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Trading Latte for a Mat

Cornell Daily Sun, USA
Jan. 29, 2004
Dan Galindo • Friday January 30, 2004

Organic vegan carob brownies helped feed a steady stream of customers at yesterday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening of the Mat Factor Caf. Run by the religious group known as the Twelve Tribes, the caf occupies the former site of the Home Dairy on the Commons.

Alesha Myers ’04 and Mike Reardon stopped in partly because of the caf’s elaborate wood decor.

Twelve Tribes

Theologically, the Twelve Tribes movement is a cult of Christianity. It does not represent historical, orthodox Christianity

“I stopped in a few days ago,” Reardon said, “it looked fantastic.”

Customers were treated to live folk music and samples of the caf’s cookies, wraps and mat, a tea-like drink of South American origins.

“We’ve had a few hundred people come in today,” said Sholom, a member of the Twelve Tribes.

The caf also features wireless internet. While there are plans to be open 24 hours a day, closing on Saturdays to observe the Sabbath, the caf’s schedule is currently unsettled, Twelve Tribes member Tom Rivera said.

Rivera believes the caf will appeal to the student palate.

“The [belgian] waffles are for late-night college students,” Rivera said.

The Twelve Tribes’ beliefs on issues of race and disapproval of homosexuality are frequently cited by those advocating a consumer boycott. Several of the patrons said they were still making up their minds about the group.

“My feeling is that we should give them a chance to be part of the community,” one cafgoer said, “I hope that people give them a chance.

Jane McPheeters, president of the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, and Ithaca Downtown Partnership Director Gary Ferguson were present for the ribbon-cutting, as were representatives from City Hall, Rivera said.

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