ANDRE UNGAR
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UNGAR--Rabbi Andre, a prominent rabbi in England, South Africa, Canada and the United States, died in his sleep on May 5, 2020; he was 90 years old. Rabbi Ungar was characterized by his courage, intellect, independent thinking, and kindness. He was born in Budapest on July 21, 1929, to Bela and Frederika Ungar. Rabbi Ungar had two younger siblings: George (who predeceased him) and Judith. Rabbi Ungar and his family lived in hiding under false identity papers in 1944 while the Germans occupied Hungary. After the war concluded, he went alone to England, worked on a Zionist youth farm, received his doctorate in philosophy at the University of London, and was ordained as a rabbi by the renowned Leo Baeck. After serving as a pulpit rabbi in England, Rabbi Ungar went to South Africa, where he continued to serve with great distinction until the South African government expelled him because of his vehement criticism of its apartheid practices. After a short stint in Canada, Rabbi Ungar moved to the United States and served several congregations; his last 44 years were at Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley. Rabbi Ungar taught at Rutgers University, Hofstra University and The New School, lectured widely, and wrote for many Jewish publications. Rabbi Ungar marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. and spent time in the Birmingham jail because of his civil rights activities. Rabbi Ungar visited Israel more than 150 times and loved traveling worldwide. He was a big fan of Yehuda Amichai's poetry, Kant, Bach, reading, crossword puzzles, movies (good and bad), and pizza. Rabbi Ungar's granddaughter Tova Chiba predeceased him. Rabbi Ungar is survived by his beloved wife Judy; sister Judith; four children: Michelle (Fred), Reuven (Leah), Eli (Harley) and Ari (Rebecca); 17 grandchildren: Jeremy, Zachary, Tzipora (Yaakov), Moshe (Reut), Baruch, Tiferet (Chananel), Yeshayahu, Chananya, Aderet, Shifra, Shvut Ami, Maya, Caleb, Eva, Mera, Rory and Reggie; and seven great-grandchildren: Amiel, Chemda, Mevasseret, Aharon, Benyamin, David and Shlomit; and many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews. Donations can be made to www.rickhodes.org or to the charity of your choice.


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Published in New York Times on May 7, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
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15 entries
September 22, 2020
In 1983 the Rabbi officiated at our wedding in our home in Teaneck, NJ; our second wedding following the conversion of my wife Judy. We had been married ten years prior by a Unitarian minister as a compromise between our two religious backgrounds.

Rabbi Unger was warm kind and filled with humour. Judy was very pregnant with our first child so he joked about it being his first wedding involving a pregnant woman. He had us all laughing then followed with a profound and beautiful ceremony. We loved the sound of his voice and wonderful accent and manner of speaking. He made our day even more special.

My parents attended Temple Emeth in Teaneck but we're good friends with he and his wife. My mother was terrified of his Doberman who insisted on sitting in her lap while licking her face. Good memories!

We send our condolences to his family and his congregation.

Judd and Judy Myerson
Judd Myerson
July 12, 2020
Judy and boys and Michelle. It's Joanne Doctor someone who grew up in Temple Emanuel. Rabbi saw all of us bat and bar mitzvahed and came out to officiate at my parents' and sister's funerals. Once when my sister was critical, afraid to lose their jobs, my parents sent me to icu. Ran into the rabbi in hospital and he took me for an egg sandwich. I was a scared 14 yr old and that meant everything. I remember crossword puzzles, how he liked the movie Rocky and how to pick out the shores from words in the Torah. My roommate at Rutgers took his class and we met again when my friend spoke at a private high school. I have many memories and you will of course have tons and tons.
May your life continue to be fruitful.
Joanne Doctor
May 11, 2020
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Richard Lesser
May 11, 2020
My deepest sympathies during your time of grief. May your memories get you past this. I always recall the story of my mom and step father, who was married by Rabbi Ungar and then decades later I do work for his children.
Richard Lesser
May 11, 2020
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Stuart Lucas
May 8, 2020
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Kyle Bozoian
May 7, 2020
Rabbi Unger is the reason I joined Temple Emanuel. His intellect, reasoning and concern for humanity defined him. His sermons were sometimes challenging but always interesting and moving. He consoled me during trials in my life and I feel fortunate to have known and learned from this truly great man. My sincere condolences to his family.
Helen Friedland
Friend
May 7, 2020
Rabbi Unger is the reason I joined Temple Emanuel. His intellect, reasoning and concern for humanity defined him. His sermons were interesting and moving. He consoled me during trials in my life and I feel fortunate to have known and leaned from this truly great man. My sincere condolences to his family.
Helen Friedland
Acquaintance
May 7, 2020
Im sorry to hear of Rabbi Ungars passing. He was a good guy. Rest In Peace, Rabbi Ungar. Please accept our condolences.
Alicia Simpson
Friend
May 7, 2020
I am heartbroken. He was my hero. He was a giant of a human being, fearless, compassionate, generous, and the kindest person I have ever known. It was an honor to call him my friend.
Rivka Rachum
Friend
May 7, 2020
What a privilege to have known Andre. To know him is to love him.
Barney Guttman
Family
May 7, 2020
He was a remarkable man, and I will long cherish the time spent in conversation on a broad range of subjects as I was shuttled back and forth to babysit Ethan, Eli, and Ari. He shaped my world view. In deepest sympathy to his dear family.
Dale (Wyngaarden) Walker
Friend
May 7, 2020
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David Kuker
May 7, 2020
Just learned of our dear friend and
moral compass for our family Rabbi Andre Ungars passing. We feel so deeply sorry for Judy and the entire family. Andre has meant so much to our family. We
particularly cherish the memories including his travel to Kansas City to officiate at the wedding of our son Jason and his bride Shayna. Andre and Judys welcoming of our family into their home with our grandson Samuel for Andre to bless Samuel. The entire evening of the wedding all of the people who attended thanked us for the
Gift of Rabbi Ungar. We were so honored by his presence and were particularly amused when
Judy said that he was very honored to have been to Kansas City with us. I am so thankful that
Recently I spoke with both Andre and Judy on the phone and exchanged Passover wishes by email last month. With warmest memories and our deepest condolences,
Lester, Lynn, Jason, Shayna and Samuel Kerschner
Lenexa, Kansas
Lester Kerschner
Friend
May 6, 2020
Rabbi Ungar was the reason we joined Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley. When he retired from being their full time Rabbi something was always missing. We were lucky to have been in his congregation.
Cingregant
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