Tragic Loss in Brooklyn Sounds Alarm Across the Jewish World

(Published in Jewish Journal March 27)
During a time when we are preparing our homes and communities to celebrate the joyous festivities of Passover, a painful tragedy has muted our joy.

This past Friday night, a malfunctioning electric hot plate set off a fire that killed seven children in Brooklyn. The world lost seven beautiful souls, children of Gabriel and Gayle Sassoon: brothers David, 12; Yehoshua, 10; Moshe, 8; Yaakov, 5; and sisters Eliane, 16; Rivka, 11; and Sarah, 6. The mother Gayle and fifteen year-old Siporah managed to escape by leaping out of the second-floor windows and are in critical condition, in need of our prayers.

God didn’t sacrifice these children to convince us that keeping Shabbat is dangerous or an anathema to modern life. God didn’t take these precious lives from the world because of our sins. God took these seven souls back, away from this terrestrial existen

ce, for reasons beyond our comprehension. It leaves a gaping hole in the lives of their family members and such a shocking loss reverberates throughout the Jewish World.

However, as a parent, and as an observant Jew who uses an electric hot plate and a Yom-Tov candle, the tragedy is a loud alarm to me, and hopefully to everyone, about the need for increased vigilance and safety in our community.

May God comfort the families of those precious children who perished and heal the injured.