Harvey Paretzky z”l was a beloved member of the Edison/Highland Park community for over 30 years. Harvey was raised in Queens, NY and attended Queens College and Columbia University. He began his career at WEVD radio in Manhattan as a reporter and newscaster. He then went on to work for The National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, where he was instrumental in advocacy efforts to free Russian Jews from behind the Iron Curtain. Harvey’s career shifted to Refugee Resettlement, which he continued at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), where he worked diligently for more than 25 years. Harvey was deeply involved in starting the first Matching Grant Program for refugees in the United States. He most recently held the position of Senior Director, Grants Manager for HIAS in both Silver Spring, Maryland and New York. Harvey distinguished himself in his profession by serving as chairman of the RCUSA Resettlement Committee. Harvey was a cherished member of Congregation Ohr Torah (Edison, New Jersey) and of the Edison/Highland Park community. He and his dear wife, Leah, were recognized in the community as exemplary ba’alei chesed who would go the extra mile for any person in need. Whether raising money for good causes or counseling individuals experiencing medical difficulties, the Paretzky family was known for their dedication to the needs of their fellow Jews. Indeed, the Paretzkys were known to have an open home, offering their characteristic warmth and hospitality to college students, families in crisis, and many others.
Harvey valiantly battled illness for many years, but he never allowed his illness to stand in the way of living life to the fullest. He was very devoted to his wife, children, Mordechai & Ruthie, Adina & Nate and Shoshana and grandchildren, Shmuel, Batya, Avrumi and Rivka. He was passionate about Torah learning, completing nearly two cycles of Daf Yomi. He always enjoyed hearing a good d’var Torah and reaped endless nachas from his children and grandchildren’s accomplishments in Torah learning. Additionally, Harvey maintained a weekly chavrusa for 18 years, despite his many harrowing medical challenges. Harvey’s gemara was his constant companion. It traversed the United States on business trips, accompanied him on his many hospital stays, and was always at hand around the house.
To the deep dismay of all who knew him, Harvey passed away this past summer. Many are still grieving this terrible loss, but are comforted knowing that Harvey’s legacy will not be forgotten. This year’s RJX Melave Malka is dedicated in memory of Harvey Paretzky, Refael Yisrael Chaim ben Harav Mordechai Aryeh z”l.