Seven children from the same family who died in a fire at their Brooklyn home early Saturday morning were laid to rest in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon.
Thousands attended the funeral of seven Jewish children from the same family who died in a fire at their home early Saturday morning in Brooklyn, NY. They were laid to rest at Har Hamenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon.
The children – Eliane, 16; Rivkah, 13; Sara, 6, David, 12; Yehoshua, 10; Moshe, 8; Sara, 6, and Yaakob, 5 – were asleep when the fire, caused by an apparently malfunctioning hot plate used to keep the food warm over the Sabbath – lighting a flame is prohibited for observant Jews – swept through the Sassoon family home.
Their mother, Gayle, and 14-year-old Tziporah were badly burned, but managed to jump out a window to escape the flames and are now in a New York hospital in critical condition.
The father, Gabriel, was out of town at a conference when the disaster occurred.
Firefighters say that there were no working smoke detectors.
The family had moved to New York two years ago from Jerusalem in order to be closer to their relatives, but they were planning on returning to Israel.
“I don’t know how I could have everything and now I have nothing,” Gabriel Sassoon cried in a eulogy at a memorial service in New York on Sunday. “There’s only one way to survive this. It’s complete, utter and total surrender.”
“Each one is a flower in God’s garden,” former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau said at the Jerusalem funeral.
Rabbi Abraham Lazerman, head of the school that the children had attended before moving to Brooklyn, said that the tragedy affected Jews and non-Jews alike.
“I paid the ultimate sacrifice,” the father wailed. “Here before you are seven innocent lambs. They were such innocent children. This was a sacrifice for the Jewish people. I thought about my children’s future…. I wanted grandchildren, but the Lord thought otherwise and took them as a sacrifice at the height of their beauty. In the end it is for their benefit and for our benefit, but we cannot understand the master plan.”