save sundays at the thai temple

In Berkeley, the 27-year-old Thai Buddhist temple, Wat Mongkolratanaram, has recently come under attack by neightbors who object to its Sunday Food Offering. Over the last twenty-five years, the weekly food have become a part of the cultural fabric of the Bay Area, and an important gathering point for the local Thai American community.

In recent months, a small group of opposing neighbors have started a campaign to shut down the Sunday Food Offering tradition, complaining that is generates traffic, noise, trash... and the "offensive odors" that the Temple food apparently emits. Whaaat? Why do I get the feeling nobody would be complaining about the smell of spaghetti and meatballs?

I'm told that the Temple has not only taken steps to address the specific concerns of the complainants, it has made efforts to be a considerate community partner through surveys, readjustments on temple activities, and land use impact studies. There's got to be a way to come to an understand, right? They're all neighbors, after all.

However, the neighbors have pressed to have the Sunday services eliminated completely, which would be a severe blow to the Berkeley Thai Temple. In early December, the Temple will seek approval from the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments to continue the tradition. Here's the Temple's press release: Community Rallies to Support Sundays at the Berkeley Thai Temple.

Here's a local news story on the Temple's fight: Patti Lee Reports On A Thai Buddhist Temple's Fight To Stay Around. For more news and background information, visit the Save the Thai Temple blog: Save Sundays at the Thai Temple!. They've got a section on what you can do to help.

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