Bay Area interfaith vigil held to reflect on events in Middle East

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Sunday, October 22, 2023
Bay Area interfaith vigil held to reflect on events in Middle East
Across the Bay Area, there were a handful of events focused on the Middle East. An interfaith vigil was held to show solidarity with Israel.

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- It was a small group that gathered Saturday evening in Palo Alto for big message.

"Light a flame and together we can try to banish the darkness," says Pastor Jack Cabaness with Covenant Presbyterian.

He lead an interfaith vigil to condemn the October 7 Hamas attacks in Israel. They are standing for justice and praying for peace says Cabaness.

"Whether their neighbors are Israeli with connections with Israel, or Palestine, the most important thing is to recognize that human grief, that need, and just the deep hope for justice and eventual peace," says the pastor.

MORE: Vigil held for Middle East conflict victims by SF venue owner recently stranded in Israel

Manny's, a gathering space in San Francisco, held a vigil Thursday evening for the Israeli and Palestinian lives lost in the ongoing conflict.

Sukhi Chahal, a leader in the Sikh community, also took part.

"Terrorism in any form, from anybody, it is bad. It needs to be condemned. And this is the time that we need to stand together," says Chahal.

MORE: 2 American hostages held since Hamas attack on Israel released: IDF

Rabbi David Booth says unity is important at a time like this, especially with some recent attacks on Muslims and Jews.

"It is very frightening. I mean haters and antisemites, people who hate Muslims, are using this as an excuse to do terrible things," says Rabbi Booth with Congregation Kol Emeth. "We have been feeling, in the Jewish community, very insecure since this happened. People have been using this as an excuse to spew antisemitic hate and it's very, very frightening for our community."

Earlier in the day, it was standing room only in Berkeley. The group Speak Out Now hosted a conversation with Stanford Middle East history Professor Emeritus Joel Baynin, who spoke via Zoom. The discussion focused on the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

MORE: Bay Area man shares final phone call with cousin in Gaza: 'They are trying their best to live'

For Palestinian Americans, it's becoming increasingly harder to keep in touch with family members due to power shutoffs in the Gaza Strip.

"How could we be standing here and there are over a million people ordered to march because there are no roads into the south, into an area where there is no fuel, no food, no water. And we are supposed to think this is tolerable? It's not," says Kip Waldo, a member of Speak Out Now.

More Bay Area events are planned for next week.

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