Bike ride through Guelph/Eramosa, Puslinch raised funds for Gazans

The Ride for Palestine, organized by Interfaith Justice, included about 50 riders

GUELPH/ERAMOSA – Bikers cycled through Guelph, Guelph/Eramosa and Puslinch on June 30 to raise money for families in Gaza. 

The bike ride was organized by Interfaith Justice, a group of Christians, Muslims, Jews and other spiritual people who advocate for peace, particularly in Palestine and Israel.

Bike ride participants made donations to support displaced people in Gaza.

The full length of the ride was 42 kilometres – the length of Gaza’s border with the Mediterranean Sea – and it took riders a few hours to complete.

Riders of all ages participated in the event, some choosing alternate 15 or 25km routes, and others going for a walk or short bike ride around the arboretum at the University of Guelph. 

The ride started and ended at the university, where students have set up an encampment they call the “People’s Plaza for Palestine.” 

Interfaith Justice, though not directly affiliated with the encampment, has been offering support to the protesting students by delivering food and supplies, leading them in prayers, and contributing towards events held at the encampment including Shabbat celebrations organized by Independent Jewish Voices Guelph (IJVG).

The next Shabbat celebration is set for July 12, and all are welcome. 

Members of Interfaith Justice are generally older than student protestors and want to ensure the “group of young people pressuring a huge organization,” are cared for, organizers say.

About 50 people participated in the Ride for Palestine on June 30, most biking between 15 and 42 kilometres to raise money for people in Gaza. The 42km route was chosen because it is the same length as Gaza’s boarder with the Mediterranean sea.


Interfaith Justice formed early this year during a town hall organized by Show Up Guelph, a community group that advocates for Palestine.

Interfaith Justice was one of many groups that came out of the town hall, including a health care group, student group, labour group, arts group, and group of farmers. 

Interfaith Justice offers a space for people to come together in prayer, conversation and community in support of “peace and justice.” 

Group members collectively grieve and pray for lives lost, including Israelis who were killed in Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7, as well as Palestinians who have been killed by Israel Defense Forces since. 

They have organized and supported vigils, potlucks, a kite-making workshop, and educational events including teach-ins and panels. 

While their focus so far has been on Palestine and Israel, organizers hope to become involved with other causes, including local Indigenous solidarity. 

Elora resident Ana Maria Cummins said the most healing aspect of being in the group, for her, is the conversations. 

Her husband Graham Cummins said he’s heard lots of group members say “‘wow, this feels like a family.’”

Graham said he joined because much of their Christian community has been silent about what’s happening in Gaza, and he was “looking for a community to join in faith.” 

Jenna Rose, a member of IJVG, said she felt immediately welcomed, and has now made strong friendships through the group – relationships that “transcend all these narratives that are meant to keep us apart.

“It’s been a very important, comfortable, space for me,” she said. 

Rose added it feels important for her, especially as a Kohenet, a type of Jewish spiritual leader, to publicly represent “a different face of Judaism. 

“Judaism and Zionism are indeed different – I’m one of thousands of representatives of that,” she said.

Rockwood resident Anees Munshi was one of the people who organized the Ride for Palestine. Before the ride began, Munshi told participants “it’s a ride for peace,” and encouraged them to ride at their own pace and comfort level, noting the group wouldn’t all stay together but would “ride together in spirit.”


Rockwood resident Anees Munshi describes cordiality and affection between group members, who “work things out in harmonious ways.” 

“It’s a nice space for people feeling isolated to grieve,” Ana Maria added.  

“There’s such a need for people to come together and express feelings and grief,” said Munshi’s wife, Rabia Khan. 

Munshi said the group is “not so much pro-Palestine as pro-peace. 

“A cease-fire benefits everyone,” he said, and the group takes issue with the violence and war crimes on Oct. 7 as well as the violence and war crimes that have happened since in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank. 

Ana Maria said she recently spoke with someone who lost family on Oct. 7 and lamented how tragic the last nine months have been, for both Palestinians and Israelis.

Eman Rishmawi is a Palestinian woman who participated in the Ride for Palestine. She was forcibly displaced from Palestine almost 20 years ago, and now lives in Cambridge.


Khan said the Ride for Palestine is about building bridges and giving people a space to grieve. 

It was also a fundriaser for Gazans. Participants made optional donations towards the UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, or towards fundraisers for three Gazan families. 

Rama Altanany, a 24-year-old student living in the Netherlands, is raising money to evacuate her parents, grandparents, brothers, uncle, aunt and cousin from Gaza to Egypt.

Altanany includes photos and descriptions of her family members on a GoFundMe page:

Rama’s older sister Falastin Altanany is part of Interfaith Justice Guelph.

Falastin escaped Gaza on June 18, 2023 and now lives in Port Elgin with her children, 6-year-old Bashir Zughbor and 11-month-old Carmel Zughbor. 

Another fundraiser is for Heba, a three-month old girl displaced with her parents in Khan Yunis.

Heba and her parents, Noor Shreim and Ahmed Naim, both engineers, are raising money with hopes of leaving Gaza and finding safety in Egypt.

To donate to Heba and her parents’ fundraiser, visit 

Young brothers Elyas and Mohand and their mother Aya are displaced in Dier Al Balah and are hoping to evacuate to Egypt once the Rafah crossing reopens.

To donate to Elyas and Mohand’s family, visit 

Donations can also be transferred to, and organizers will distribute the funds equally between the families or to a specific family identified in the transfer.