When the Sabbath starts Friday night, observant Jews shun the modern conveniences others use daily — no phones, no electric lights, and no turning the oven or microwave on or off.
But some of what is acceptable, can also create danger — the use of candles have long been a fire-causing culprit. For years, families would leave a stove burner on for 24 hours. Electric hot plates left on, were actually considered safer.
Fire safety educators say the workarounds are all the more reason the proper installation of smoke detectors is crucial.
New York Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro will hold an emergency meeting with community leaders Monday, and just before Sunday’s funeral, fire safety educators were on the tragic streets of Midwood, educating the community how to make their homes safer.
Community educators handed printed tip sheets called “Fire Safety for Jewish Observance," along with free detectors and batteries.
"Stay in the kitchen - don't leave cooking food unattended," one pamphlet implores.
"A lot of people use these hot plates to keep food warm for the next day," said state Assemblyman Dov Hikind. "They put them on Friday and they are left on for the entire Sabbath, 25 hours."
Hikind said he uses a water-filled urn that he heats up before the Sabbath starts.
"I called my own daughter, who has six kids, to tell her to stop using that hot plate," he said.
Allen I. Fagin, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union, a Jewish community support group told Metro he hopes families take to heart the importance of its past safety campaigns, including its most recent one at Chanukah.
"Through its Safe Homes Safe Schools Safe Shuls program the OU has long advocated for careful attention to matters of safety. In light of this devastating event we renew our reminder for every home and family to equip itself with smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and other appropriate equipment," Fagin said.
"All of us at the Orthodox Union are heartbroken over this terrible tragedy and offer our deepest compassion and condolences to the Sassoon family. We join the entire Jewish people and people of good will everywhere in hoping for them to be granted the strength to get through this together and to be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem."