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NEW YORK, NY – On Monday, a multi-faith coalition of New York City’s religious leaders rallied at Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand’s New York City offices to demand a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. As part of a nationwide day of action for Christians for a Free Palestine, Christian faith leaders in New York City were joined by Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist faith leaders to deliver letters from more than 60 NYC clergy urging their federal representatives — Sen. Schumer, Sen. Gillibrand, Rep. Dan Goldman, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Rep. Yvette Clarke, Rep. Grace Meng, and Rep. Adriano Espaillat — to call for a permanent ceasefire, an end to Israel’s blockade on humanitarian aid into Gaza, and the safe return of all hostages.

“We are here today as people of faith grieving the unimaginable devastation and suffering happening in Gaza after five months of relentless, indiscriminate bombing and starvation of an entire population, carried out by the Israeli military and funded by our own government,” said Miriam Grossman, Rabbis for Ceasefire. “As New York clergy, we demand that our federal representatives call for a permanent ceasefire. As Jewish clergy, we know that our tradition demands we treat every human life as sacred, and that means we will not allow this brutal bombing and starvation to be perpetrated in our name.”

“Last week, Senator Schumer made his strongest condemnation of Netanyahu yet and his genocidal war against Palestinians, saying Netanyahu should be voted out of office,” said Rev. Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft, Consulting Justice Minister, Middle Church. “But the millions of starving, displaced, and sick Palestinians can’t wait for the next election. Israel may be ‘too willing to tolerate civilian death toll,’ as Schumer said on Thursday, but we faith leaders are not. We must do the right thing. The time is now for New York’s federal representatives to join the international call for a permanent ceasefire.”

“With over 31,000 Palestinian lives lost and Israeli hostages’ families calling for a ceasefire, it’s clear this war is not about freeing hostages but about genocidal military might,” said Rev. Micah Bucey, Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church. “It is imperative that people of all faith traditions demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire so that the work of repentance and repair can actually begin.”

“In 2012 I met with Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land as part of a Methodist delegation. One of the messages on the separation wall was, ‘Now that I have seen, I am responsible.’ Every night on the evening news, we see the carnage and desperation in Gaza which is funded by the US government. As taxpayers, we are responsible for this suffering. As people of faith, we have a moral obligation to demand an immediate ceasefire and participate in acts of repentance and reparation,” said Rev. Melissa Hinnen, Park Slope United Methodist Church.

“As faith leaders, we work for healing and restoration of the world. That work cannot begin until the US ends its complicity in the violence and the bombing stops,” said Rev. Emily Brewer, Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. “This is my prayer as a pastor and my demand to Schumer and Gillibrand as a constituent: Stop funding genocide. Call for a ceasefire and release of all hostages. End the blockade. May justice roll like water and righteousness like an everflowing stream.”

“I am heartsick because of the horrific violence in Gaza: the deaths of more than 31,000; the famine and preventable disease; the children who have lost their entire families; the women giving birth in the rubble,” said Rev. Elizabeth G. Maxwell, Rector, Church of the Ascension. “God weeps over this frenzy of destruction and death, and calls us to do everything we can to stop it. As an American citizen and person of faith, I feel especially responsible to challenge our government’s complicity and demand that my elected leaders call for an immediate, permanent ceasefire. We must stop sending military and financial support to Israel. We must insist that massive amounts of aid be allowed into Gaza before thousands more die of starvation, and that all hostages on both sides be released. And we must work for a negotiated peace that allows all the people of the land to live in dignity, equality, security and self-determination. For any of that hard, essential peace-making work to happen, we must begin with a permanent ceasefire now.” 

WHO: Several faith leaders from New York City’s religious institutions delivered letters from more than 60 NYC clergy demanding a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. Faith leaders in attendance on Monday include:

  • Rev. Khader Khalilia, Pastor of Redeemer – St. John’s Lutheran Church 
  • Imam Mohammed Ockeh, Muslim American Society 
  • Rabbi Miriam Grossman, Rabbis for Ceasefire
  • Rev. Adriene Thorne, Senior Minister, The Riverside Church in the City of New York
  • Rev. Sarah Dojin Emerson, Zen Priest, Brooklyn Zen Center 
  • Rev. Dr. Carl Adair, The Episcopal Mission in Sunnyside and Zion Episcopal Church, Douglaston
  • Rabbi Abby Stein, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
  • Bilal Ezzedine, American Muslim Bar Association 

Audio/visuals available include

Photos, video of faith leaders speaking in front of Sen. Schumer and Sen. Gillibrand’s office, video of faith leaders hand delivering letters to the senators’ offices