Posted on June 1, 2011
Temple member Matt Paretsky is truly the epitome of Stephen R. Covey’s national bestselling book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Pretty much the 7 habits ARE Matt’s life story: Be Proactive; Begin with the End in
Mind; Put First Things First; Think Win/Win; Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood; Synergize; and Sharpen the Saw. I encourage you to enjoy the summary of his life and you’ll quickly see many of these habits put into action.
Matt grew up all over the place, from Kansas, New York, and California to Wisconsin and back again to California. The oldest of six children (two blood related), Matt very much enjoyed his childhood which included voraciously reading a couple of books a week (primarily science fiction). His parents sent him to the best high school in the area –an Episcopalian private school – and it was there a priest gave him the chance to discuss and explore the nature of his Jewish faith. As a child, Matt’s family celebrated a few of the Jewish holidays, yet even back then he knew it would be up to him to ultimately define what “being” Jewish meant. While pursuing his studies in Classic Literature and Applied Mathematics at the University of Kansas, he deepened his Judaism with his grandparents who lived close enough by to share Shabbat dinners and services nearly every Friday night.
After graduating college and settling down in Santa Cruz, California, Matt had two sons – Daniel is 9 and Gabriel 5 – with his now x-wife. Daniel is an even more voracious reader than his daddy and will read any book he can get his hands on. During the entire Shabbat service, Daniel enthusiastically reads the Torah prayer book. His loving, outgoing, and creative nature shines through easily. Gabriel, while a bit more serious, aspires to be like his big brother. Gabriel loves Shabbat services and especially singing along with the songs. He’s excited to be learning Hebrew; the first word he wrote after his own name was אביב – spring. Being a very present father to his two sons is Matt’s biggest priority. It’s a personal responsibility that he embraces with all his heart and soul.
Among his hobbies, Matt enjoys cooking and has an impressive cook book collection. His newest hobby is wood working. Since 2006, Matt has worked as the Manager of Training and Event Logistics for Raytheon. He’s also a certified Franklin Covey trainer and travels throughout the U.S. teaching the 7 Habits. Just a year ago, Matt decided to learn conversational Hebrew so with the Rosetta Stone Hebrew book in hand, he taught himself and even set up his Facebook menu options and status in Hebrew.
Matt was very happy to find Temple Beth David – he says the Rabbi and congregants see the world and faith in a way that resonates with him. While he says most congregations are similar from one synagogue to the next, TBD is unique and he’s excited about the diversity of people at TBD (Hint: Habit 6 – Synergize). Matt’s drawn to the ethical practice of religion, of being responsible for one’s own life, and Tikkun Olam. He supports Share Our Strength and Mazon to help them combat childhood hunger.
Soon after becoming a TBD member, Matt joined the choir. Per the Rabbi’s nomination, Matt more recently participated in the New Leaders Forum through the Long Beach Jewish Community Center. So what’s next? He says it’s his turn to give back to the Temple that means so much to him. Thankfully for us, Matt and his family make it a habit to be a very special part of our congregation!