and the desire to lend a helping hand. I.D. Blumenthal’s life was a testament to both. Born in New
York City in 1894, and raised in Savannah, Georgia, he was the eldest child of Samuel and Fannie Blumenthal,
who immigrated from Lithuania and the Ukraine to America to escape poverty and religious persecution. Samuel and Fannie’s
work ethic, their commitment to civic affairs, and their tolerance for all faiths — though they, themselves were
Orthodox Jews — left an indelible impression on their son. In 1924, he struck out on his own as a traveling
salesman. With scarcely enough in his pocket to get him from one town to
the next, I.D. was passing through Charlotte, North Carolina, when his
car experienced a leaky radiator. Taking it to a tinsmith by the name of
G. G. Ray, he was astounded when the man sealed the leak by pouring a
powder into the radiator. According to Mr. Ray, the powder known as
Solder Seal was an invention of his own making, but no longer available
due to his company’s inability to market it.
In 1924, he struck out on his own as a traveling salesman. With scarcely enough in his pocket to get him from one town to the next, I.D. was passing through Charlotte, North Carolina, when his car experienced a leaky radiator. Taking it to a tinsmith by the name of G. G. Ray, he was astounded when the man sealed the leak by pouring a powder into the radiator. According to Mr. Ray, the powder known as Solder Seal was an invention of his own making, but no longer available due to his company’s inability to market it.
certain was he that Solder Seal could be marketed effectively, I.D.
convinced Mr. Ray to enter into a partnership with him. In the years
that followed, I.D. took the product on the road, demonstrated it in
town squares, at corner gas stations, anywhere he might attract a group
of people. Before long, the groups multiplied into crowds. The orders
multiplied from a few individual tubes to major shipments bound for
automotive repair companies.
I.D. Blumenthal’s vision wasn’t limited to corporate earnings. Like his father before him, he devoted himself to brotherhood as diligently as he did to business affairs. With Herman helping with the day-to-day operations of Radiator Specialty, I. D. was able to focus his attention on a partnership of a different sort—a partnership with people, not only in the city he loved, but throughout the Carolinas and the South.
Indeed, many of the projects he implemented have influenced lives across the nation and throughout the world.
Raised in a strictly Orthodox Jewish home, I. D. was a profoundly religious man. He promoted the founding of two Jewish Day Schools and contributed to the building of new synagogues and revitalization projects for many older houses of worship throughout the Carolinas. He served as President of the North Carolina Association of Jewish Men, and created the Circuit Riding Rabbi Project, a “traveling synagogue” designed to provide for the spiritual needs of Jewish residents in communities too isolated to have an organized congregation of their own.
A man who preferred to focus on helping individuals, I. D. was among a small group of people who recognized a need for quality care for the elderly. In October 1962, the Blumenthal Jewish Home for the Aged was opened to provide compassionate care and companionship for Jewish residents of North and South Carolina and their families from across the United States. While the Home in Clemmons not longer exists, the legacy is being carried on by BJH Foundation for Senior Services. The mission of the Foundation is to provide funding to enhance the lives of Jewish seniors residing in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia in accordance with Jewish values and beliefs.
In 1966, I. D. acquired the American Jewish Times Outlook. In keeping with the precepts of its original publishers, the “Times Outlook” served as a forum for Jewish communities in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia to express ideas, share ideals, and connect with one another through the written word. Over the past several years the demographics of the Jewish communities has changed dramatically. In light of these changes and with the availability of more and more Jewish periodicals and websites, the Blumenthal Foundation made the decision to suspend publication of the magazine effective March 1, 2001.
The Blumenthal Foundation was founded in 1953, a natural extension in implementing I. D.’s vision for harmony among those of differing ideologies and theologies. It is a family foundation administered by Alan, Philip and Samuel Blumenthal. Philip Blumenthal serves as the Foundation’s director.
What contributes to its uniqueness is the scope of its grantmaking. From grass roots efforts to service agencies that operate on a local to global scale, it encourages projects of significance to Charlotte and the state of North Carolina, and supports a wide range of fields, including: Arts and Sciences, Civic and Community, Education, the Environment, Foundation Affiliates, Health and Human Services, Jewish Religious, Religious, and Social Services.
Gradually endowed with the success of Radiator Specialty, the Blumenthal Foundation was awarded a significant portion of I. D.’s estate upon his death in 1978.
Through it, through Radiator Specialty and the efforts of the Blumenthal family,