Brooklyn children killed in Shabbat house fire to be buried in Israel

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The seven children from an Orthodox Jewish family who died in a fire in their Brooklyn home due to a malfunctioning hot plate reportedly likely will be buried in Israel.

The Associated Press quoted an unnamed friend of the Sassoon family as saying it is likely that the children, ages 5 to 15, who were killed overnight Friday, will be buried in Israel.

The friend also told the AP that the father, Gabi, who was away from home at a Shabbat conference when the tragedy occurred, and only learned of it on Saturday night, is still in shock. The mother Gayle Sassoon, and their 14-year-old daughter, remain in critical condition and are on respirators and do not know of the deaths of the other family members, according to the AP.

The Jewish Press cited an unnamed community rabbi as saying the children would be buried in Israel.

A memorial service is set to be held in New York on Sunday, according to Ynet, and then the bodies will be buried in Israel the following day.

“The horrific tragedy that struck the Sassoon family has left all of us deeply shocked and saddened,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), who represents the district that the family lives in, said in a statement. He urged his constituents to check that their smoke detectors are working and to check the safety of their hot plates. “Our community is reeling from this unspeakable catastrophe. Our prayers are with the Sassoon family and we will continue to pray for the speedy recovery of the survivors.”

The family reportedly moved from Israel to Brooklyn two years ago to be closer to family, the New York Times reported. Gayle Sassoon reportedly grew up in Brooklyn, was married to her childhood sweetheart and divorced, and moved to Israel, where she met her husband and had eight children, the newspaper reported.