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Yolanda and Raymond Kunz Receive JFR Award

On November 25, 2019, they were honored with the JFR’s Recognition of Goodness Award for their dedicated work within the organization over the past thirty years. In addition to their families, a group of eleven students and faculty/staff members from Immaculate Heart Academy attended The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous Annual Benefit to support Yolanda and Raymond Kunz.

Family members who attended the event, which was held at the New York Public Library, included daughters, Yolanda Kunz Semelsberger’92 P'20 and Raelene Kunz McKay’94 P'21, '23; granddaughters, Joanne Semelsberger’20, Kaylee McKay’21, and Madison McKay’23; and their families. IHA community members who attended the benefit included Ms. Patricia Molloy, president; Mr. Jason Schlereth, principal; Mrs. Beth DiCiancia Garrigan’76, director of alumnae engagement and special events; Mrs. Alice Nudelman, information management specialist; Dr. Sue Kenney, history teacher; Grace Giordano’20; Isabella Estevez’21; Gabriella Salazar’20; Nicole Krumrei’20; Isabella Lucero’20; and Jessica Boyd’22. The students in attendance have taken the Holocaust and Genocide and/or the Global Issues courses at IHA.

Event guests viewed a screening of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous’ latest documentary, Village of Angels, which tells the story of Melpomeni Gianopoulou Dina and how she and her sisters saved the Mordechai family in Greece. Ray and Yolanda then spoke to accept the Recognition of Goodness Award. According to the JFR, Yolanda said, in part, “We always admired the courage, resilience, hope and love of both the rescuers and survivors. After every JFR dinner, Raymond and I would ask each other, could we ever do what they did? What will be our answer after we leave tonight’s viewing of the documentary? How will this reunion and their story affect a change in us? How will our legacy be defined? I would like to quote Melpomeni’s remark when she recently met the family of the Holocaust survivors that she had rescued: ‘I can die quietly,’ words that underscore her immense satisfaction. Melpomeni and all the rescuers said ‘yes’ when faced with the challenge and opportunity to help save lives—at great risk to their own lives. Both rescuers and the survivors shared courage, faith, hope, and charity. They are perfect role models for all of us. It’s all about choices.”

Photos courtesy of The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous.