As part of the second Annual Mensches & Mimosas celebration on Sunday, May 23, at 11 a.m., Jewish Family Services of Northeastern NY (JFS) will recognize Herman Mendel Ungerman with the Anschel Weiss Community Builders Award for his commitment to serving humanity with humility and for acting as a role model for future generations.
“A native Albanian, Ungerman, who will celebrate his 90th birthday on May 19, is the epitome of a community builder, supporter and champion. A mensch among mensches, when he was informed of the honor, he remarked that what he was most proud of was that his children had continued in his footsteps. JFS is proud to honor him for his lifetime of service and dedication,” according to JFS president and CEO Jane Ginsburg.
Leadership positions have included serving as board president of Congregation Beth Abraham -Jacob (three times), the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, Jewish Family Services, and Daughters of Sarah Senior Community. He was also the chancellor commander of Albany City Lodge #540 of the Knights of Pythias, president of the Optimist Club of Albany and B’nai B’rith Gideon Lodge and chairman of the Federation’s annual campaign.
Ungerman also served on the boards of: Hebrew Academy of the Capital District; the Albany Jewish Community Center; Parsons Child and Family Center (Northern Rivers); United Way of Northeastern New York; the Chapel House Interfaith Center at the State University at Albany; the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America; the Albany Senior Service Center Foundation; Hope House; and Jewish War Veterans Post #105’s executive committee.
Ungerman graduated from Philip Schuyler High School in 1949. He served in the United States Navy during the Korean conflict and then married his Hebrew school classmate, the late Devera (Deb) Proskin Ungerman. They were married for 60 years and raised their daughters, Susan Ungerman and Michelle Sanders together. He formed and operated his own electrical contracting business — Herm Ungerman, Inc. In 2006, he retired, passing the baton to his son-in-law Gerard Bobersky, and his daughter Susan. When Bobersky died three months later, he postponed his retirement plans to help his daughter and grandchildren navigate the traumatic event.
He has been the recipient of various awards, including the Albany Center Pillars Award; Leukemia Society Man of the Year Award; the David Ben-Gurion Israel Bonds Award; the B’nai B’rith Covenant Award; the Hope House Recognition Award; the Four Chaplains Brotherhood Award; and a Fifty Years of Dedicated Service to Our Community Award and a Communal Recognition Award from Yeshiva University.
Past recipients of this award include David Alan Miller, Jean Becker, Amy Klein, Fred Erlich, Mara Ginsberg, Chanie Simon, Rabbi Beverly Magidson, The Golub Family, Jerry and Ilene Sykes, Michael Castellana, Steve Lobel, Morris and Esther Massry, Dr. Mark Sullivan and Representative Michael McNulty.
Sponsorships and tributes for the 23 mensches to be noted, or for Ungerman are available at jfsneny.org or by calling Monica Tan, director of marketing, at 518-482-8856.