Participating Congregations and Organizations
  • American Muslim Voice
  • Bahá'í Community of Palo Alto
  • Beyt Tikkun Synagogue
  • First Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) Palo Alto
  • First Evangelical Lutheran Church Palo Alto
  • First Presbyterian Church Palo Alto
  • First United Methodist Church Palo Alto
  • Mountain View Buddhist Temple
  • Palo Alto Buddhist Temple
  • Palo Alto Friends Meeting
  • St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Palo Alto
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Palo Alto (Catholic)
  • Social Action Committee of the Redwood City Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship
  • Trinity Church in Menlo Park (Episcopal)
  • Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
  • Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Los Gatos
  • West Bay Chapter, Buddhist Peace Fellowship

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... and to save one life is to save the whole world

to destroy one life is to destroy the whole world,
and to save one life is to save the whole world

Jewish Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5, and Muslim Qur'an 5:32

As people of faith contemplating the horrendous violence in the Middle East, we are guided by the truth of this fundamental teaching which is found in both the Jewish and Muslim traditions, that to destroy one life is to destroy the whole world, and to save one life is to save the whole world.

We live in the reality of the destruction of thousands of lives in Israel and Gaza. We acknowledge the appalling massacre of 1,200 Israelis by Hamas on October 7, 2023 and the devastating war that has caused a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and has taken the lives of over 34,000 people there. We know that for the loved ones of each and every one of these individuals killed, it may surely be that their whole world is destroyed. With our hearts filled with sorrow and compassion, we say, “Enough!”

It is time for all of us, people of faith and goodwill everywhere, civilians and leaders alike, to embrace and follow the second part of this ancient and true wisdom: to save one life is to save the whole world. Let us, as a global community pledge ourselves to work with all of our being so that instead of destroying life, we can save one life, and then another, and then another, on the quest to save the whole world.

For the sake of both Palestine and Israel, and all human beings involved:

It is time for a ceasefire on both sides.

It is time for the safe release of all hostages and political prisoners.

It is time for the necessities of life – water, food, medical care, fuel, shelter and safety – to be accessible for all.

It is time for a negotiated peace now, with a path for justice, security, democracy and restoration for both sides.

It is time to rebuild the communities destroyed by war.

We recognize that the above statements are challenging, require us to stretch open our hearts, spirits and imaginations, and demand tangible commitments. As the steering committee for Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice, we commit to:

-       Write and lobby our public officials, the president and congressmembers, urging them to insist upon an end to the violence by adhering to the essentials outlined above;

-       Support and encourage others to support, through involvement and contributions, organizations in the Middle East that are working for peace;

-       Stand in solidarity against anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab words or acts within our own communities and nation;

-       Find and provide opportunities for compassionate conversations, listening, learning and speaking in ways that heal and help us understand the hopes and fears of others;

-       Nurture relationships of inclusion, respect and trust.

We do not make these commitments lightly, but are called to do so from foundational teachings of our own diverse faiths and traditions. As people of faith, we can do no less.

We pray that you will join us and so many others, as a global community, to reclaim our common humanity and take the path of peace.

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