Jewish couple killed in Brooklyn house fire remembered as ‘righteous’


(JTA) — A Brooklyn couple killed in a house fire was remembered as “genuine,” “righteous” and “devoted to family” at their joint funeral.

Mourners spilled outside a Borough Park chapel on Monday afternoon for the joint funeral of Howard and Evelyn Gluck, who were killed early that morning in a blaze that ripped through their two-story, wood-framed home in the haredi Orthodox Jewish neighborhood.

Howard was 61 and worked for a hardware company. Evelyn was 59. The couple had four children, three living in New Jersey, as well as grandchildren.

As fire engulfed the home they had lived in for nearly four decades, the couple’s 17-year-old daughter, Chana, stood on the roof shouting for someone to help her parents, who were trapped inside, The New York Times reported. Chana was rescued by firefighters and admitted to the hospital for smoke inhalation. She attended the funeral for her parents that afternoon supported by family members.

The cause of the fire is being investigated and it is not clear if there were working smoke detectors in the home.

Hundreds of mourners attending the funeral heard eulogies of the Glucks delivered in Yiddish.

“They were just so special,” their son Yeidel said tearfully.

Speakers were set up in the parking lot allowing the overflow to hear the remarks, according to the Times.

Howard, also known as Chaim, was remembered for opening the Ohr Chaim synagogue at 4:30 each day for the morning prayer service he attended faithfully. Evelyn, also known as Feigy, opened her home to teach free knitting classes to neighborhood women.

A neighbor, Malty Reisz, told the Times that Evelyn Gluck would give paintings as gifts to their children’s schoolteachers.

“Now they’re all burned up,” she said of the artwork. “It’s just so unbelievable.”

Very little inside the home was salvageable, according to the Times. However, volunteers sifting through the home uncovered an undamaged small velvet bag containing a tallit and a set of tefillin that Chaim Gluck had purchased to give his grandson for his bar mitzvah.

Some 140 firefighters responded to the three-alarm fire. On Monday morning, firefighters passed out fire safety information and free smoke detectors in front of the burnt-out home.

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