British Jews Check Sabbath Hotplates after Tragedy

ZAKA's UK branch checks the hotplates of hundreds of families, finds 270 of them to be faulty.

Gil Ronen,

Sassoon family children laid to rest in Jerusalem
Sassoon family children laid to rest in Jerusalem
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

A week after the horrible tragedy in the Sassoon family's Brooklyn home, in which seven children perished in a fire that started because of a faulty Sabbath hotplate, the England branch of the ZAKA emergency medical service has sponsored an event in which Jewish families were asked to bring their Sabbath hotplates from their homes for inspection.

Hundreds of Jewish families showed up at the hall, in which expert electricians hired by ZAKA checked the hotplates for malfunctions of the kind that caused the hotplate in Brooklyn to short-circuit.

Over 270 hotplates were disqualified, because of possible malfunctions similar to the one that caused the tragedy.

David Rose, Executive Director of ZAKA-Britain, said that the organization had been concerned that the turnout might be sparse. “We were wondering if people would come to have their hotplates checked,” he said. “We were surprised when more than 700 families arrived on the first day.”

The project is meant to avert the next tragedy, he explain. “We have seen things that could have ended in catastrophe. Exposed wires, plastic that had melted, these are things that could have caused a fire or a short circuit.”

"The use people make of the hotplate, when they leave it on for 24 hours, or especially outside Israel, when there are sometimes three consecutive days of holiday and Sabbath – this requires maximal responsibility. If we succeeded in preventing one fire or short circuit in a specific home, ZAKA's initiative has proven itself worthwhile.”




top