Buddhism in the Bronx: Wat Jotanaram (Cambodians in NYC Pt. III)

Sleepless in Singapore

Venerable Kandaal Pheach stands outside the gateway to Wat Jotanaram, a Cambodian Buddhist temple in the Bronx that has a rich & endearing history. Pheach is concerned about the temple's future. Kandaal Pheach stands outside Wat Jotanaram, a Cambodian Buddhist temple in the Bronx that has a rich & endearing history. Pheach is concerned about the temple’s future.

Pheach was recruited from Cambodia to be the head monk of Wat Jotanaram in 200__, also known as the Khmer Buddhist Society. Pheach was recruited from Cambodia to for the position of head monk at Wat Jotanaram, also called the Khmer Buddhist Society, in 2001.

A drizzly autumn afternoon in the Bronx has camouflaged Morris Avenue in monochromatic grey — except for Venerable Kandaal Pheach, a Cambodian monk clad in a vibrant orange robe.

Pheach welcomes visitors into a gated, two-story property, then leads the way inside.

“This temple is my life,” said Pheach, who immigrated to America in 2001.

The house-like building he just ducked into is a temple, a community hall, and Pheach’s home, all under one roof. It is the Khmer Buddhist Society, or Wat Jotanaram, and beneath its ordinary exterior is a diverse pocket of Southeast Asian culture.

As…

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