Seven children are being flown to Israel after dying in a fire in Brooklyn. The fire was started by a common practice among Ultra-Orthodox jews. Since they believe God does not want them to use fire or engage in any work (including the turning on of appliances) on the Sabbath, they turn on hot plates before the Sabbath and leave them on. In this case, the hot plate caused the fire that trapped the children and badly injured their mother and another sibling. The father, Gabriel Sasson was at a religious . Lost are Eliane, 16; Rivkah, 11; and Sara, 6; and boys David, 12; Yeshua, 10; Moshe, 8; and Yaakob, 5.
At the time of the fire, Sasson, a religious education instructor was at a Shabbaton, an educational retreat.
We have previously discussed the curious practices used to circumvent the limitations by the Ultra Orthodox including elevators that require all riders to stop on every floor to avoid the need to push a button. Other practices are more serious including dangerous practices associated with circumcision. In this case, a prohibition on fire does not apparently prevent the use of electrical heat but only if you do not actually turn on the device during the Sabbath.
The deaths have caused ultra orthodox families to discuss this practice which is widespread in the community.