The horrific house fire in Brooklyn that claimed the lives of a mother and three children on Chanukah was a tragic and painful loss for the Azan family that also brought all of Klal Yisrael into a state of shared mourning.
The tragedy broke the hearts of Yidden worldwide, but Harav Aharon Walkin, the Rosh Yeshivah of Chazaq’s Bais Medrash Nosson Meir in Queens, was pained to the point he had difficulty delivering his shiurim. He approached baalei batim who are part of his morning shiurim and expressed a desire to dedicate a sefer Torah in memory of the kedoshim. Indeed, Reb Moshe Sdaeb, a dedicated talmid, got over 50 community members to make contributions and, in a joint effort, purchased a sefer Torah with a beautiful silver crown. The sefer Torah was mostly sponsored by members of the Bukharian-Sephardic community in Queens, but they agreed to dedicate it to the Ashkenazi community in Lakewood New Jersey as a special show of achdus among all segments of Klal Yisrael.
Chazaq organized kesivas osiyos in Queens on the day before Lag BaOmer, which was attended by numerous prominent community Rabbanim and community members. Reb Yosef Azan, the father and husband of the victims, attended the event and wrote a letter in the sefer Torah as well. At the end of the event he expressed his gratitude for the dedication of the sefer Torah and encouraged members of Chazaq to work even harder in inspiring Jewish public school students so that the Ribbono shel Olam send us the ultimate Geulah and we can be zocheh to techiyas hameisim.
Then on Lag BaOmer, the sefer Torah was brought to the home of Rav Walkin in Lakewood for the conclusion of the osiyos, which was graced by the presence of Harav Malkiel Kotler and Harav Yeruchim Olshin, Roshei Yeshivah of Beth Medrash Govoha. The sefer Torah was then taken outside, where hundreds of people danced throughout the night. A bonfire was subsequently lit, with uplifting zemiros followed by a seudas mitzvah. The kedushah and achdus that was palpable to all who were zocheh to be there. May Hakadosh Baruch Hu grant us the geulah bimheirah biyameinu, amen!