celebrate Nancyís life. I hope it might provide you with a small measure of comfort.
Is All Lost?
Poems I do not author
But I must express
How it feels to lose
One so close
One so near
As if part of me has left
Now your powerful presence
Your lightening laughter
Your voice gone
Dear one, only memories remain
Forever fading, illusions of your essence
What is reality? Your physical being,
Or you, a warmth within me?
A part that will never leave me
As well as you knew me I knew you.
Your kind, helpful manner
Your energy, sincerity, and positive nature
Saying, doing the right thing when needed
Saying, doing nothing when not required
Helping cure my pain
Making me feel right once again
Can bring you back
Maybe not your face
Not even your smile, nor your voice
But you, the real part that I loved
The part I pray remains part of me.