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FloridaJewish Aishes Chayil
Mrs. Heyman was born on 1913 in Brooklyn and spent her early years there. Her father, Saul was a tailor working for a pants manufacturing company and he received a job opportunity in Baltimore. The family moved there in 1919. Sylvia was the oldest of three sisters and two brothers and was a loving mentor to her siblings. He father lovingly named her “Soochie” and all of her siblings called her by that name. The Schreibfeders were a close, warm, loving family and kept an observant Jewish home. She was very close to her mother, Yetta. Through the years she learned how to create and maintain a Jewish home. Her parents taught her and her siblings the importance of mispochah, chessed and tzedakah.
When Sylvia became sixteen she had a “sweet sixteen” party. She met Jack Heyman who had “crashed” the party. Six years later they married and set up housekeeping in Baltimore. In 1935 her Dad received a promotion and most of the family moved to Martinsville, Virginia. He became the general manager of three pants manufacturing factories. Since Jack's work was in Baltimore, Sylvia and Jack stayed in Baltimore while the rest of the family moved to Martinsville.
Sylvia created a warm and loving environment for Jack and herself. In 1937 her son, Larry, was born. Sylvia became a full time mother, nurturing, loving and guiding him through his informative years and for the rest of her life. Sylvia and Jack became grandparents to Steven, Fannie and Darren. Their love for the kinderlach was boundless. The children were their pride and joy! Sylvia was a completely devoted wife, mother and bubbe.
Sylvia was very supportive of her husband encouraging him on each new job advancement opportunity. After working for many employers though the years, in 1946, Jack started his own business and built it into a successful furniture manufacturing company. Throughout all those years Sylvia always had a warm delicious dinner waiting for him when he came home from work, no matter what time. She was completely dedicated to her husband, being by his side throughout his life.
Every Friday night she prepared the house for Shabbos and cooked a delicious Shabbos dinner. She lit the Shabbos candles much like her mother and grandmother did for many generations before her. She had the ability to generate love for everyone in her life. There were always family and/or guests at her Shabbos table.
She loved having the family for the various yom tovim. As she got older and no longer able to prepare the meals, her nieces took over and had the family for each holiday. Her nieces and nephews love their Aunt Sylvia and she became a mentor to most all of her nieces, seeking her opinions and council.
Her love and devotion was not limited to her family. She developed many close relationships through the various charitable organizations she had joined. She became very active in these organizations. Sylvia was president of the Mariam Lodge, an organization that fundraised to purchase equipment for the Children’s Hospital. Once a week she went to the hospital to read and play with the sick children. She was also president of the Shaarei Tifiloh Congregation Sisterhood, raising money for Israel. She was an active member of Hadassah. Each week she and her husband organized bingo games for the patients at Mt Sinai Old Age home. She was a member of the American Red Cross and during WW2 she and Jack were Air Raid Wardens responsible for arranged for the sounding of air raid sirens. She volunteered her time at Kernan hospital in Baltimore.
It seemed like she volunteered for almost every worthy cause. It was her way to “give back” for all the blessing she had received in her lifetime.
Her life was dedicated to helping others and giving of herself to her family, friends and the many charitable organizations. Sylvia passed away in 1991 sitting in her Hallandale, Florida apartment. She was holding the Hadassah "Minutes" Book on her lap, apparently writing her minutes from their last meeting. It is not surprising that her last breath was devoted to the organization she loved. May God rest her blessed soul!
Publisher’s Note: I felt it was appropriate to honor my mother as the first Aishes Chayil on FloridaJewish.com. Her blessed memory is a lasting inspiration for her son and grandchildren and all those whose life she touched. Yasher Koach Mom!