Lee & Alan Blumenthal
We were taught at an early age that helping others and making the world a better place is an integral part of being Jewish. Our grandparents were from Europe and settled in Savannah and High Point, small towns with little Jewish presence. We attended services at an early age with our parents, Sunday School attendance was required and, in High Point, being counted at Minyans was a frequent responsibility. It was part of family life — we had to work at being Jewish because we lived in a non-Jewish world.
The religious aspects of Jewish life are important, but it is our role in our communities and in the world that resonates with us. Being Jewish is who we are and not something you switch on or off. There are so few of us and it is much easier to assimilate than it used to be, so we have an even greater responsibility than past generations to preserve our traditions and values and take care of our fellow Jews wherever they reside.
The Jewish landscape in Charlotte changed dramatically with the development of Shalom Park; as a community we had to adjust to find the balance between giving to Israel and funding our local needs. Shalom Park has made it possible for us to get to know each other as a Jewish community and has raised our stature in the secular community. It has attracted newcomers to Charlotte and instilled a greater sense of pride in all of us as we share, listen and learn from one another.
Inspired by Alan’s parents, Herman and Anita, and uncle, I.D. Blumenthal, we both view contributing to the Jewish and secular community as a responsibility and have passed on this philanthropic mindset to our daughters, Jill and Stacy. We are proud of how they understand their roles in their own communities and have become involved.
Jews have made so many positive contributions to humankind in the realms of religion, philosophy, culture, science and technology. Charlotte must have a core of strong Jewish institutions in order to educate our youth so that Judaism continues to survive and thrive. Israel, an example to the world of what can happen when citizens devote themselves to building a progressive nation, is an inspiration to our children and is a very important part of who we are as Jews.
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