By Shimi Piekarski
From a letter sent to the family
An example of Nosson’s tremendous generosity and enthusiasm comes to mind; In fourth grade there was a campaign to learn Birchas Yaakov Baal Peh, a few kids in the class including Nosson did it. The day after we had finished Nosson walked into class with laminated certificates for all the participants. This is a perfect example of how Nosson always rejoiced in other people’s achievements. This certificate was something I never lost. Lately I pulled it out just to read those big bold letters “To: Shimon Piekarski From: Nosson Dietsch.”
In those days Nosson did a lot of Mishnayos Baal Peh (finishing most of Seder Moed). We would challenge each other to do more and more, as in everything Nosson always had that special chayus that paid off and put him in the lead. There was a major question who would come out in first place in the Mishnayes Baal Peh competition and it was a close contest between me and Nosson. One day I would come to school having learnt one Perek by heart the night before, and the next day Nosson came back with two! This went on for a while, in the end I won, but what touched me was that Nosson was the one who made sure to keep a copy of the newsletter announcing the winners. Throughout the years he would pull it out and show it to me, proud of our competition. This is another example of the way he celebrated his friends achievements with a tremendous joy, even in a case such as this where I won at his expense!
I had been in cheder in Ohlei Torah till fifth grade together with Nosson. After that there were four years during which I learnt in a different school. When I came back, I had sort of been separated from my Ohlie Torah class, I didn’t really feel like part of the class anymore. Then one day I remember I was walking down the street – I was on Crown and Kingston – and suddenly I meet Nosson. He greeted me with this huge ear to ear smile, with such a bright Varemkeit, as if I had never left the class. His words are etched in my memory, “Vos machstu Shimon Shalom!”
I remember today how as a young child these simple words made such a strong impression on me. I was extremely touched that not only did he call me by my name but he even remembered and used my second name, which I am not usually called by. There was this warm feeling of comradeship that he gave me at that moment, making me feel part of everything. We had a long conversation and afterwards I remember walking home feeling so close and completely welcomed by my old friends. It’s amazing what Nosson, as a single individual was able to achieve – I didn’t just feel like I was his friend, I felt that I had been accepted by the entire class. Nosson took the Mamar Chazal “mekabel es kol odom b’sever panim yafos” to a whole new level. Throughout all the years, whoever he met, it was always with a great welcoming smile, always making others feel comfortable. Nosson’s smile will never leave us.