Brooklyn, NY – Thousands Attend Funeral For 7 Siblings Killed In Brooklyn Fire (Video Replay-Photos)


    Gabriel Sassoon father of the 7 children is being escorted to a vehicle after the funeral on Mar. 22, 2015 (Eli Wohl/VINnews)Brooklyn, NY – Thousands of mourners cried an endless stream of tears as men, women and children from all segments of the Jewish community thronged to Borough Park to show kavod acharon to the seven Sassoon children who died in a tragic fire of epic proportions this past Shabbos.

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    The streets around Shomrei Hadas Chapels were clogged with people as stiff winds and unfathomable grief filled the air during the levaya which took place at 3 PM this afternoon.

    The service began with prayers in Hebrew and shrieks could be heard through speakers that broadcast the funeral to the several thousand people gathered inside and on the streets.

    Seven coffins were lined up inside the funeral chapel. The standing room only crowd was addressed briefly by the heartbroken father, Gabriel Sassoon, who told everyone present that his children represented seven pure offerings, sacrificed on Rosh Chodesh Nissan.

    “They were so pure,” said Sassoon who was at a religious conference when the flames broke out. “My wife, she came out fighting.”

    “My children were unbelievable. They were the best,” lamented Sassoon as mourners outside the funeral home cried in the streets. “You have to love them as parents. You have to love them as teachers.”

    “I don’t know how I could have everything and now I have nothing,” said Sassoon.

    “There’s only one way to survive this: It’s complete, utter and total surrender,” he wailed.

    Mobile users click here to watch video replay of the funeral.

    Rabbi Shaul Kassin and Rabbi David Ozeri also gave short speeches, with Rabbi Ozeri likening the devastating fire to a Holocaust sweeping through Brooklyn’s Jewish community. Rabbi Ozeri noted that the Sassoon family had moved to Brooklyn fairly recently and credited both parents for raising exemplary children.

    “In school we now have empty desks,” said Rabbi Ozeri. “For the short time that they were with us they enhanced every class and every student. Gabi and Gayle, you raised malachim.”

    Due to the Sephardic tradition of not eulogizing the dead, the seven hearses that carried the four brothers and three sisters who died in the fire were on their way to JFK Airport shortly after 3:30.

    The children, ages five to sixteen, will be buried tomorrow on Har Hamenuchos, while their mother and one remaining sister remain hospitalized in critical condition with serious burns sustained during the blaze that swept through their Bedford Avenue home in one of the deadliest fires to hit the city in years.

    Ezra Friedlander, CEO of the Friendlander Group, was inside Shomrei Hadas during the levaya and noted that a tragedy of this magnitude is incomprehensible.

    “This is a wake-up call that we all have to appreciate our children,” Friedlander told VIN News. “Every parent who heard of this tragedy knows what they have to do tonight: hug and kiss your kids tonight and hope that we never have to participate in a levaya of this nature ever again.”

    Esther Dan of Lakewood recalled living in the same building as the Sassoons several years ago.

    “When we first moved to Israel the mother asked us if she could help us in any way she can,” said Mrs. Dan. “A house full of kids and she’s thinking about others, but that’s the kind of people they are. They were such positive, happy kids, always with a smile on their faces. I can see them playing in front of my eyes. I can’t believe they’re gone.”
    Several Jewish woman crying after the funeral. Credits: BMR News for
    The Sasson’s lives revolved around their eight children according to a close friend of the couple.

    Nomi Weinfeld, who lived near the Sassoon’s in Israel in Ramot Eshkol for four years, described the tight-knit brood to The Jerusalem Post as “wonderful, kind people.”

    “Gayle’s three eldest daughters are close to my daughters and they went to camp together every summer in upstate New York,” said Weinfeld of the children’s mother, 45, who survived the fire by jumping out of her home’s second story window.

    “They were always looking to do the right thing and were very growth oriented,” she added.

    Weinfeld described Mrs. Sassoon as “very creative, very artistic, and very fun-loving.”

    “She was always working on herself to be a good mother and person,” she said.

    According to Weinfeld, the Sassons decided to move back to New York after living in Israel for 15 years to be closer to family. She said that the family was beloved by neighbors during their years living in Har Nof, and later Ramot Eshkol.

    “They were serious and just good and happy people,” she said. “The story is heartbreaking. There are no words.”

    More than 100 firefighters turned out to battle the blaze in Brooklyn’s Midwood neighborhood and brought it under control within an hour.

    Gabriel Sassoon did not learn what had happened until several hours after the fire, when the police department reached him at a synagogue.

    At their fire-gutted home on Bedford Avenue, a vase of white roses sat in front of as a police officer stood guard and contractors boarded up windows with plywood.

    “I call this not a tragedy but an absolute disaster,” said state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who represents Midwood.

    Associate Press, Reuters, and The Jerusalem Post contributed to this article.
    (Eli Wohl/
    {NewsPhotosEmbed 751017086}

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    9 years ago

    וויפיל מאל נעמט עס אזא טראגעדיע צו זעהן וואסערע צדיקים אינז פארמאגן צווישען אינז “פשוטע” יודען,דע טאטע איז א גאון און אמונה ובטחון די באשעפער זאל עם מנחם זיין בתוך שאר אבילי ציון שבירושלים

    9 years ago


    9 years ago

    Tragic beyond words, the father is a tzadik. Why some askanim feel the need to get their names in the story is another matter. In addition, the lesson is to prevent this from happening again by the proper means, not only to hug your children tonite as one askan said.

    9 years ago

    It moves me to see that in the shadow of such a horrific tragedy different segments of the klal can share in the pain and grief.

    9 years ago

    Wow absolutely devastated. Truly heart wrenching. May hashem send nechoma to the family and strength to deal with this unimaginable tragedy, may am yisroel see better days and share only smachot. Amen :/

    9 years ago

    Only Hashem can console the battered heart of this angelic father and the restore the health of his remaining family members.

    This tragedy surpasses our wildest nightmares, it cannot set in, it is so incomprehensible. We need to unite and better our Ovadas Hashem, these beautiful children served as an atonement for our sins.

    May Hashem strengthen the Father, the family and all of Klal Yisrael.

    May we see the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days.


    9 years ago

    It would be the proper thing
    To preface
    Prior to each comment or statemant – etc. – by stating
    ” it is with unaware ignorance “- in which we could even find the medium
    Of Words
    in which to even express
    This horrific tragedy
    From a miniscule standpoint !!!!

    No words no words !!!!

    Utterly ignorance to even dear
    To express or describe!!!!

    9 years ago

    Unfathomable tragedy. The one consolation, for me, is that our merciful Hashem gathered the innocent neshamos to Him with a kiss and took them straight to lechtige Gan Eden. While we are clueless down here, they now know they have fulfilled their mission in their brief time on earth.
    Re all the advice about hot plates and smoke detectors, sure we must do our hishtadlus, but when Hashem calls, even the best preventive measures will somehow fail.
    May the family and Klal Yisroel know of no more sorrow.

    9 years ago

    ברוך דיין האמת may hashem help all of us with the גאולה שלמה בקרוב

    9 years ago

    BD’E there are no words to express how devastated we all feel. anything we say is not enough. hamakom yinachem et-chem betoch shaar avlay tzion v’yerushalaim. May we never hear of such trageties & may hashed comfort the un-comfort-able

    9 years ago

    7 words for 7 children
    Hamakome Yenachem Eschem……………

    9 years ago

    My 8 year old daughter asked me this evening. Tati what can I do for Hashem tonight for those seven kids I never knew ?
    My answer was that you are a perfect kid in every way but if you can do a Chesed to another classmate or neighbor friend it will be a great zechus for those holy neshumes .
    She said Tati can I use my Purim money to buy my friend a pair of shoes for Pesach because her father is very poor.?
    I hid my tears from her and kissed her good night and b”h she fell asleep.
    Me Keamchue Yisroel

    9 years ago

    There is a message here: 7 pure korbonos. Taken on the night of the 7th month (Nissan). Of the 7th year (shmittah). On the 7th day of the week. How blind can we be that Moshiach is on the way and we NEED TO DO TESHUVAH -NOW!!!!