Hap Unger’s rug goes to HAT

by | Jun 27, 2014 | Other News

There are many people who have walked through the halls at Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, wherever it has been located. Some are more memorable than others, but few made as “big” a mark on the school as Harold (Hap) Unger.

I first met Hap when his daughter Jennifer started in our program for two-yearolds at the Indian River Road location. I noticed him immediately—it’s hard to miss a man who is 6′ 9″ and wears a size 14 shoe! Hap was a devoted father whose heart was as big as his body. There was nothing that Hap wouldn’t do for the school. He chaperoned field trips, often accompanying us on the school trips to the roller skating rink where they did have skates to fit him. He pulled wire through the ceiling when the school purchased new computers and we needed to connect them. He worked on our Las Vegas night events. Hap was always there to hang or reach things and just help out wherever and whenever he was needed. He was generous with his time and loved the school, not only until Jennifer graduated, but beyond.

Some years ago, I had reason to go to The Rug Shop, the business that he owned with his father, Maurice. I remembered that there was a “Jewish” rug on the wall of his father’s, later to be his, office. If you asked me what was on the rug, the color of it, or any other detail, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. But I could tell you where it was hanging and I remember that it was an impressive piece and that Hap was very proud of it.

Forward ahead to December 2013. Hap passed away unexpectedly. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, the last time was at the JCC. I absolutely wanted to see Jennifer, now a poised and articulate young lady. We spent time together in a close friend’s home, talking and reminiscing. And then I asked her about the rug. Neither she nor the friend could remember what was on the rug either, but they both thought that they knew where it was—rolled up among Hap’s things in his apartment. Jennifer said that she was curious and that she was going to be sure to unroll it and look at it.

A few days later, Debbie Mayer of JFS met with Jennifer to gather some things that she wanted to donate. Debbie and I touched base a few days later and I told her how I had reminisced with Jennifer and we talked about “the rug.” Was I surprised to discover that Jennifer had given the rug to Debbie for her to find it an appropriate home!

The rug now has a new home. It is hanging in Hap’s beloved Hebrew Academy. For those of us who knew him, it will be a reminder of Hap and his generous spirit and gift of time. For those who didn’t, the colorful artistic rendition of an observant man blowing the shofar in front of the Kotel will be a visual treat and, hopefully, an inspiration to the students and families of Hebrew Academy of Tidewater for many years to come.

by Alene Jo Kaufman