Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Jewish stars light up Pittsburgh

(JTA)—More than 2,000 handmade Stars of David were hung throughout Pittsburgh.

The stars, created by more than 1,000 volunteers from around the world, were hung on Saturday by 40 volunteers. Each star—some crocheted, some made with leather—had a heart in the center.

The stars were the brainchild of Hinda Mandell and Ellen Dominus Broude, who created the Facebook page Jewish Hearts from Pittsburgh in response to the attack at the Tree of Life synagogue building in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood that left 11 worshippers dead.

The page called for donations of handcrafted stars to help strengthen the community in the wake of the tragedy.

On Oct. 28, Mandell on her own Facebook page provided patterns for knitters, suggested sizes and colors and deadlines of what she calls “Jewish Hearts.” On Oct. 30 she and Broude set up the Jewish Hearts from Pittsburgh page

The women, both from New York, opened a post office box to receive the stars. They arrived from 12 countries, including New Zealand and Qatar, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Stars were sent by Catholic school children from Little Rock, Ark., students from a Hebrew school in London, residents of Parkland Fla, a survivor of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado and a Quaker woman from Pueblo, Colo., according to the newspaper.

“Three weeks ago, I met Ellen Dominus Broude online and we created Jewish Hearts for Pittsburgh. Today, with a team of volunteers, they are installing 2,000 hearts around Pittsburgh. More than 1,000 volunteers from Qatar to California poured their love into their crafted, collaged, painted and crocheted Jewish Hearts. Ellen spent the past week “bagging and tagging” these creations, and archiving the notes that arrived in the mail,” Mandell wrote in a post on her personal Facebook pate.

Mandell, an associate professor of communications at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y. is a former Boston Globe journalist, according to the Post-Gazette. She is editing an anthology titled “Crafting Dissent: Handicraft as Protest from the American Revolution to the Pussyhats.”

Broude supervised the hanging of the stars. Her daughter Emily, a senior at Carnegie Mellon University, lives in Squirrel Hill and in previous years taught musical prayers and songs at Tree of Life’s religious school on the weekends, according to the Post-Gazette.

The group reportedly will accept more stars and hang them after Thanksgiving.


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