By Laura Porter
Moe Bergman is running for his second two-year term as a Councilor-at-Large on the Worcester City Council. An attorney in private practice working primarily with small business owners, he was born and raised in Worcester. Before he joined the City Council, he was a member of the City of Worcester Zoning Board of Appeals as well as an Assistant District Attorney. His long-term involvement with Preservation Worcester reflects his appreciation of the importance of Worcester history.
Bergman is also an active member of the Jewish community. The child of Holocaust survivors, each the only remaining member of their respective families, Bergman is the youngest of four. His parents arrived in Worcester in 1949 and settled on the East Side, where many immigrants first came to the city. The family moved to the West Side when he was a child, and he attended Worcester public schools, graduating from Doherty High School. He went on to pursue an undergraduate degree in management and a law degree, both from Boston University.
Being the child of survivors is “a complicated journey,” Bergman says. “You are born with obligations and responsibilities that you didn’t agree to but are not free to walk away from. Some of that is to remember; some to understand when people don’t respect other people; and some to be a role model in the community when it comes to prejudice or hatred.”
Brought up Orthodox, he now considers himself Conservadox and belongs to a couple of local synagogues. He currently is on the board of the B’nai B’rith Cemetery and previously served as a board member of the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts as well as the Worcester Jewish Community Center.
“I try to be involved in things that are important to the Jewish community in Worcester,” he says. Part of that is participating in synagogue life across the denominations.
“Not enough of us do that,” he says, citing the value of cohesion and cooperation in the community.
He and his wife, Wendy Bergman M.D., have three children, Max, Micah and Hanna, all of whom take part in the activities of area youth groups and synagogues.
Bergman’s commitment to public service stems in large part from his family background. He emphasizes the “wonderful opportunities” that Worcester gave his parents, not the least of which was that “Worcester was a place where they never had to worry about prejudice.” His father started his own business; his mother had lots of friends in the neighborhood, both Jewish and non-Jewish, as did he and his siblings.
“It was an open, easy place to grow up,” he recalls.“No one worried about where you came from. It was about judging the person on the person.”
In addition to his professional expertise, he brings to the Council his perspective as a child of immigrants. He notes his “empathy and sympathy for those who are new to the city and don’t have a history here.” To “try to make life easier for people,” he has supported the publication of city information in multiple languages and creative homeownership options.
In addition, he is a firm believer in safety in the schools. “People should have the right to feel comfortable sending their kids to public school,” he says.
“I care about this city,” he says. “I really want to give back based on what the city gave my family.”