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B'nai Spotlight - Rabbi Reuben Heyman

Rabbi Reuben Heyman was born in 1856 in what was then, and is again now, St. Petersburg, Russia. But it was Petrograd when he emigrated in 1902 to the United States.  His year of arrival in the United States comes from the 1910 census, which shows the rabbi and his family living at 1038 E. Lombard Street. Interestingly enough, the census identifies his native tongue as English. He was known to speak Russian, Hebrew, and English fluently.  He had just become a naturalized citizen in 1909.  So, when the census came along but a year later, perhaps he wanted to underscore his commitment to this country by identifying his native language as English.  The household at the time consisted of the rabbi, his wife, Anna, and four children, Rosie, William, Harry, and Rachel. Another daughter, Lena, was married to Harry Miller and living on Pratt Street.  

Rabbi Heyman served the community of Jonestown as a kosher meat inspector until his death on 13 December 1916. Others in the household worked as well.  Rosie had a factory job working as a "Ladies Tailor", and William was a cloth cutter in  store. 

The rabbi's obituary informs us that he was " . . . educated in the Hebrew seminaries of Vilna and Alonza in Russia . . ." and that he was connected with several synagogues in Petrograd. Despite those deep connections, the rabbi chose to emigrate "so that his sons might escape the military requirements of the Russian Empire." He made the journey himself, then brought his family over the next year.

By the time of the 1930 census the Heyman children had scattered beyond Jonestown.  They followed the westward migration of the Baltimore Jewish community settling around Druid Hill Park and further west. Yet, most them now rest with their parents in the historic B'nai Israel cemetery.

Rabbi Reuban Heyman headstone
B'nai Israel Congregation cemetery

Mon, December 11 2023 28 Kislev 5784