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Volunteer Spotlight: Bob and Devorah Heyman

Bob and Devorah Heyman are familiar faces around Emanuel for their contributions during the High Holy Days and year round. They have decades of experience volunteering at Emanuel Congregation between them, and each of them gives back to Emanuel in their own ways.

A member for 20 years, Bob began volunteering after he married Devorah. He organizes the ushers for the High Holy Days - crucial for keeping everything running smoothly during the busiest time of the year - and serves as treasurer on the board of trustees, overseeing the congregation’s bank accounts. One of his proudest accomplishments has been to move the congregation’s bank accounts to a new bank and restructuring them.

Devorah has taken on many roles at Emanuel, including serving previously as congregation president and currently as Book of Remembrance chair. “Being on the board allows me to make High Holy Day greeting calls, which are so much fun because you aren’t asking people for money,” she says.

She first joined Emanuel in 1973 and immediately began teaching in the religious school. She taught on and off after she had children. Since then, Devorah has helped generations of Emanuel Congregation Religious School students prepare for their bar and bat mitzvahs. She herself had an adult bat mitzvah in 1993 - one year after her older son had his bar mitzvah. She also taught beginning Hebrew to adults before returning to teaching in the Religious School in 2002.

At first, she thought that the clergy was what she liked about Emanuel. However, “after a couple of changes in clergy, I realized it was the people that kept me coming back,” she says. “We had many older members who treated our children like their grandchildren.”

During the 1990s, she joined the Shiva Corps, founded by Rabbi David Sofian, and learned how to lead shiva minyans. “I discovered that leading services was not so hard,” she says.

From time to time, Devorah will fill in for clergy during shabbat services, adding yet another way she gives back to Emanuel.

Even with their busy volunteer schedule, they still have time for activities outside of Emanuel. Bob is executive director of a national pharmacy fraternity and a member of his college alumni association. He previously served as president of the Professional Fraternity Association. Devorah also teaches Hebrew to others during the week. Together, they enjoy travel and were even able to go to Devorah’s family reunion this past June in California.


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