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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Rabbi Retiring From Temple Etz Chaim

May 10, 2000|CHRIS G. DENINA

Rabbi Shimon Paskow of Temple Etz Chaim has announced plans to retire by the end of July.

After more than three decades, Paskow said he plans to step down as leader of the Thousand Oaks temple when his replacement, Rabbi Richard Spiegel, arrives from San Antonio.

"It's time to let a younger man run the temple," he said. "I have to slow down."

Paskow, 67, said he will enjoy the break.

"We'll go to Israel, Jordan and Spain in November," he said. "I'll have time to travel and do things. Maybe I'll start to learn how to use a computer."

Paskow said he will remain a regular member of the 700-family temple. But he won't have to officiate as boys become young men and girls become young women at their bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs. He won't marry couples and bless their lives together. He won't deal with grieving families saying goodbye to loved ones.

But he said he will still be a familiar face at the temple he's grown with over the years. He moved to Thousand Oaks in 1967. He did a few weddings. Nothing big. It wasn't until 1969 that he became the temple's rabbi.

The temple grew from a handful of families to its present size. Its Hebrew school has grown to 440 students, and the preschool serves nearly 200 children.

Some of the children he taught in the Hebrew school years ago have since grown up and still attend the temple. He has performed wedding ceremonies for a few of them, said Joan Sandoval, temple administrator.

"From the smile on his face when he talks about those events, those life cycles, you can tell they make him proud," said Sandoval, who attended the religious school in the 1960s.

Joyce Bronstein, director of the religious school, said Paskow's ability to remember many of the people he's met over the years stuns her.

"Once he meets you, he'll remember you," said Bronstein, who first met Paskow in 1982 when she was in the hospital having a baby. "He knows everyone by name."

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