Dorothy Blumenthal's philosophy of life could be summed up in a simple sentence that she carried with her on a white business card: "He who gives while he lives also knows where it goes."
She shared that motto with her husband, Harry Blumenthal, who recalled his wife of 65 years, above all, as "a giver."
Last Wednesday, Blumenthal died of a stroke at her daughter's house in Encino. She was 84.
The San Francisco native lived the message on the card, giving both time and money to local Jewish organizations. She and her husband's charities included the Jewish Home for the Aged, the Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley and Israel Bonds.
The couple frequently visited Israel together and were supporters of organizations such as Ben-Gurion University and Boys Town Jerusalem. In addition, Dorothy Blumenthal "loved Women's American ORT and Hadassah," to which she devoted much of her time before becoming ill, her husband recalled.
"She loved the Jewish people," added Harry Blumenthal, who ran a wholesale jewelry business for many years and now works in finance.
While many people in the community recall her as a philanthropist, few know of another of Blumenthal's passions: knitting.
In fact, she was buried in a beaded pink dress that she made for her 50th anniversary, her husband said.
Often, she handcrafted gifts for friends and relatives. On planes and in cars, she could be seen knitting clothing for her family, which includes son Neil Blumenthal; daughter Carol Schostak; and five grandchildren; Debbie and Denise Blumenthal, and Stuart, Dennis and Cindy Shostak .
One of the Blumenthals' favorite charities, Hebrew Free Loan, was planning to honor the couple with an award on Dec. 17. Irwin Weiner, the agency's executive director, said the award was for "outstanding service on behalf of human kind."
Weiner recalled Dorothy Blumenthal as "very sweet, warm and tender." He also expressed admiration for her 68-year partnership with her husband, Harry. The couple met when they were 16, and married in 1930, when they were 19.
"The match was made in heaven. In my opinion, you couldn't find two people who loved each other more. You could see it in the actions, in their faces. I wish everybody had a marriage like that," said Weiner.
Though both Blumenthals were raised Orthodox, they joined a Reform synagogue, San Francisco's Congregation Sherith Israel, more than 20 years ago. The congregation's cantor, Martin Feldman, became personal friends with Dorothy Blumenthal over the years.
"She was a woman of valor with a kind, sweet soul. I used to dance with Dorothy and sing to her. She was so full of life, a lovable, adorable person who lit up the room with her smile. Everybody loved her," said Feldman.
"When a person like that comes into your life, you never forget that person," the cantor added.
After a marriage of almost 70 years, Harry Blumenthal said he plans to keep his wife in his heart by continuing the charitable work that was her passion.
Indeed, Blumenthal plans not only to continue his philanthropic work, but to step up his giving.
"I will do more now than before — all in her name. Everything I do from now on is for her."
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