Philly Mexican Consulate dedicates altar for the victims of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life shooting
Among the fruits and calacas and the pan de muertos traditionally used in a Mexican Day of the Dead altar, there was a menorah, a Star of David, and 11 portraits of the victims of last week's shooting at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue.
Among the fruits and calacas and pan de muertos traditionally used on a Mexican Day of the Dead altar, there were a menorah, a Star of David, and 11 portraits of the victims of last week's shooting at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue.
It's a gesture of solidarity between the Mexican people and government and American Jews, said Alicia Kerber-Palma of the Mexican consulate in Philadelphia. "Here [is] the commitment to continue working together in initiatives that promote respect and unity," she said.
Stones were placed in front of each portrait, a nod to the Jewish tradition of placing stones at the tombs of the loved ones. And a Mexican Tree of Life serves as a symbolic connection between both communities and their dual work with immigrants and the vulnerable populations in the region.
A grand jury on Wednesday issued a 44-count indictment against Robert Bowers, 46, including hate crimes and obstructing the practice of religion, in connection to the massacre in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood.
"It makes me sad and it makes me angry that someone can do such a thing, but I'm very grateful to see other areas of faith and religion try to help us and comfort us," said Selma Harris Forstater, 85, of Center City, who visited the altar Friday afternoon.
The altar was presented to representatives of the local Jewish community on Thursday in the public space of the consulate, and will stay open to visitors daily, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m, until Friday, Nov. 9. The consulate is on the third floor of the Bourse Building, 111 S. Independence Mall E.