Workers Dismantling Semna West temple

Workers Dismantling Semna West temple


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California Community Welcomes Construction of Temple

A beloved church in the Yuba-Sutter area of Northern California was the hub of activity in May. Dozens of people pitched in to help a church in their community and their aid, in turn, helped many others in the area.

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  • Feather River Temple
  • Feather River Temple
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  • Feather River Temple
  • Feather-River-Temple---Stake-Center-Doors.JPG
  • Feather River Temple
  • Feather River Temple
  • Feather-River-Temple---Stake-Center-Piano.JPG
  • Feather-River-Temple---Stake-Center-Chairs.JPG
  • California Community Welcomes Construction of Temple
  • Feather River Temple
  • Tumber Family

Wearing face masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, helpers removed cabinets and doors, furniture, pews and even the gymnasium floor of the Yuba City California Stake Center, a multicongregational house of worship for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The building, which served Latter-day Saints for more than 40 years in the twin cities of Marysville and Yuba City, was razed to make way for what is regarded as the most sacred of structures to members of the faith: a temple.

Church President Russell M. Nelson announced plans in 2018 to build the 38,000-square-foot Feather River California Temple at 1470 Butte House Road in Yuba City. The invitation-only groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 18 in the community located about 40 miles north of Sacramento, near the Feather River, at the base of the Sutter Buttes.

“Many people have felt like this ground is sacred,” said local Church leader, Yuba City California Stake President Steve Hammarstrom, referring to the familiar landmark. “When you walk around, you can feel it.”

In the early 1970s, before the Church owned the property, Mehar Tumber and his family, devout Sikhs, owned the land, where they grew peaches.

His widow, Surjit, and her children fondly remember Mehar as a man of great faith. “He loved God,” Surjit recalled.

“He was a gentlemen’s gentleman and with that, came his spirituality and his belief in God,” added his son, Ravi.

During that time, the Church had difficulty locating suitable acreage on which to build a stake center. Mr. Tumber was not in the market to sell, but that changed when he was approached by representatives of the Church.

Mehar’s daughter, Raji, remembers the day her father announced to the family he had sold the property to the Church. “He had the biggest smile on his face and was so happy,” she recalled. “He thought it was a blessing to have a religious organization … as an anchor to our property.”

For nearly 50 years, the relationship between the Tumbers and the Church has grown in mutual respect and admiration. “There’s a special spirit associated with their faith and our faith, merging together,” said President Hammarstrom.

“Dad was so thankful that it went to a church and it was about God,” said Ravi.

“The roots are established here for this place, this location and what’s surrounding it,” added Raji. “With the new temple, it’s just deeper roots.”

As with the Tumbers and their Latter-day Saint neighbors, a similar friendship has formed between the Church and the Yuba-Sutter community at large.

“This is a small town. We can’t do without each other,” said John Nicoleti, deputy director of Yuba-Sutter Habitat for Humanity. “Our faith community is actually in an uptick. We’re excited about the new temple.”

Repurposing Stake Center Material

That bond of fellowship was exemplified in the outpouring of service in May, when more than a dozen different faith and charity organizations helped dismantle and repurpose valuable material from the Church’s Yuba City California Stake Center, ensuring it has another chance to benefit others in the community.

“We want to give some of what we are to others,” said local Church leader Paul Watkins, an Area Seventy in the North America West Area. “This, in some ways, symbolizes that.”

President Hammarstrom added, “Even though the building’s going away, a piece of it is living on in more than a dozen churches and other … nonprofits and schools.”

Habitat for Humanity

Solid-wood doors and cabinets from the stake center were given to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, which helps fund the construction of new homes. “We’re probably dealing with 10 or 20,000 dollars’ worth of basic materials, because it’s in really good condition,” said Nicoleti, who estimated the money will help place families into new homes.

Yuba-Sutter Community Task Force

This latest service project is not unusual for the twin cities of Marysville and Yuba City, but rather the norm. It’s the result of a remarkable concept forged out of love and friendship, known as the Yuba-Sutter Community Task Force.

Marysville City Council member Stephanie McKenzie said divine inspiration was instrumental in creating the task force.

“What has been the most successful are the relationships that we’ve built. We know each other. We trust each other,” said McKenzie, who is also the director of the committee. “Because of those relationships … everybody is so supportive of each other. It’s so easy to make something happen. We just say, ‘Okay, we’re in this together.’”

Virgil Atkinson, a Latter-day Saint who has served on the task force since its inception, said, “The task force is the vehicle to bring all of the churches and all of the political entities … and organizations … together. And so, that breaks down that wall between everybody.”

Atkinson helped many of the faith and charity organizations in the twin cities procure their lists of needed items from the stake center prior to dismantling. “We walked the halls with about 12 to 14 different pastors and organizations. That was a cherished experience,” he remembered.

Gwen Ford was part of the group with Atkinson and is the church administrator for one of the oldest African American churches in California, which dates back to the gold rush era. “We are planning to start a couple of nonprofits, economic development and education,” said Ford.

The Bethel A.M.E. Church does a lot with very little. Folding chairs, chalkboards and display stands and cases are a welcome addition to the church’s community efforts. In addition, a decorative stone bench now complements the A.M.E. Church entrance.

“We can’t afford to buy this stuff,” said Ford. “[These] things are going to be very, very helpful. It’s not an overabundance of things, but it’s the exact things that we need.”

Faith Lutheran Church

The Yuba stake center’s baby grand piano is exactly what the Faith Lutheran Church needed. Its music now accompanies worship services and chorale performances. Pastor Bernie Fricke, a talented singer and chorale leader, said the new piano replaced their well-used piano. “We’re not a money-making church with our concerts, but we certainly want to serve the community. So I was very happy for the Church to offer that for us.”

Five30 Church and Events Center

Pastor Jim Carpenter said he was divinely inspired to create a church and events center as a refuge for the community. “It’s about our common ground. And what we’re doing with the change that we want to see in our culture, our community, our society.”

Pastor Carpenter said it was a tender mercy and a literal answer to prayer when he got a call from his Latter-day Saint friends. His newly organized church needed chairs — lots of chairs — that could quickly be set up and taken down for various events. “What we need is the convenience of the folding chairs, and not only the folding chairs but the carts to stack it up and make a smooth turnaround.”

Smaller items that help a church and events center function were also needed, but they were pricy to purchase on the ministry’s budget. “My wife had just made a list and said, ‘Lord, we need water pitchers, and we need salt and pepper shakers.’ We walked [into the stake center kitchen] and there’s this tray full of 50 sets of salt and pepper shakers. I said, ‘I will take those!’ My faith grew immediately,” recalled the pastor.

Cherished Relationships, New Beginnings

What was cultivated by a gracious peach grower more than 40 years ago has borne amazing fruit and promises so much more to Latter-day Saints and their friends and neighbors as they say goodbye to an old friend and eagerly await the building and completion of the new Feather River California Temple.

“This church and our house — it’s all been blessed a million times,” reflected Raji Tumber. “We are glad Dad made that decision [to sell].”

“The temple coming here … is special. And he would be absolutely thankful for it over anything else,” added Ravi Tumber.


Exhibits

Permanent Exhibits: Our permanent exhibit galleries are located on the first and second floors of the museum. Our permanent exhibits focus on railroad history with an emphasis on the Santa Fe and railroads in Texas. We also have a changing exhibit gallery, with new exhibits every 2 to 3 months. Our temporary exhibits explore general topics in U.S. history, as well as railroad history.


One Half the People: Advancing Equality for Women
National Archives
June 16 - August 18
Women Marines salvage parts that can be repaired, May 1945
National Archives, Records of the Women&rsquos Bureau World War II created unprecedented opportunities for women to work or secure better jobs. More than 5 million women entered the workforce and served in uniform at home & abroad to fill the considerable number of positions required to support the war effort

When our Constitution was written, it was silent on women. Excluded from most of the rights and privileges of citizenship women operated in limited and rigid roles while enslaved women were excluded from all. Yet women have actively participated as citizens &mdashorganizing, marching, petitioning&mdashsince the founding of our country. Sometimes quietly, and sometimes with a roar, women&rsquos roles and the opening words of the Constitution &ldquoWe, the People&rdquo have been redefined. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, &ldquoOne Half of the People&rdquo explores the stories of women&rsquos struggles to achieve full citizenship. From the decades-long campaign for voting rights to expanding social and economic equality through legislation, see how those before us obtained the rights and privileges of citizenship promised to women today.

One-Half of the People: Advancing Equality for Women was created by the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC, and is traveled by the National Archives Traveling Exhibits Service (NATES). It is presented in part by Unilever, Pivotal Ventures, Carl M. Freeman Foundation in honor of Virginia Allen Freeman, AARP, and the National Archives Foundation. Additional support provided by AT&T, Facebook, and FedEx. For more information on this exhibit and companion projects at the National Archives,
visit www.archives.gov/women.

A Great Frontier Odyssey: Sketching the American West
Sept.5 - Nov. 7

This new traveling exhibit depicts the 1873 cross-country journey of Jules Tavernier & Paul Frenzeny &ndash and, subsequently, late nineteenth-century America &ndash through their engravings of the American West.

After the opening of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, the public clamored for images of the newly accessible American West. The Harper Brother&rsquos publishing firm in New York sought to capitalize on this, and chose Jules Tavernier and Paul Frenzeny to provide images of the frontier. The intrepid men were skilled at depicting newsworthy places or events that favored the plight of the common man. Coupled with their artistic and journalistic talent and keen powers of observation, they were a powerful team Tavernier created each engraving&rsquos watercolor painting before handing it off to Frenzeny, who added newsworthy details and drew the scene in pencil on wood blocks.

The prints in this exhibit trace the artists&rsquo journey to San Francisco, where both men initially settled in 1874 and became an important part of the city&rsquos art life. From there, Tavernier traveled down the coast to visit the Monterey Peninsula and before long opened the town&rsquos first professional art studio. He returned to San Francisco four years later, but his insatiable appetite for adventure eventually led him to Hawaii. After spending time in Monterey to refine his skills as a watercolorist, Paul Frenzeny resumed his career as a special correspondent in New York, and became an illustrator of choice for Western Adventure stories and for such famous novels as Anna Karenina and the Jungle Book. He also worked as a rider in Buffalo Bill&rsquos Wild West show in London, where he spent the rest of his life.

Facing the Inferno: The Wildfire Photography of Kari Greer
Nov. 20, 2021-Jan. 15, 2022

Wildfires are directly affecting more and more of the population. Smoke from these fires have national impact, with the effects of global warming increasing all of this even more. Nationally, the fire season now extends almost year-round. This exhibit has been curated to grab audience attention immediately, then hold it through the power of the images and the importance of the accompanying information. Facing the inferno is the ideal bridge for conversations between the arts & humanities and the sciences.


Bell County, Texas

Bell County Official Public Records are available on ONLINE.

Daily business transactions will not be accepted after 4:30 p.m. and at 4:15 p.m. on the last business day of the month.

eRecording is available to entities listed in Local Government Code 195.003, please contact one of following companies to get started: CSC, EPN eRecording Network LLC, Simplifile, or Indecomm Global Services.

Real property records to be recorded in official public records must be an original, notarized document or a certified copy of the original document.

In accordance with Section 118.011 of the Local Government Code of the State of Texas and Attorney General's Opinion No. 938, this office cannot hold or record any instrument unless it is accompanied by the proper recording fee.

Local Government Code Chapter 191 GENERAL RECORDS PROVISIONS AFFECTING COUNTIES

Local Government Code Chapter 192 INSTRUMENTS TO BE RECORDED BY COUNTIES

Local Government Code Chapter 193 RECORDING AND INDEXING BY COUNTIES

Property Code Chapter 11 PROVISIONS GENERALLY APPLICABLE TO PUBLIC RECORDS

Property Code Chapter 12 RECORDING OF INSTRUMENTS

Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 121. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND PROOFS OF WRITTEN INSTRUMENTS

And any other provisions or laws that may apply to the creating, filing or recording of records in the official public records.

Please add a 2" margin for recording instrument numbers.

Mail the recordings to:
Bell County Clerk&rsquos Office
Attn: Recording Dept.
P.O. Box 480
Belton, TX 76513
(254) 933-5171

Effective January 1, 2015, the County Clerk's Office will begin charging an additional .25 for each name in excess of five names to be indexed on all documents being recorded. This includes E-Recorded documents. All other recording fees remain the same.

Filling Fee:

Records Mgmt Fee (LGC 118.0216)

Courthouse Security(LGC 291.008)

Deed, Deeds of Trust, A/J, State Tax Lien/Release, UCC, Bonds, Hospital Lien (PC 55.005) &ndash First Page &ndash LGC 118.011(a)(1)

Each additional page on which there are visible marks of any kind. &ndash LGC 118.011(a)(1)

Each addition grantor/grantee indexed over the first 5 names &ndash LGC 118.011(a)(2)

Federal Liens/Releases &ndash PC14.005 (Tax & Fine)

UCC Filings &ndash Effective 7/1/01 UCC laws changed. Contact the Office of the Secretary of the State or County Clerk. BCC Chapter 9 Timber/Mineral/fixture Clerk only

Plat &ndash per mylar &ndash LGC 118.011(c)

Foreclosure Posting by Trustee/Attorney - Property Code 51.002

SEARCHES & COPIES:

Federal Lien Search &ndash PC 14.00(d). $10.00 per name

Plain &ndash LGC 118.011(a)(4) & LGC 118.0145. $1.00 per page
Certified Copies &ndash LGC 118.011(a)(3) & LGC 118.014. $1.00 plus $1.00 per page


Personal Out-of-state checks are not accepted on any of the above fees.


History of Temple Bar

Sir Christopher Wren’s Temple Bar marked the gateway to the City of London for 200 years. Then it was rebuilt at Theobalds Park, Cheshunt to form a grand entrance to a country estate.

Today, Temple Bar has been rebuilt at Paternoster Square, opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral in the heart of London.

Old Temple Bar
Temple Bar is the only surviving gateway to the City of London, where it once stood at the junction where the Strand meets Fleet Street for more than 200 years. A bar is first mentioned here in 1293, at which time it was probably no more than a chain (or bar) between wooden posts. Due to its vicinity to the Temple, an area where the guilds of lawyers organised into what would become the Inns of Court in an area that is now considered “Legal London”, it was commonly referred to as Temple Bar. A little over a century later however, this was replaced by a handsome gateway, which was built from timber and had the addition of a prison above it.

The old Temple Bar, demolished 1669

Since its conception in 1351, Temple Bar is mentioned throughout history, whether it be stories of victorious kings returning through its arches, its opening to receive the marriage of Mary Tudor to Phillip of Spain, or the passing by of the funeral cortege of Henry VII’s Queen, Elizabeth of York. Perhaps one of the most significant of state events, was the great triumphal procession of Elizabeth I in celebration of the defeat of the Spanish Armada. The Lord Mayor waited at Temple Bar to present to the Sovereign the keys of the City, which Elizabeth I enhanced by presenting the Lord Mayor with a pearl encrusted sword, one of five City swords. This tradition has been preserved for more than 400 years, and the ceremony now is carried out on major state occasions where the Queen halts at Temple Bar to request permission to enter the City of London and is offered the Lord Mayor’s Sword of State as a sign of loyalty.

Sir Christopher Wren’s Temple Bar
Temple Bar is best remembered as Sir Christopher Wren’s monument, and although no documents survive to prove he designed it, Wren’s son retained original drawings for the work. The old gate survived the Great Fire of 1666, but had fallen into disrepair. Under the orders of Charles II Temple Bar was rebuilt with highly prized Portland stone from the Royal quarries in Dorset, demonstrating the importance that the king placed on the project. One third of the total cost of £1,500 was spent on sculpturing four impressive regal statues to adorn the new stone gateway. On the east side of the gateway, in two niches, were stone statues of Queen Anne of Denmark and James I, and on the west side were the statues of Charles I and Charles II. It was a statement which illustrated that Temple Bar was as much a royal monument as a city one.

Temple Bar c1799

During the eighteenth century Temple Bar was used to display the heads of traitors on iron spikes which protruded from the top of the main arch. One story goes that the Rye House plotters drew so much attention that telescopes were offered for hire in order to gain a better view. The last heads to be displayed were those of Towneley and Fletcher, who were taken at the Siege of Carlisle and executed in 1746. For some time after Towneley’s execution his head was displayed on Temple Bar until a faithful family retainer secured possession of it and brought it back to Burnley, where for many years it was kept in a basket covered with a napkin in the drawing room at Towneley Hall.

Removal of Temple Bar from Fleet Street
Wren’s Temple Bar stood in Fleet Street for just over 200 years until a variety of factors dictated its removal. Firstly, and most importantly, the roadway needed widening to relieve the heavy traffic and the building of the Royal Courts of Justice resulted in the decision to remove the somewhat costly and outdated Temple Bar. The Corporation of London however, had a strong attachment to the Bar and rather than see it cleared away, it was taken down brick by brick, beam by beam, numbered stone by stone, and stored in a yard off Farringdon Road until a decision for its re-erection could be reached.

Dismantling of Temple bar in 1878

On January 2, 1878, the first stone was removed and just 11 days later the scaffolding was cleared and the dismantling was complete. In its place, the Temple Bar Memorial was erected in 1880. The monument, a tall pedestal surmounted by a dragon or “griffin” stands in the middle of the roadway.

Temple Bar – Life at Theobalds Park
Ten years later it caught the eye of Lady Meux, a banjo playing barmaid who had married into a very wealthy family of London brewers.

Temple Bar, just after it was rebuilt in 1889

Forever trying to convince Victorian high society of her respectability, she decided to rebuild impressive Temple Bar to grace her Hertfordshire estate at Theobalds Park. More than 2,500 stones weighing nearly 400 tons, were transported from London to Hertfordshire carried on low flat trolleys and pulled along by a team of horses.

Sir Henry and Lady Meux

When rebuilt at Theobalds just eight months later, a magnificent garden party was held in celebration and special trains brought in large numbers of visitors whose heads would turn as they stood in awe of the majesty of this historic relic. While under the ownership of Lady Meux guests were regularly entertained in the upper chamber of Temple Bar which was beautifully decorated with “spy” cartoons from Vanity Fair and it is believed that it was here that Lady Meux dined with Edward VII, the Prince of Wales and Winston Churchill.
A gamekeepers lodge was added in 1889.

The future of Temple Bar
In 1976 the Temple Bar Trust was established with the intention of returning the Bar to the Capital. The Trustees are drawn from members of the Corporation of London together with others involved in the preservation of the nation’s architectural heritage.
In the December meeting of the Court of Common Council 2001, the Corporation of London agreed to fund the return of Temple Bar to the City of London. At a cost of just over £3.0m – funded by the Corporation along with donations from the Temple Bar Trust and several Livery Companies -Temple Bar will be dismantled, and rebuilt as a gateway to the central piazza at the Paternoster Square redevelopment by November 2004, a scheme which will create over 70, 000 square metres of offices, restaurants and cafes. Once back in London, ownership of Temple Bar will transfer back to the Corporation of London.

An artists impression of
Paternoster Square


Latest NEWS…

Temple Bar has now been rebuilt at Paternoster Square and was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of London, on the 10th November 2004.

Harris Digital Productions filmed the entire project and is currently editing 130 hours of DV broadcast footage for a forthcoming project.


Looking at the two rows of miniature plaster casts watching over diners in Klarman Hall’s Temple of Zeus cafe, you’ll notice some of the figures are missing. But “art detective” Annetta Alexandridis, associate professor of history of art and of classics, is on the case.

The casts – replicas of the east and west pediments from the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Greece – were installed in the dining area in late March. It’s part of a larger salvage and restoration project of Cornell’s cast collection Alexandridis is co-curating with Verity Platt, professor of classics and history of art.

Assembly of the miniature pediment casts started when Alexandridis discovered one piece at a College of Arts and Sciences warehouse near Ithaca. She realized it must be part of a set, when she saw other miniature figures on shelves in the registrar’s offices. So she began searching for the rest.

Alexandridis started by sending emails to everyone in the college asking if they had a cast (they had been museum pieces, but dispersed years ago when the museum was turned into needed office space), then investigating fellow faculty members’ offices. “At one point, I thought it would be helpful if I could go undercover as a member of the cleaning staff at night,” Alexandridis said of her reconnaissance work.


Arrival in Luca

After you're back in control, use the Save Sphere and head north to continue. You'll then be entered into the Blitzball tutorial you can view it now or not, since it's available anytime you play Blitzball as well.

After the scenes, leave the locker room and head up the stairs to the main stadium plaza. Go down the western stairs, where you'll find Al Bhed Primer VI by the feet of some Kilika Beasts players, and a Hi-Potion in the chest at the end of the hallway. Once you have both, go back the way you came and head west to the docks. The first screen has O'aka, who'll still happily take your donations and runs an Item Shop and an Equipment Shop. If you can afford it, buy the Stunning Steel for Tidus it gives you access to the Slow status long before you'd get it normally. In the pier, you'll find a chest with 600 Gil and another at the end with a Tidal Spear (Piercing, Waterstrike). The next screen has a chest with two Phoenix Downs in the foreground along the southern wall, the exit to the north. In this screen as well as the next (Docks 3 and 4), there's nothing for you, so keep going to Dock 5. At the far end of the pier, if you look carefully you'll see a narrow pathway through the crates branching off to the east. Follow this path, and at the end you'll run across chests with a Magic Sphere and an HP Sphere. These can be used to create a Magic +4 and HP +300 Node, respectively, on the Sphere Grid, but if you plan to play a lot of postgame you might want to look at this before using them. Now exit south to be back at the entrance to the Blitzball stadium.

Go south now to head further into the city. After the scene, head north here. Keep following this linear street until you arrive in the Sphere Theater Lobby. The Sphere Theater lets you buy Spheres containing music and FMVs you've seen, but you don't have enough money to buy them now most likely. Instead, in the Lobby, Al Bhed Primer VII is on the floor in the foreground, somewhat camouflaged against the red carpet.

Now return to the bridge, and go east. There is an Item Shop and an Equipment Shop here, but neither sells anything new. Ignore the marker for a little bit and exit to the northeast instead. At the top of the stairs you'll find a chest with 1,000 Gil on the eastern edge of the landing. There's nothing else to do for the moment (you can't leave Luca), so head back to the Square and towards the marker for some scenes.

The Search

Return to the stadium's Main Gate. Use the Save Sphere, then go west towards the marker (the path east is blocked off).

You'll encounter Workers here exclusively. Workers are machina, a new kind of enemy. They are weak to Lightning, but somewhat bulky and more than likely the only Lightning-elemental attack you have right now is Lulu's Thunder. So have Tidus and Kimahri focus their effort on one Worker at a time while Lulu fries the others on her turns. Be aware that you can buy a Thunder Spear for Kimahri from O'aka (he's still on the first dock west of the stadium), which will greatly simplify the proceedings.

As noted above, the first screen has O'aka (buy any Items or Equipment you may need you can also donate Gil to him), the continue to the next screen. Here (Number 2 Dock), you'll fight two Workers. As mentioned, Kimahri and Tidus should focus on one (Lulu will be able to kill them in one hit with Thunder) and use a Potion if needed. After they're down, head to the next screen. Two more Workers to scrap, then it's on to the Number 4 Dock. Here, you'll face off against three waves of two Workers each.

After dismantling the threats, use the Save Sphere. Keep any Lightningstrike Weapons equipped, because we're about to face yet another machina, only this time much bigger.

Boss: Oblitzerator

Oblitzerator's Properties
HP6,000Overkill600
AP (Overkill)36 (54)Gil580
Steal
CommonPotionRarePotion
Drops
CommonElixirRareElixir ×2
Equipment Drop Rate100%Slots (Abilities)1-2 (1-2)
Equipment AbilitiesWeaponsLightningstrike, Piercing (Kimahri, Auron)
ArmorDefense +3%
Elemental and Status Properties
Elemental WeaknessesLightning
Elemental ResistancesFire, Ice, Water, Holy (Half)
Status VulnerabilitiesSlow, Power Break, Magic Break, Armor Break, Mental Break, Eject, Delay

It's a puzzle, folks. 6,000 HP is a lot to knock off at this stage, especially taking the counterattacks into account. Meanwhile, if you try to use the crane at the start of battle, you'll find it doesn't work. what gives?

On its turns, Oblitzerator will use Blitzball Rush every turn, which is ten hits to random allies and causes fairly high damage. It also has a 1/3 chance to counter any damage dealt to it by the party. Physical attacks are countered with Blind Ball, which is damage plus a chance at inflicting Darkness, while magical attacks earn a Mute Ball counter that's damage plus a chance to Silence. If hit by anything that's neither physical nor magical (e.g. Overdrives or Use Items), it can reply with Doze Ball, which is damage plus a chance to put the attacker to Sleep. Finally, as it takes more damage it speeds up, further increasing the damage barrage.

As you can see, you're not meant to win this battle solely through the use of pointy objects and spells. You'll be taking a lot of damage, and the random-target nature of Blitzball Rush means that in a longer battle you'll likely see KOs due to random focus-downs, and then the counters will greatly slow your offense. The trick, as you might have guessed, is the crane. If you try to use it with Tidus right out of the gate, it will not work, and Lulu will comment that it needs power. So skip the wasted turns, ignore the crane at first, and have Tidus use Haste on Lulu, then Cheer every turn until the crane's been hit with Thunder three times (or you've Cheered five times). After three hits of Thunder to the Crane, there will be a brief scene, indicating that Tidus can now Use Crane. The crane, when used, will deal 93.75% of Oblitzerator's current HP as damage to it while severely Delaying its next turn, and also completely disables it from acting. At this point, a single Thunder spell will kill it. (If you're trying to Overkill, you'll want to have Lulu use Focus a few times to push her damage over 600 Overdrives from Tidus or Lulu will also do the trick.)

Your reward for bringing this metal menance down is an Elixir, which is rarely doubled. As always, an Overkill will double your Item Drop.

After the battle, watch the scenes.

The Tournament

At this point, all that's left to do is return to the Aurochs' locker room. Save your progress using the Save Sphere in the locker room. You'll then have to play a Blitzball game. It's extremely difficult, but not impossible, to win having the Jecht Shot will help tremendously.

Missable Item Alert #1

You need to win the mandatory Blitzball game. While it doesn't actually count towards Blitzball stats for some reason, and the Strength Sphere is not missable, it's possible to tell later on if the game was won (the trophy will be in the Aurochs' locker room). Remember that you can always reload your save if you lose to try again. For more information about strategies, click here.

Win or lose, watch the scenes. Save your progress when prompted.

After the Finals

After the scenes, you'll be thrust into battle as Tidus and Wakka against seventeen Sahagin Chiefs that come in waves of two or three. Equip any Lightningstrike Weapons you might have other than that, it's a very simple matter of "hit them while staying healed."

After all the fish are down, Auron will battle a Vouivre solo. It should die in one hit, then the party becomes Tidus, Wakka, and Auron, who must bring down a Garuda. This one is stronger than the ones you killed back in Besaid, but the same principles apply--use Dark Attack to keep the Garuda from hitting you. Auron's Power Break can also help, though it shouldn't be necessary. It has a counterattack, unlike the ones in Besaid, so be sure to keep it gimped with status attacks.

After all the baddies are dead, you'll get to watch a series of cutscenes (save your progress when prompted), after which Tidus should follow the map marker, where there will be still more scenes. Approach Yuna when prompted.


What happened to Solomon’s Palace in Jerusalem?

Certain images in the Image Library have been particularly popular with both teachers and publishers. Among these is the drawing of the development of the Temple Mount throughout the ages:

King Solomon built the First Temple on the top of Mount Moriah which is visible in the centre of this cut-away drawing. This mountain top can be seen today, inside the Islamic Dome of the Rock. King Hezekiah built a square Temple Mount (yellow walls) around the site of the Temple, which he also renewed. In the Hasmonean period, the square Temple Mount was enlarged to the south (red walls). Finally, King Herod the Great enlarged the mount to double its size (grey walls) by building 15 feet (5 m) thick retaining walls, which are still standing today. The many cisterns cut into the mountain are also shown.

Often downloaded together with this is an image which shows a series of reconstruction drawings of the Temple Mount in the different historical periods:

These five drawings show the five stages in the development of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. From top to bottom: 1. The square Temple Mount built by King Hezekiah. 2. The Akra Fortress (red) was built by the Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 168 BC to control the local Jewish population. The fortress was destroyed by the Maccabees in 141 BC. 3. After the destruction of the Akra, the Hasmoneans extended the Temple Mount to the south (blue). 4. Herod the Great renewed the Temple Mount by enlarging the square Temple Mount to double its size and building a new Temple. 5. During the Umayyad period, the Dome of the Rock was built on the site of the Temple and the El Aqsa mosque on that of the Royal Stoa. Large public buildings were erected to the south and west of the Temple Mount

I recently had the opportunity of devoting myself to a study of the development of the mount in the time of Hezekiah and in the process discovered evidence of some dramatic political upheavals in the time of the later kings of Judah. This new drawing shows that virtually all four corners of the square Temple Mount have been preserved:

Isometric drawing showing the archaeological remains of the outer walls of the 500 cubit square Temple Mount. The dark-tinted areas are the actual or projected remains, connected with reconstructed masonry courses.

Space and time does not allow me to describe these remains here (see The Quest – Revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for photographs and a detailed analysis). According to 1 Kings 6, King Solomon built a new Temple on Mount Moriah and the following chapter tells us that he also built a house (palace) for himself with a Hall of Pillars and a Hall of Judgment adjacent to it. It was presumably in the latter building that Solomon demonstrated his wisdom in dealing with the two women both claiming to be the mother of the same child. Next to this royal complex he built the House of the Forest of Lebanon, where he kept military equipment, such as the shields of beaten gold, that were later taken away by Shishak, king of Egypt.

According to 1 Kings 6 and 7, Solomon built a new Temple and Palace Complex on Mount Moriah. This schematic drawing shows an arrangement of the different buildings, based on parallels with similar complexes excavated elsewhere in the Middle East. The main entrance was through the Hall of Pillars (1 Kings 7.6), which was flanked by the Throne Hall (1 Kings 7.7) on the right, where Solomon judged, and the armoury, called the House of the Forest of Lebanon (1 Kings 7.2-5) on the left. In the centre of this complex is the palace, called Solomon’s House (1 Kings 7.8a), which had a separate wing for his wife, Pharaoh’s Daughter (1 Kings 7.8b). From a large courtyard in front of Solomon’s House, a special Royal Ascent (1 Kings 10.5 KJV) led up to the Temple (1 Kings 6), which lay on higher ground.

There were two stages in the destruction of Jerusalem of the First Temple period. During the first stage, in the fourth month of 586 BCE, the city wall on the Western Hill, together with the Middle Gate, was destroyed, as well as the king’s palace and the ‘House of the People’ (Jer. 39.8). These two complexes consisted of Hezekiah’s newly built royal palace on the Western Hill of Jerusalem and the adjacent House of the Assembly, where the nobles of Judah held council.

The second stage of the conquest of Jerusalem took place in the fifth month when Nebuzaradan burnt the Temple and the king’s palace in the City of David (2 Kings 25.9-10).

So, what happened to Solomon’s original palace?

I had already suggested in The Quest that King Hezekiah was the original builder of the square mount. He was also a great reformer and is credited with reinstituting the Temple services. The first action he took was the opening of the doors of the Temple and the cleansing of its interior from desecration (2 Chron. 29.3-36). He encouraged the priests and Levites to rededicate themselves and to reinstate the Mosaic sacrifices. This was followed by the keeping of the Passover, which had not been kept for many years (2 Chron. 30.5).

I had also noted that the Solomonic complex must have been completely dismantled by Hezekiah and the area it previously occupied incorporated within the extended square Temple Mount. His actions in removing the royal complex and thus separating it from the sacred area may have been motivated by the description of God’s anger in the prophecy of Ezekiel 43:8. Here the prophet describes the reason for God’s displeasure as: “their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger.”

Plan of the present-day Temple Mount with the location of the 500 cubit square Temple Mount, showing Solomon's Temple and his adjacent royal and military complex.

On the above plan, the blue line indicates what would appear to have comprised the “wall between me and them”. It divides the square mount in two equal halves and may be an indicator as to how Hezekiah laid out the boundaries of the square Temple Mount. The blue dot indicates the place where pottery from an apparently undisturbed layer dating from the end of the First Temple period was found during repair work on the Temple Mount, see this previous post.

Solomon’s royal and military complex was located to the immediate south of the Temple. As history has shown, the royal household (e.g. Queen Athaliah and Kings Uzzah and Ahaz) tried on several occasions to control the temple services and the priesthood. By dismantling this royal complex, Hezekiah effectively separated state from religion.

Hezekiah’s religious and political reforms as expressed in his Temple platform construction would therefore have served as an inspiration and encouragement for the renewal of a purified priesthood and temple service, free from political interference.


The Activists Working to Remake the Food System

They’re committed not just to securing better meals for everyone, but to dismantling the very structures that have long exploited both workers and consumers.

AN ALTAR IS a sacred space, but you can make one anywhere, out of anything out of what you’re given. On Dec. 5, a small group gathered in downtown Springdale, Ark., to line the cement steps of a public square with Our Lady of Guadalupe candles, chrysanthemums and white cards bearing the handwritten names of local poultry workers who had died of Covid-19. Under each name was the legend “¡Presente!” (“Here!”) at once invocation and exhortation, used in Latin America to proclaim the continuing presence of the dead among us, particularly victims of oppression. White helmets were set beside the cards, and blue vinyl aprons hung from the railings: part of the uniform the workers once wore as they stood shoulder to shoulder, breaking down up to 175 birds a minute even as the pandemic raged, in a city dominated by chicken and turkey plants and decreed by the state to be the Poultry Capital of the World.

For months, the worker-based organization Venceremos (We Will Win), which arranged the vigil, had fought for protective equipment and staggered shifts at the plants to decrease the risk of exposure to the virus. (By the end of May alone, more than 16,000 poultry- and meat-processing workers across the country had been infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) “You were in the hurricane, just surviving,” says Magaly Licolli, 38, Venceremos’s Mexican-born executive director. “And suddenly you start counting the deaths.” The people whose names were inscribed on the cards had died because they were “essential workers,” as the government calls them now: essential, which implies value, but in this case there was neither esteem nor reward, only coercion.

Yet for a number of Americans, the phrase “essential workers,” with its heroic overtones, has revealed for the first time something of the long-ignored lives of the farmers, meat processors and grocery store employees without whom there would be no food on our tables. “Covid has illuminated for a broader public that we have a food system,” says Navina Khanna, 40, the executive director of HEAL (Health, Environment, Agriculture and Labor) Food Alliance, who lives in Oakland, Calif. This is in part because business leaders stoked fears of empty supermarket shelves, warning in the early days of the crisis that lockdowns might jeopardize the food supply. (In the blunt equation of capitalist production, the workers are worth less than the chickens they are processing.) Tyson Foods, headquartered in Springdale and the nation’s largest meat processor — in 2020, it reaped $43.2 billion in sales, $800 million more than the previous, non-pandemic year — took out a full-page ad in major newspapers in April. “We have a responsibility to feed our country,” John Tyson, the chairman of the board, wrote. “It is as essential as health care.”

Taken alone, it was a radical statement from a corporate titan. For years, social reformers have been pointing to the dangers of a food system focused narrowly on profit. To treat food as a commodity rather than a necessity is to accept that there will always be people who can’t afford it and must go hungry. Feeding America, a Chicago-based nonprofit network of food banks, estimates that in the past year roughly 50 million people, one in every six Americans, lacked reliable access to food — witness the 60 percent rise in demand at food banks across the country, with lines sometimes stretching for miles, and the dramatic increase in shoplifting of staples like bread — but even before the pandemic, that number was already 35 million, yet few companies were insisting on the importance of feeding the country. Nor were people turning to food banks in 2020 because of shortages: After the president issued an executive order in April to keep meat-processing plants open, ostensibly to “ensure a continued supply of protein for Americans,” levels of production allowed top companies to export hundreds of thousands of tons (and billions of dollars) of meat abroad.

It’s no coincidence that as Americans have grown ever more estranged from the sources of their food and the largely unseen labor required to produce it, food itself has become a national obsession, from televised cooking shows and the deification of chefs to Instagram #foodporn. This could easily be dismissed as late-empire hedonism, thrown into sharp relief by pandemic lockdowns that divide those who must stay out in the world, picking tomatoes and restocking grocery shelves, and those with the luxury of sheltering at home to await their contactless deliveries. But the fetishizing of food suggests anxiety, too, and a yearning, however inchoate, to reconnect with our origins. For those seeking change in the world of food, like Licolli and Khanna, that represents an opportunity: to reach out to a public newly (if belatedly) awakened to the urgencies of our time — the chasm between rich and poor, racial inequity and environmental degradation — all of which were with us before the pandemic and will, without systemic change, outlast it.

THE DYSFUNCTIONS OF the modern food system go back to the first sugar plantations, on the Portuguese-controlled island of Madeira in the 15th century, and to the first global corporations, born of the 17th-century spice trade. Europeans built riches by extracting cheap and often involuntary labor from other lands: a paradigm too profitable for many to resist, despite the human cost. By the late 18th century, British abolitionists were decrying the suffering behind each cup of tea, with its spoonful of sugar grown and processed by African slave labor in what was then the West Indies. “If we purchase the commodity, we participate in the crime,” the bookseller William Fox wrote in a 1791 pamphlet, “An Address to the People of Great Britain, on the Propriety of Abstaining From West India Sugar and Rum,” that became the most widely distributed of its time, with more than 100,000 copies in circulation on both sides of the Atlantic. “In every pound of sugar we may be considered as consuming two ounces of human flesh.”

The Quaker social reformer Sophia Sturge knocked on thousands of doors in Birmingham, England, to persuade people to boycott West Indies sugar, and some merchants advertised, as a selling point, that they did not stock goods derived from chattel slavery. This eventually gave rise to the Free Produce movement and spread to America, where many Quakers had already renounced cane sugar in favor of maple syrup and refused to wear cotton from Southern plantations. (Free Produce has a latter-day analogue in Fair Trade certification, first introduced in the 1980s, which places a moral premium on paying enough for goods to guarantee small farmers and rural producers a profit — although how this is monitored and who truly benefits remain subjects of controversy.)

Today, activism exists at every point in the food supply chain: how it’s produced (unsustainable farming practices unsafe working conditions and exploitation of undocumented immigrants and prison labor abuse of animals), who gets to produce it and how it’s sold (racial disparities in lending and investment the corporate advantage of scale misrepresentation and erasure of minority cultures) and who gets to eat it (poverty and hunger neighborhoods lacking access to fresh, healthy food moralizing over how food stamps are used). Some of these issues have been championed by high-end chefs, who in our obsessive food culture command a certain reverence, although their public exhortations tend to be more celebratory than confrontational — embracing seasonality and farm-to-table dining, for example — and stop short of policy recommendations. That might be changing with the pandemic: The Spanish-born José Andrés, who runs restaurants in Las Vegas, Miami and Washington, D.C., and who has provided disaster food relief for millions in the wake of hurricanes and disease, recently criticized the government for failing to end hunger due to a lack of “political will.”

But much of the deep work is happening out of sight, in grass-roots efforts like the community gardens that Karen Washington, 66, has built in the Bronx, which started in 1988 with a single garbage-strewn lot across the street from her home. She didn’t have a grand plan — it was enough at first just to have transformed an eyesore into an oasis she called the Garden of Happiness, and to be able to share fresh vegetables with her neighbors — but she soon found herself joining forces with other urban gardeners to fight the city’s attempt to evict them and auction off these once-neglected and now thriving sites for development. (In the end, conservation groups stepped in to buy some of the lots.) She has since cultivated many gardens and drafted policy proposals for government officials, but the heart of her work is still local, done in and for her community. During the pandemic, she went around the neighborhood checking that the elderly had enough to eat, and much of her harvest has gone to food pantries and soup kitchens. “If we’re cooking, we cook a little extra,” she says.

At the same time, she knows this is only a stopgap solution. “For so long we’ve been beholden to charity,” she says. “Food is given out we stand on line. No one asks, ‘Why are we on the line?’”

THE FIELD OF food activism is so vast, it’s inevitably fragmentary, with many constituencies, from migrant blueberry pickers in Washington state, choking on the smoke of wildfires in summer, to Black urban farmers in Atlanta, contending with a racial legacy of land dispossession, to taco truck and halal cart operators on the streets of New York City who lost up to 80 percent of their sales at the start of the pandemic and were excluded from government relief because they deal mostly in cash, with limited documentation, at the fringes of the official economy. Many found themselves down to their last few dollars after working for years, sometimes 14 hours a day, and had to turn to food pantries to survive. “It’s shameful,” says Carina Kaufman-Gutierrez, 30, the deputy director of the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center in Manhattan, which has a staff of six to advocate on behalf of around 20,000 street vendors, “that the people waiting in line for food are the people who’ve spent their lives serving food to others.”

Yet, since the 1980s, the primary message of the food movement to reach the broader public has been not a call to arms but rather a vaguely feel-good mantra: to eat more healthily by shopping at the farmers’ market and buying organic, unprocessed, non-mass-market foods. Certainly these strategies help the environment and support small businesses, but this sometimes seems like just a side benefit, with the emphasis on personal wellness, as if the only way to persuade people to “vote with their fork” on behalf of laborers or the planet were by appealing to their self-interest. It points to a tension in food activism between trying to influence individual acts of consumption, in hopes of bringing about incremental change, and taking direct political action. “The belief that we will change things through individual market choices is a way of not questioning the market itself,” says Eric Holt-Giménez, 67, an agroecologist and the former executive director of the Oakland-based think tank Food First. “We tend to concentrate on the romantic — the small farmer growing organic vegetables — when all this time we could’ve been fighting for parity and antitrust laws.”

Perhaps the most difficult task in activism is opening someone’s mind. The Nigerian-born writer and chef Tunde Wey, who is 37 and lives in New Orleans, has made a mission of it. Untethered to a restaurant, he carves spaces for himself in the world: a food stall where white customers are charged $30 for a plate of food that costs Black customers only $12, to reflect the disparity in median income between white and Black households in New Orleans, or a church hall where the gentrification-themed dinner menu lists a half chicken for $50,000 — again for white diners only, with Black diners eating for free. These are not quite provocations nor surreal jests, but more like gambits in a cerebral game with real-world consequences. His projects “don’t match the scale of the problem, because they can’t,” Wey says. He finds he distrusts people who too readily engage in his work because he knows “how difficult it is to change.” The real work “is on the inside,” he says. “For me, too.”

“It requires more of you to care for others,” says Rosalinda Guillén, 69, the executive director of Community to Community Development in Washington state. The daughter of a migrant farmworker, she picked strawberries in the fields as a child in the 1960s. Three decades later, she led a campaign to unionize the grape workers of Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington’s largest winery, setting up picket lines, protesting at shareholder meetings — activists bought shares in the company so they could attend and disrupt — and, perhaps most important, getting the world to listen. In solidarity, the country-music icon Willie Nelson dropped out of a concert hosted at the winery longshoremen refused to unload crates of the company’s wines in Europe and flight attendants refused to offer them to passengers. It took years of Guillén treading the pavement, being menaced by security guards and finding the tires of her car punctured and sugar poured down the gas tank, but the workers won their collective-bargaining contract, the first of its kind for farm workers in the state.

The 48-year-old food-system scholar Raj Patel, who teaches at the University of Texas at Austin, notes that, internationally, activists in the past few decades have subscribed to a more sweeping notion of food sovereignty, a term introduced by La Via Campesina, a network of farmers and agricultural workers founded at a conference in Belgium in 1993. This goes beyond simply having reliable access to healthy food to recognizing the importance of cultural context, ecological stewardship and a fundamental right to have a say in your destiny. “Are you eating an organic banana because you think your body is a temple, or because the people affected most by pesticides are farm workers?” Patel asks. (Indeed, there’s a troubling historical connection between organic food and white ethnonationalism, drawing on the language of purity and a gauzy, idealized notion of a nativist relationship to the land, which must be kept unsullied by industrial pesticides or “foreign substances,” in the words of the Nazi scientist Werner Kollath, who during the Second World War promoted the slogan “Lasst unsere Nahrung so natürlich wie möglich” — “Leave our food as natural as possible” — alongside forced sterilization and eugenics. At the beginning of January, one of the far-right insurgents arrested after the invasion of the United States Capitol was reported to have demanded organic food in jail, in order to keep from getting sick.)

During the so-called Gilded Age that followed the American Civil War, the rapid pace of industrialization and the consolidation of wealth in the hands of a few gave rise to a new class of workers, many of them recent immigrants who were scorned for their ethnic backgrounds and excluded from the better-paid trades, so they had little choice but to accept the lowest forms of labor, however filthy and potentially lethal the settings. When the writer Upton Sinclair documented conditions at slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants in his landmark novel “The Jungle” (1906), it was a sensation — but, he soon realized, for the wrong reasons: Readers were more horrified by the thought of eating tainted meat than the grim fates of the workers. “I aimed for the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach,” he later wrote.

Still, the increasing precariousness of today’s labor force across industries, both blue and white collar, and the millions of people now out of work because of the novel coronavirus may reframe the conversation. “The idea that people can just buy their way out of what we have now is a deeply ingrained individualist, capitalist mentality,” Khanna says, “versus us understanding that we’re all being screwed over.”

CRITICS ON BOTH the right and the left have accused the food movement of elitism. It takes a certain amount of privilege and financial resources to be able to eat in a way that’s commonly defined as healthy, and so labels like “organic” risk becoming simply a mark of status and virtue, while food-stamp recipients are regularly scolded for using government assistance to purchase the “wrong” kinds of food. S. Margot Finn, a Michigan-based food scholar, argued in a 2019 article that mostly white, wealthy activists have skewed the food agenda by prioritizing community gardens, urban farming, subscription vegetable boxes and access to fresh ingredients over, say, universal health care or a higher minimum wage, revealing “an impoverished moral imagination about what is worth wanting when it comes to food.” (It is possible, of course, to fight for all these things at once.)

But while healthy food might be merely a matter of lifestyle for the privileged, minority communities in America have for decades been systemically denied even the option to eat it, and securing reliable sources of nutrition remains a major part of activism led by people of color today. In 1969, the Black Panther Party started giving free breakfast to schoolchildren, first in Oakland and then across the country: a menu of sausage, bacon or eggs with toast or grits as well as milk, juice or hot chocolate and fresh fruit at least twice a week. They saw food insecurity as a form of suppression, and lack of nutrition as not incidental but part of a system designed to keep Black people down. The free breakfast was never considered a solution to racial inequity it was one of the Panthers’ survival programs — “survival pending revolution” — to sustain the Black community until they were in a position to “deliver themselves from the boot of their oppressors,” as Huey P. Newton, one of the Panthers’ founders, wrote in 1972.

The federal government had launched a small pilot version of its own free breakfast program in 1966, but didn’t expand it nationwide until 1975, after the F.B.I. had effectively destroyed the Panthers and their social services were lost. Free school meals have taken on new urgency during the pandemic: In many cities, even when public schools have been closed, their cafeterias have stayed open, with food service workers coming in to cook and hand out breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner, not just to children but to others in need. In extending the federal Community Eligibility Provision, which allows schools in certain districts to feed everyone without the burden and stigma of requiring documentation of income, then-Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue declared, “Children can’t focus on learning if they are hungry” — which echoed the editors of the Black Panthers’ newspaper, who wrote, more than half a century ago, “How can our children learn anything when most of their stomachs are empty?” The same spirit moved the many volunteer organizations that supplied meals to protesters at the Black Lives Matter marches last spring, where food was both sustenance and statement: We are with you.

Feeding your people, when food has not always been something you can rely on, can be an act of defiance — an acknowledgment that deprivation is a kind of violence. Growing up on the South Side of Chicago in the 1980s, Dara Cooper, 43, who now lives in Atlanta and is the executive director of the National Black Food and Justice Alliance (N.B.F.J.A.), watched her mother work hard but still struggle to put food on the table. When her family went to the grocery store, the produce was always old, pale and bruised, unlike the crisp, vivid ingredients found in richer and whiter parts of town. Once, neighborhoods without easy access to fresh, healthy food sources were described as food deserts, as if this lack were a natural, inadvertent phenomenon and not a consequence of the federal policy of redlining: the denial of services and credit in neighborhoods deemed “hazardous” for investment — including almost all neighborhoods that were predominantly home to minorities — by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation in the 1930s. Although the tactic was officially banned under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, disparities persist activists now call it food apartheid, a term that gained traction in 2008 when the Community Coalition of South Los Angeles campaigned to slow down the proliferation of fast-food franchises in low-income neighborhoods.

In 2011, Cooper helped transform a decommissioned city bus into a mobile market, Fresh Moves, that sells vegetables from local farms and plies the streets of underserved neighborhoods, both to draw attention to the problem and to offer a prototype of a solution. The issue isn’t just proximity to a grocery store but who’s running it: When big-box stores move into Black communities, they often bring bias with them, which manifests in uneasy interactions with customers and a reluctance to hire local staff. As with Karen Washington’s gardens in the Bronx, Fresh Moves was intended to be a business in and for the community, and demand was high. “We were next to an ice cream truck, and our line was longer,” Cooper says.

For a number of Black activists, the idea of growing your own food is potent, as both an act of self-sufficiency and a repudiation of an agricultural past in which Black people were not owners but enslaved. During the pandemic, N.B.F.J.A. has received a record number of calls asking for guidance in starting vegetable gardens. Soul Fire Farm, a nonprofit in upstate New York, offers workshops that combine hands-on training in traditional African agrarian practices with an examination of the food system through the critical lenses of race and class. As for those subscription Community-Supported Agriculture (C.S.A.) boxes — a program offered by farms as a way for customers to buy shares in a year’s harvest, with deliveries of fresh produce as regular dividends — mocking them as a white-progressive accessory ignores the pioneering efforts of Booker T. Whatley, a professor of agriculture at Tuskegee University in Alabama, who urged readers of his 1987 “Handbook on How to Make $100,000 Farming 25 Acres” to establish what he called clientele membership clubs in which customers would pay up front for a season of food, as a way of guaranteeing business.

To Jamila Norman, 41, an environmental engineer who turned to urban farming because of a lack of food options in her Atlanta neighborhood, it’s important that she owns the land where she farms and that she runs a profitable enterprise, to “create and present agriculture as a business model that works for people of color, so they see a path.” According to data collected by the United States Department of Agriculture, in the past century the total number of farms decreased by 68 percent, from close to 6.5 million in 1920 to just over 2 million in 2017 — but the number of Black-run farms dropped from around 925,000 to 35,000, a far more drastic decline of 96 percent, representing the dispossession of millions of acres, due in part to discriminatory lending practices by both banks and the government. (In a 1998 report, the U.S.D.A. acknowledged its “long-term bias and discrimination against minority farmers.”) With Patchwork City Farms, originally opened in 2010 on land leased from a local public school and now located on a plot she bought around the corner from her house, Norman feels that she’s “reclaiming the narrative” of the Black farmer. The goal is a future in which, she says, “there is nothing exceptional about me because everybody is farming.”

THE PANDEMIC HAS forced many food activists to shift from advocacy to emergency work — Newton’s “survival programs” — just to meet basic needs: to feed the hungry, raise funds for small businesses teetering on bankruptcy and keep “essential” workers from dying. There is a danger that, by the end, the public will be exhausted and demand a return to “normal.” But “our normal is deadly,” Guillén says. Holt-Giménez is pessimistic, too: “The pandemic has favored billionaires, big corporations, big chains,” he says. “It’s an opportunity — look who’s taking it.” The problem of scale, as Wey points out, is nearly insurmountable. Norman has resisted drafting her children, now in their teens or early 20s, as farmhands because, she says, “I got to be able to do this work — to operate without exploitation.” Meanwhile, large corporate farms can easily charge lower prices by treating their labor force as disposable, even “sacrificial in times of crisis,” Guillén says. “There is still that thought: ‘How close to the legal line of slavery can you get?’”

Still, the crisis of today won’t fade with the virus, a zoonotic disease that crossed over from animals into humans and thus is arguably a byproduct of habitat encroachment and the existential threat of our unrelenting claims on the environment. With the acceleration of climate change and the persistence of racial injustice and age-old structures of wealth and power, both within America and on a global scale — not to mention the batten-down-the-hatches attitude of those who’ve been in power so long, they can’t see sharing it as anything but downfall — food has become at once an emblem and literal embodiment of the troubles around us. Activism can be a march, a boycott, a campaign to knock on a million doors or even a handful of seeds: a future, staked in the earth. It can be voices in chorus and a rising consciousness that the way we eat not only reflects, often ignobly, our choices as a society but shapes them and that we have the power to change those choices, and the way we live.


Second Act for the Temple of the Stars

LOS ANGELES — It was known as the Temple of the Stars: a soaring sanctuary capped by a 100-foot-wide Byzantine dome, built by Hollywood moguls on the eve of the Depression and splashed with the kind of pizazz one might expect at a movie palace rather than a synagogue.

But over the last 80 years, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple has become a monument to neglect, its handsome murals cracked, the gold-painted dome blackened by soot, the sanctuary dark and grim. A foot-long chunk of plaster crashed to the ground one night.

The congregation, too, has faded while still vibrant and active, it has grown older, showing no signs of growth. This once proud symbol of religious life in Los Angeles seemed on the brink of becoming a victim of the steady ethnic churn of the city, as its neighborhood grew increasingly Korean and Hispanic and Jews moved to the west side.

But faced with the threat of extinction that has forced synagogues in other parts of the country to close or merge, Wilshire has responded with force: a $150 million program to restore the synagogue to its former grandeur and, in fact, make it even grander — extending the campus to fill a whole block and building a school and a social services center for the community. In the process, the synagogue is looking to reclaim its prominence in the civic order here.

It is by any measure a costly gamble — Jewish leaders said the $150 million is among the highest amounts ever spent on a synagogue renovation. And the renovation is in some ways jarring, coming at a moment when cuts in education and social services have rocked this state and taking place in a community that has at times been criticized for being short on philanthropy.

But the leaders of this synagogue, racing to open their new temple before the High Holy Days in September, said they had no other choice.

“I’m not going to sell this place,” Steven Z. Leder, the senior rabbi, said as he led his almost daily show-off ritual of taking visitors to admire results slowly being revealed with the dismantling of scaffolding. “I’m not going to be the rabbi that turns this place into a church.”

Risky or not, the renovation of such an admired building is heartening to Jewish leaders who have watched as other synagogues have faltered.

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“I’m thrilled with what’s going on at Wilshire,” said Ron Wolfson, a professor at the American Jewish University here. “That’s a spectacular building. They could have very easily moved west, they could have abandoned that building and sold it for who knows how many millions of dollars to some church. They didn’t. I have to respect that.”

To a considerable extent, the decision to invest on the future of this synagogue is an insight into the demographic rhythms of Los Angeles. For a long time, many of this city’s Jews concentrated on the west side, in places like Westwood, Beverlywood, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. But these days, many younger Jews are settling on the east side, in hip and handsome — and less expensive — neighborhoods like Los Feliz and Silver Lake.

Rabbi Leder, in recounting the demographic studies and debate that went into the decision, noted that two subway stops, part of this city’s rapidly growing transit system, are within walking distance of the synagogue, raising the prospect that people would take a train to services.

Yet there are considerable obstacles. Jews might be moving back to the east side, but the Wilshire Boulevard Temple is in the heart of Koreatown, a good 15-minute drive from, say, Los Feliz. The sidewalks surrounding the temple are filled with Latinos and Koreans, a contrast with the many neighborhoods across Los Angeles where the streets on Friday night are filled with Jewish families headed for services.

Many synagogues across the nation are also struggling with declining attendance and membership. On a recent Saturday morning at Hollywood Temple Beth El, the very few people in attendance broke out in an anguished discussion about whether they would need to hire a choir for the approaching holidays because there were not enough congregants.

From the minute one walks into the grand sanctuary of the Wilshire Temple, there are reminders that this is no ordinary synagogue, with ample evidence of its Hollywood past: Irving G. Thalberg, the film producer, and all three Warner brothers were among its major benefactors.

The walls are covered with murals depicting stages of Jewish history through 1929. They were painted by Hugo Ballin, who for much of his career was a Hollywood art director, and were commissioned by the Warner brothers.

“The murals were a radical artistic statement because the second of the Ten Commandments forbids graven images, so Jews shunned iconography and figurative art,” Rabbi Leder said. “These guys just decided to make a different statement.”

The opening words of the Shema, the prayer at the heart of Jewish daily worship, are painted in a circle at the top of the dome.


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