The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous honored Yolanda and Raymond Kunz of Saddle Brook with its Recognition of Goodness award last month at the New York Public Library in Manhattan. They were honored for three decades of support for the JFR and its mission — to show gratitude to the rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust and to educate future generations about those rescuers’ heroism.
Raymond is a trustee of the College of St. Elizabeth, and Yolanda is a member of the advisory board of the college’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education. The couple has endowed the center’s annual week of Holocaust Remembrance and Interfaith Dialogue Program. They also are involved in other charities, including the Lustgarten Foundation, the Boys and Girls Club of Clifton, Rotary of Clifton, and other groups that advocate for the developmentally disabled.
Yolanda retired after 30 years as an early childhood educator and now provides pastoral care as a volunteer at Hackensack University Medical Center. Raymond is a private real estate investor in residential and commercial properties in New Jersey and Minnesota. They are members of the parish community of St. Philip the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in Saddle Brook.
“The Kunzes embody the Recognition of Goodness award,” JFR’s chair, Harvey Schulweis, said. “For more than 30 years they have supported the work of the JFR. Through their support, we have been able to financially support the rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust as well as create a state-of-the-art Holocaust education program benefitting teachers around the country and in Poland and Croatia.”
The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous was created by Rabbi Harold Schulweis to fulfill the traditional Jewish commitment to hakarat hatov, searching out and recognizing goodness. The JFR provides critical financial support to aged and needy Righteous Gentiles, offering a degree of dignity to their lives that otherwise would not be available.
At this year’s dinner, attendees paid tribute to Melpomeni Dina, a Righteous Gentile from Greece, and Sarah Yanai and Yossi Mor, who saved Melpomeni’s family 76 years ago. They were reunited by the JFR at Yad Vashem on November 3.
The JFR continues its work of providing monthly financial assistance to more than 265 aged and needy Righteous Gentiles, living in 18 countries. Since its founding, the JFR has provided more than $40 million to aged and needy rescuers, helping to repay a debt of gratitude on behalf of the Jewish people to these noble men and women. Its Holocaust teacher education program has become a standard for teaching the history of the Holocaust and educating teachers and students about the significance of the Righteous as moral and ethical exemplars. For more information, go to jfr.org/.