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Milwaukee Faith Leaders Call for Ceasefire and Lasting Peace in the Holy Land - Jan 2024

 We, faith leaders in Milwaukee, as signed below, have joined together to bring a unified moral voice to the growing catastrophe in Gaza and increasing violence throughout Israel and Palestine. We are religious and lay leaders of the three Abrahamic Religions of the world (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) as well as Eastern religious traditions. We represent the voices of many who grieve the death of innocent human beings in a land called holy by our traditions. We mourn the decades of occupation and oppression, of terrorism and military violence. We are anguished by the October 7th Hamas attack on Israel and by the brutal and ongoing death and destruction brought upon the people of Gaza and the West Bank by Israel. Time and again it has been demonstrated that there will be no military solution to this conflict.

This is what we know has occurred in the land that holds so many stories central to our understanding of our creator God:

● Tens of thousands of innocent civilians, the vast majority Palestinian, have been killed, including over 10,000 children.

● Over 2.3 million people in Gaza have been displaced from their homes, with no shelter, no safe place to flee, and the total destruction of their community, including entire neighborhoods, schools, houses of worship, cultural centers and even hospitals. All has been turned to rubble.

● The civilians of Gaza continue to suffer from lack of clean water, lack of food, lack of medical facilities and the lack of other basic human needs. With little shelter or clothing during cold winter months, many will freeze if they are not killed by bombs or they do not die of thirst, hunger or disease.

● Attacks on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have also resulted in significant injury, displacement, and death. This includes actions by the IDF as well as by settlers who have been provided arms by the Israeli government.

As leaders of various faiths, we believe we must:

● Uplift the Torah value of t’selem Elohim, the Divine Image. Every human life is a reflection of God and has infinite value.

● Uplift the value of the agape’ love of Jesus. An active love that is built on justice for all of God’s children.

● Uplift the value of ‘adl, justice. The Quran calls upon us to “uphold justice and bear witness to God, even if it is against yourselves, parents or close relatives.”

As Jews, as rabbis, as Christians, pastors and priests, as Muslims, imams and lay leaders, as Buddhists, as human beings—we are pleading with our communities to rise through despair and grief to save valuable human lives on all sides of this conflict and to call for a complete ceasefire now, brokered by the United Nations.


● We call for an end to all bombing and ground war..

● We call for an end of settler and IDF violence in the Occupied West Bank.

● We call for the release of all Israeli and international hostages being held in Gaza and all civilian Palestinians being held by Israel.

● We call for the immediate flow of aid to Gaza for humanitarian relief.

● We call for immediate engagement by the international community toward a just and lasting peace in Israel-Palestine.

We place a great deal of blame for the current conflict on the international community’s failure to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict and their failure to implement international laws and conventions, with the U.S. government playing a very destructive role by vetoing scores of international resolutions meant to address or resolve the conflict.

As Americans, we call upon our leaders to stop supporting and enabling this nightmare. Ceasefire is the only way to prevent more death and destruction. We call on Senator Tammy Baldwin, Senator Ron Johnson and Representative Gwen Moore to reflect on the suffering of the victims of war, especially the children, and to change their stance from a temporary “pause” on the killings to a “ceasefire.”

We make a stand for a sustainable peace, now. This peace must include a fight against rising antisemitism and Islamophobia in our communities.

We invite all people of faith as well as others of good conscience to join us in this call for a complete ceasefire


Signed (organizations listed for identification purposes only),

Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah

Religious Director


Othman Atta, Executive Director

Islamic Society of Milwaukee

Rabbi Michal Woll

Congregation Shir hadash

Rev. Karen S. Hagen

PCUSA - retired

Wisconsin Christians for Justice in Palestine

Rev. Jonathan Jacobs

Redeemer Lutheran Church - ELCA

Wisconsin Christians for Justice in Palestine

Rev Barbara Rasmussen

ELCA - retired

Wisconsin Christians for Justice in Palestine


Janan Najeeb

Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition

Rev. Rachel Young Binter


Lutheran Campus Ministry

Rev. Sarah Stobie

Bay Shore Lutheran

Rev. Dr. Kate Jones

Lead Pastor

Wauwatosa Ave United Methodist Church, Wauwatosa, WI

Father Thomas Mueller

Orthodox Church in America

St Maria of Paris Chapels Ministry

Rev. Joseph W. Ellwanger

Hephatha Lutheran Church

Rev. Michelle Townsend de López

Cross Ev. Lutheran-ELCA

Reverend Tory V. Topjian

Senior Minister

Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church

Pastor Richard D. Shaw, D.Min.

St. Matthew C.M.E. Church

Bishop Paul Erickson

Greater Milwaukee Synod, ELCA

Rev. Jane B. Anderson,

Associate Conference Minister

Wisconsin Conference UCC

Rev. Lisa S. Heckman

Presbyterian Church (USA) Pastor

Rev. Reirin Gumbel

Milwaukee Zen Center

Reverend Christine Wilke

Evangelical & Reformed United Church of Christ, Waukesha

Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell

Executive Minister, American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin

Dean Daniels

Retired Director of the Office for Worship

Former Director of the Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee


Rev. Karl-John Stone

Mount Pleasant, WI

Jon M. Sweeney

Codirector, The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at

Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology

Rev. Christie Melby-Gibbons

Moravian Church Western District

Tricklebee Cafe

Teresa Howell-Smith, Pastor

United Church of Christ

Rev. Jennifer Nordstrom

Senior Minister

First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee

Rev. Dena McPhetres

Unitarian Universalist

First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee

Rev. Dr Ebenezer K. Insor, Southeast DS

Wisconsin United Methodist Conference

Rose Stietz, OP


Member of Racine Dominicans

Rev. Dennis Jacobsen

Hephatha Lutheran Church

Rev. Alexander M. Jacobs


Rev. Dr. Thomas R. Gaulke


Rev. Mary Martha Kannass


Hephatha Lutheran Church

Rev. Erik David Carlson

Unitarian Universalist

Bradford UU, Kenosha, WI

Rev. Claire Beutler-Cruise

United Church of Christ

Eleanor Harris (Rep to MICAH)

Milwaukee Friends Meeting


Rev. David Rebey

Breaking the Chains Church, Milwaukee and Kenosha

Rev. Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson, Minister of Religious Education

First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee

Lisa Hart, Associate Conference Minister

Wisconsin Conference UCC

Rev. Dr. Steven W. Hecky

Retired Minister United Church of Christ

Rev. J. Eric Kirkegaard

Peace United Church of Christ, Kewaskum

Rev. Shelby Perez

United Church of Christ

UW Health--Trauma Chaplain

Rev. David J Gaeth

Greendale Community Church United Church of Christ

Rev John C Helt

Retired Pastor United Church of Christ

Rev. Tara L. Tetzlaff

Christ Church, UCC - Bayview, Milwaukee

Pastor Bridget Hill

United Church of Christ

Rev Nikkeya Berryhill

Bethel Bethany UCC

Rev. Leanne Rose


Rev. Meredith Anderson


Bethel-Bethany Milwaukee

Rev. Meredith Anderson


Bethel-Bethany Milwaukee

Rev. Emma Landowski, BCC

United Church of Christ

Ascension Columbia St. Mary's - Ozaukee, Hospital Chaplain

Carly Gaeth, Licensed Minister

New Hope UCC & Faith UCC

Rev. Kelsey Peterson Beebe

United Church of Christ


Jill Haberman, Peace and Justice

Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi


Rev. Glenn A. Danz

United Church of Christ


Rev. Dr. Bob Gross, OCC

United Church of Christ


Rev. Rachel Bauman

Associate Conference Minister

Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ


Rev. Deborah A Payden

Retired clergy - United Church of Christ


Mark Peters

ParishConsultant (retired)

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee


Rev. Dale Stohre, retired



Rev. Kelly R. Fowl

United Methodist Shared Ministry Pastor

Our Lord’s and Caldwell United Methodist Churches


Rev. Jennifer C.M. Dawson

Retired clergy - United Church of Christ


Rev. James F.D. Martin

Retired clergy - United Church of Christ


Michael Whiteley, Moderator

First Congregational Church of Genesee - UCC


Rev. Dr. Bobbie Groth

Unitarian Universalist Congregations of SE WI


Pastor James Phillips

Blessed Deliverance Missionary Baptist Church


Rev. Ashley Nolte, Pastor

Pilgrim United Church of Christ


Pastor Brian Hooper



Br. David Hirt, OFM Cap

Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order


Rev. Dr. John A Jones IV

Associate Regional Minister-Education

American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin


Rev. Marty Coons

PC(USA) - Retired


Miriam Brown, OP


Sinsinawa Dominican


Rev. Dr. Lisa Bates-Froiland



Nicole Blanks

Presbyterian Church (USA)


Pastor Andrew Oren

UCC (retired)


Annemarie Adsen(rep to IFCGM)

Milwaukee Friends Meeting


Rev. Gail Brodersen-Heins


Sent to WNPJ 1/17/2024 by Jerry Folk of the member group: Interfaith Peace Working Group



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