Tag Archives: temple

Circular temple to god of wind uncovered in Mexico City

Working at the site of a demolished supermarket, archaeologists dug 10 feet down to find a temple built more than 650 years ago, researchers said this week.

The circular platform, about 36 feet in diameter and four feet tall, now sits in the shadow of a shopping mall under construction. The site is believed to have been built to worship the god of wind, Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, and the plans to preserve it and make it visible to the public with a large viewing window.

What archaeologists initially found below the old supermarket — shards of pottery and human remains — was expected, said Pedro Francisco Sanchez Nava, national archaeology coordinator for Mexico’s National Anthropology and History Institute.

But deeper down they were surprised to find the temple, which offers another example of how the Mexica-Tlatelolca people worshipped one of their principal deities, Sanchez said. Offerings found included an infant with no signs of trauma, bird bones, obsidian, maguey cactus spines and ceramic figurines of monkeys and duck bills.

The majority of the temple’s original white stucco remains intact. Archaeologist Salvador Guilliem said similar structures, round on three sides and with a rectangular platform on the fourth, have been found before, including in the same area.

The temple lies within the perimeter of a large ceremonial site in the capital’s Tlatelolco neighborhood, though much of that perimeter is invisible, covered by an urban landscape.

Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, researcher emeritus, said modern day Mexico City covers several different pre-Hispanic cities, including Tlatelolco and its rival Tenochtitlan.

Tenochtitlan was a center of political power while Tlatelolco dedicated itself to commerce, with an important market that was noted even by Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes. Eventually Tenochtitlan took control of Tlatelolco.

When the Spanish and their indigenous allies began conquering Tenochtitlan, residents of that city withdrew to Tlatelolco to continue the fight and Tlatelolco became the last site of resistance against the Spanish in the area.

The site of the recently uncovered temple is just yards away from where Mexican soldiers massacred protesting students in 1968.

Bodies of 40 tiger cubs found in Thai temple freezer

Forty dead tiger cubs were found on June 1 in a freezer at a Buddhist temple that operated as an admission-charging zoo, a national parks official said.

The discovery happened while authorities were removing mostly full-grown live tigers from the temple in western Kanchanaburi province following accusations that monks were involved in illegal breeding and trafficking of the animals.

The cubs were found in a freezer where the temple staff kept food, said Anusorn Noochdumrong, an official from the Department of National Parks who has been overseeing the transfer of the temple’s 137 tigers to shelters. Since Monday, 60 have been tranquilized and removed.

“We don’t know why the temple decided to keep these cubs in the freezer,” Anusorn said. “We will collect these carcasses for DNA analysis.”

The cubs appeared to be up to a week old, he said. Authorities plan to file charges against the temple for illegally possessing endangered species, he said.

The temple’s Facebook page said in March that the temple’s former vet had decided in 2010 to stop cremating cubs that died soon after birth. Calls to the temple’s office were not answered.

The temple, a popular tourist attraction, has been criticized by animal rights activists because of allegations it is not properly set up to care for the animals and flouted regulations restricting the trade of tigers.

The monks resisted previous efforts to take away the tigers, but relented this week after police obtained a court order.

The temple recently made arrangements to operate as a zoo, but the plan fell through when the government determined that the operators failed to secure sufficient resources.

Gay Floridian to lead national Reform cantors

The first time Cantor Mark Goldman attended an American Conference of Cantors convention about 20 years ago, he went to a secret meeting of gay colleagues.

“It was in somebody’s hotel room. There were maybe a dozen people,” said Goldman, longtime cantor at Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El in Plantation.

At the next year’s convention, a few more gay cantors showed up at another word-of-mouth meeting, he said.

Now, secret meetings are out and so is Goldman, who in July was elected national president of the 505-member Reform Jewish cantors conference.

“I see being gay as being a part of me, part of my personality. It’s not everything that defines me,” said Goldman, 46, who grew up an Orthodox Jew in suburban London.

“I always wanted to be a cantor from a very young age. I enjoyed going to synagogue with my father, and the music in the synagogue spoke to me,” he said.

At 18, Goldman studied at an Israeli yeshiva, “a very orthodox learning institution where you delve into the intricacies of Jewish tradition.”

The following year, he pursued cantorial studies and an honors bachelor of arts degree in Judaic studies at the London School of Jewish Studies. He became the youngest recipient of certification by the United Kingdom’s chief rabbi.

Goldman recalls that when the subject of homosexuality came up at an Orthodox high school, “we were told this is something terrible and abhorrent.”

“It was very much an inner conflict,” he said. “We prayed daily and I remember asking God to take this affliction away from me. That was something I battled with personally for many, many years, up until the time I emigrated into the United States to Rochester, N.Y., where I was a cantor in a Conservative congregation.”

Goldman thinks that, subconsciously, being gay led him to America.

“It probably did, but at the time I was looking at coming to the United States as a wonderful opportunity,” he said. “I was 24 years old and I looked at Rochester on the map. I saw New York City and I thought, ‘Wow, they look really close together. Maybe I could go to New York City for the weekend.’”

At 27, he came out to his parents. “They were extremely surprised, shocked. There were lots of tears, but they were very supportive.”

In 1995, Goldman was offered a cantorial position at reform Temple Kol Ami, which merged in 2004 with Temple Emanu-El of Fort Lauderdale.

“I never really had a formal coming out as such. When I came to Temple Kol Ami 18 years ago, it was never a question that was asked. It wasn’t something that I put on my resume,” Goldman said. “After a short period of time, people knew I was gay.”

Goldman’s partner of 17 years, Aaron Taber, is a Fort Lauderdale interior designer.

“I actually met my partner within the first year of me being at Kol Ami,” Goldman said. “He started coming to services and I started to slowly introduce him as my boyfriend at the time, as my partner. He is regarded certainly as my spouse in every way. He’s given honors in front of the congregation. It’s never, ever been an issue.”

Said Taber: “At Temple Kol Ami, I’m treated equally to any other spouse of clergy staff. They’ve always welcomed me as part of the family.”

As a cantor, Goldman dedicates himself to progressive, contemporary Judaism.

“He was very influential on both my sons’ bar mitzvahs as teacher and mentor,” said Kol Ami Emanu-El President Calvin Helitzer.

“There is no one who I could imagine working with who is more professional, caring and innovative. My greatest wish is that Cantor Goldman will remain with our congregation until he’s ready to call an end to his career.”

Goldman said he sees Reform Judaism “as the antithesis to many traditional kinds of religions that gay people shy away from. If you said the word ‘religious’ it’s a dirty word almost in the gay community.”

Reform Judaism has welcomed gay congregants for many years, and many Conservative congregations have begun embracing LGBT people.

“Hebrew Union College, which is the training school for rabbis and cantors, has graduated transsexual rabbis,” Goldman said. “The movement is definitely cutting edge, forward thinking and it’s something I’m very, very proud to be a part of, especially in terms of religious movements and organizations. They don’t always get very good press in terms of the gay community.”

Goldman said he has had many important life discussions with congregation members, including youngsters just coming out.

“I felt very happy that I could be a good role model for the kids,” he said. “There are a number of kids who have come out, that I’ve taught or spoken to over the years.

“I suddenly think that my relationship, my openness about who I am to the congregation, to them and their families, has been a very positive influence to them. Also the way in which I’ve been completely accepted by the congregation, to the point where my partner is recognized as my spouse and sits next to the rabbi’s wife.”

Victims of Sikh temple shooting remembered on 1st anniversary

Today marks the first anniversary of the shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., and civil rights advocates are urging the president to hold a summit to address violence against religious minorities.

On Aug. 5, 2012, a gunman with neo-Nazi ties stormed into a gurdwara in Oak Creek and began firing. He killed six people and wounded three others in what is remembered as one of the most lethal attacks on an American house of worship since the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

In a joint statement released on Aug. 5, The Sikh Coalition, Muslim Advocates, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Anti-Defamation League, Interfaith Alliance, Rights Working Group and American Civil Liberties Union remembered the victims and their families.

The statement said, “We hope that our national leaders will address the escalating crisis of violence and discrimination against religious minorities in America. Too many lives have been destroyed because of hate violence from the shooting at the Oak Creek gurdwara to the multitude of violent attacks on members from the Arab, Muslim, Sikh, Jewish and South Asian American communities.”

“Approximately 100 organizations and 37 members of Congress have called on President Obama to directly tackle the problem and host a summit to find solutions on how to protect religious minorities and prevent violence and discrimination. Now, more than ever, President Obama’s leadership is critical to this issue; we hope that he will take action and that tragedies such as these never happen again.” 

On the Web…

http://blogs.justice.gov/main/archives/3233

LGBT groups respond to violence in Oak Creek, Joplin

A coalition of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights groups and allies issued a solidarity statement responding to this week’s violence in Oak Creek, Wis., and Joplin, Mo.

The statement, released Aug. 9, reads:

“As organizations serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities, we are stunned and saddened by the recent spate of violence against communities across the country. The shooting at the Sikh gurdwara (temple) in Oak Creek, WI that left 6 people dead was certainly a blow to all of us on Sunday, August 5. To hear about the fire at the mosque in Joplin, MO not even 24 hours later compounded our sense of tragedy and shock. We send our deepest sympathies to the families affected.

“Currently, details about both incidents are still emerging. Local law enforcement in Oak Creek have been joined by the FBI in an ongoing investigation of the incident as a potential act of domestic terrorism and a potential hate crime. The fire in Joplin was the second of its kind at the mosque, on the heels of another fire on July 4. Motives in both cases are still being determined (the first fire at the Joplin mosque was determined to be arson).

“The LGBTQ communities we work with and serve are no strangers to violence in our midst. We know our communities are threatened on a daily basis by the many faces of hate and intolerance – not just because of our sexuality or gender identity, but because of our race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, ability, and too many other facets of our identities. We stand in solidarity against all forms of violence, as well as the hate and intolerance that all too often propagate it.

“We roundly condemn the violence committed against our fellow community members in Oak Creek, WI and Joplin, MO. As flags fly at half-staff around the country, we call for a fuller dialogue among diverse communities, law enforcement, and policymakers to better address violence in our communities.”

The groups that signed the statement include: Advocates for Youth, Affinity Community Services, Inc., American Civil Liberties Union, Asian Pacific Islander Equality- Northern California, Audre Lorde Project, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Family Equality Council, FIERCE, First Nations Two Spirit Collective, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, Immigration Equality | Action Fund, International Federation of Black Prides, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Queers United for Action, PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), Queers for Economic Justice, Queer Muslim Working Group, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP), SALGA, Southerners on New Ground (SONG), Sylvia Rivera Law Project and Trikone.