Thousands of Jewish stars hung across Pittsburgh as sign of unity

Artisans from around the globe knit, crochet, cut and draw stars to blanket city with love.

November 18, 2018 16:41
2 minute read.
HAND-CRAFTED Jewish stars from volunteers around the globe have been hung up around the city of Pitt

HAND-CRAFTED Jewish stars from volunteers around the globe have been hung up around the city of Pittsburgh. (photo credit: MINDY FENSTER WEINER)


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If you took a walk around Pittsburgh this weekend, you probably noticed a new decoration dotting the city’s public areas. That’s because on Saturday morning, several dozen volunteers spread out across the city to hang handmade Jewish stars – with hearts in the center – all across the metropolitan area.

The initiative – founded online by two women who began the Facebook group Jewish Hearts for Pittsburgh – called on crafters around the world to mail in their homemade version of the Star of David to be displayed around the city. And more than 2,000 people answered the call.

So on Saturday, exactly three weeks after 11 Jews were slaughtered in the city’s Tree of Life Synagogue – the worst antisemitic attack in American history – a team of volunteers spread a little love.

“More than 1,000 volunteers from Qatar to California poured their love into their crafted, collaged, painted and crocheted Jewish hearts,” wrote Hinda Mandell, one of the co-founders of the initiative, on Facebook on Saturday. “Ellen [Dominus Broude, the other co-founder] spent the past week ‘bagging and tagging’ these creations, and archiving the notes that arrived in the mail. I’m with you all in spirit on installation day!”

The two women founded the Facebook group several weeks ago, and by Saturday it had more than 1,000 members.

“The purpose of this craft-activism project is to embed love into the Jewish Star (the Star of David),” wrote the group admins. “Our goal is to bring these Jewish Hearts to Pittsburgh before Thanksgiving, and to display them through Chanukah, the Festival of Lights.”

Throughout Saturday, members updated the group with stories and photos of their experiences hanging the stars around the city. Volunteers posted stars on trees, in storefronts, on telephone poles, at the city’s JCC, at police stations, at the University of Pittsburgh, at Chatham University and at synagogues across the neighborhood.

Organizers said they will continue to accept hearts through Thanksgiving – November 22 – and do a second installation around the city.

“Incredible helping to decorate this favorite corner of so many in Squirrel Hill,” wrote Mindy Fenster Weiner in the group, sharing photos of her efforts. “While decorating, people stopped to take pictures and children asked why we were decorating. That’s the point – a beautiful moment to share the love.”

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