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Religious leaders, protesters walk 22 miles for ceasefire pilgrimage in East Bay

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(KRON) — Church, mosque, and synagogue leaders alike have organized a 22-mile pilgrimage along the East Bay, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza on Saturday.

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., this day-long event served as a symbolic gesture of mapping Gaza onto the East Bay. Participants walked from Berkeley to Alameda, mirroring the distance from Gaza City to the Rafah crossing refugee camp.

Hundreds of protesters wearing prayer scarves with “ceasefire” on them also joined the religious leaders on Saturday, each carrying olive branches to serve as a symbol of peace.

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According to one of the organizers, Reverend Dr. Allison Tanner, over 45 faith communities have committed to Saturday’s protest, with over 16 religious congregations displaying ceasefire banners for the pilgrimage.

“I am joining this pilgrimage because my ancestors and descendants demand for me to always seek and live compassion and justice in the world,” said Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, pastor and former moderator of the Presbyterian Church USA. “The generational trauma that is being and has been inflicted upon all involved can be stopped if the world would only exhibit the political and human will to do so.”

The pilgrimage calls for enduring a sustained ceasefire, and an immediate flow of life-saving food, water, fuel and humanitarian services. Protesters are also calling for the release of all hostages: both the Israeli hostages held by Hamas, and the Palestinian hostages held in Israeli prisons.

Beyt Tikkun: A Synagogue without Walls is joining this pilgrimage because our Jewish tradition demands that we both speak out and take action to prevent harm when a crime is being committed in our name. In fact, our teachings tell us that if we don’t protest when harm is being committed, whether in our family, our community, or the world, we are responsible for the harm. Our Torah teaches us to choose life – praying with our feet is a way for us to say yes to life and no to war. Nonviolent action is a positive offering to history, is connected with the most profound political and social change, and helps ameliorate humanity’s despair. We stand in solidarity with our Palestinian cousins and demand an immediate ceasefire. We unequivocally say: Never again for anyone.

Rabbi Cat Zavis, Beyt Tikkun Synagogue

This pilgrimage was a part of a broader global movement of solidarity pilgrimages, taking place in 145 cities in 18 countries, including a pilgrimage in every continent.

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