Firefighters Honored by Congregation Yetev Lev Satmar for Saving Sifrei Torah in Synagogue Fire


satmar-fireBrooklyn firefighters received a big thank you from the Conregation Yetev Lev Satmar on Oct. 27, for saving four Sifrei Torah from a shul just four days earlier.

“You are like family to us,” Rabbi Abe Friedman said. “It’s an honor that you came here today.”

A fire at the shul on South 8th Street in Williamsburg was reported at 4:41 a.m. on Oct. 22.

Firefighters arrived on the scene and found fire on the first floor and in the basement.

When the fire reached a second alarm, Battalion Chief James Yakimovich arrived on the scene. He said the building manager approached him, concerned about the torahs, kept in safes, inside.

He got the combinations to each of the safes and retrieved the four Sifrei Torah from three different safes on the first and second floors.

“We do our job without expecting any recognition, so this is a surprise,” Chief Yakimovich said. “The Torah dictates how they live their lives and I understand the importance of it.”

Rabbi Abe Friedman thanks more than 20 firefighters who attended the event.

The Sifrei Torah are valued at approximately $40,000 apiece. The Rabbi said that more than 1,000 people are members of the shul.

Dozens of rabbis and community members gathered to thank firefighters who helped rescue the Sifrei Torah and extinguish the fire.

They presented Brooklyn Borough Commander Chief James Leonard and Chief Yakimovich with plaques for the FDNY members who responded the fire. Each plaque had a clock and an etched scroll that looks like a Torah.

“We work hard to serve the community and make sure everyone’s needs are met,” Chief Leonard said. “This is a special day for us, as we don’t usually get recognized like this.”

{NYC Gov/ Newscenter}


  1. He was referring to their monetary value, I don’t think he meant to call them ‘pieces’.

    I agree with you, the sifrei Torah have an intrinsic holiness that transcends the physical and therefore it’s improper to refer to them in that way…. I just don’t think he meant it like that.

    Have a great Shabbos Kodesh!