January 2020

Page 1


Young Minds VISION



letter from the co-chairs

08 education corner


letter from the editor

12 YJA projects


edgy veggie

15 jain vegan recipes


jainism in the media: analyzing NBC’s the good place and its

perspectives of moral clarity through the lens of jainism

19 anxiety countdown: finding calm during the storm

22 LR spotlights


blankets and bhavanas


behind the scenes of #YJA2020 26 convention committee

24 sangh spotlight

Editor: Satej Shah Cover Design: Purva Shah & Saanji Shah Contributers: Abhi Shah, Anand Shah, Ayush Bhansali, Bhavaya Shah, Dhruvi Vora, Dhvani Mehta, Harshita Jain, Henil Rathod, Hetali Lodaya, Kriti Shah, Lavanya Jain, Maisha Savani, Parshva Vakharia, Parthavi Matalia, Priyanka Shah, Rachna Shah, Rahi Shah, Rishi Zaveri, Rupal Sanghavi, Sakhi Shah, Sara Jain, Shikhar Shah, Twinkle Shah, Umang Lathia, Vatsal Gandhi, Vidhi Daga, Vineet Shah, Virag Vora, Vishwa Shah Publications Subcommittee: Anokhi Saklecha, Bhuvni Shah, Hiti Chouhan, Kriti Shah, Maisha Savani, Manvi Harde, Purva Shah, Rahi Shah, Saurin Shah


Letter From The Co-Chairs Jai Jinendra, First and foremost, we want to send a heartfelt thank you and congratulations to the outgoing 2018-2019 Executive Board for everything they achieved over the course of their term. YJA would not be as successful as it is today without the hard work and dedication of those tremendously talented individuals. Speaking of which, we are incredibly excited to work with an amazing Executive Board for the 2019-2020 year leading up to the 2020 YJA Convention in Dallas, TX! We first met in October in Dallas for the traditional Fall Board Meeting, where we spent a weekend planning for the upcoming year and getting to know each other. Since then, we have hosted National Dinners, celebrated Diwali, held Thanksgiving Jaaps, raised over $2,500 on Giving Tuesday and formed an absolute superteam in our 2020 YJA Convention Committee. We recently released the dates for the regional winter retreats and can’t wait for the retreat season to kick off soon! We launched the first-ever month-long Celebration of Compassion campaign in December. With the help of events, such as clothing drives and Blankets and Bhavanas, for those suffering from homelessness, thought-provoking discussions on YJAxReflect, and the release of a compassionate gift-giving guide, we explored ways in which compassion could be shown through our thoughts, words, and actions. Additionally, by spotlighting individuals and organizations that show kindness and generosity in their daily lives, we hope we inspired you to help create a more non-violent and cruelty-free world around us. We also made significant efforts to update and revive our social media channels for this upcoming year. Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter and follow YJA on all of your favorite social media channels -- Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and LinkedIn -- to keep track of events, learn more about Jainism, and connect with more young Jains from around the nation! As you’ll read about in this issue of Young Minds, we are excited to work with our amazing Project Teams, including Maharaj Saheb Messages, College Chapters, and the Aneka podcast, spotlight some of our awesome Local Representatives, connect with Sanghs for community-driven events, provide a useful mental health and wellness check, and share delicious holiday season vegan recipes. Lastly, as we enter the new decade with the organization, we can’t wait to share what we have in store for you in 2020. And on behalf of the Executive Board 2019-2020 and the 2020 YJA Convention Committee, Micchammi Dukkadam! With #yjalove, Parshva Vakharia and Vatsal Gandhi Co-Chairs, 2019-2020


Letter From The Editor Pranam and Jai Jinendra, Thank you for taking the time to read this latest issue of Young Minds. It is due to your support and readership that we are able to provide a platform for Jain youth across the globe to share and learn from each others’ perspectives. Over the past few months, the YJA Executive Board has discussed several ways to refine the organization’s brand through social media, events, and connecting with YJA alumni. Since then, we have learned that the principal path to grow is through our diverse membership and the accompanying innovative mindset. Young Minds has helped countless Jain youth share their stories and strengthen the Jain community to become one family. In this issue, you’ll read about plant-based and cell-based meat, Blankets and Bhavanas, a new segment called Foursquare, and much more. You will also hear from our Local Representatives, YJA Project Teams, and meet the 2020 YJA Convention Committee! This upcoming year is notably special for YJA as we enter a new decade and host the 14th Biennial YJA Convention in Dallas, TX! I am humbled to have the opportunity to connect with our Jain youth to create this issue and am thankful for all their hard work. As the Director of Publications, I aspire to increase youth activity within the Sanghs, wherein youth feel empowered to share their thoughts and opinions, and increase accessibility to YJA’s resources. If you are interested in writing for Young Minds or want to share your story, please do not hesitate to reach out at publications@yja.org! Thank you and Micchammi Dukkadam! With #yjalove, Satej Shah

Meet the 2019-2020 YJA Executive Board! Parshva Vakharia, Co-Chair Parshva Vakharia is a student at the New York University Stern School of Business studying Finance and Accounting. Parshva has a wide range of interests, including tabla, singing, Chinese yo-yo, traveling, and basketball, and he is a diehard Boston Celtics fan. Parshva is extremely excited to continue YJA’s education initiatives this year and expand its efforts even further. Fun Fact - I eat cereal without milk.

Vatsal Gandhi, Co-Chair Vatsal spent the first 17 years of his life in Mumbai and is now a Mechanical Engineering alumnus from the University of Illinois (I-L-L!), a Chicago resident and a consultant in the transaction advisory services industry. Vatsal is an avid soccer and NBA fanatic and likes spending his free time reading, listening to podcasts and re-watching The Office. He attended his first Convention in 2012 and is excited to bring his ideas and skills to this year’s Board as Co-Chair! Fun Fact - I’m a huge Beatles fan and actually own their most famous records in physical form.

Harshita Jain, Director of Education Harshita is a student at Rutgers University studying Biomedical Engineering and is passionate about service and social innovation. She loves to eat ice cream and go on runs, and her hobbies include playing the piano and rewatching Black Panther. Having served two years on the Education subcommittee, Harshita is beyond excited to keep creating and expanding educational content and resources. Fun Fact - I have a set of pilot’s wings!

Charmi Shah, Director of Events Charmi Shah is a junior at the University of Louisville majoring in Public Health and minoring in Spanish with the goal of eventually becoming a pediatrician. When she’s not watching Netflix, Charmi loves trying new foods, traveling, and playing matchmaker between her friends. She previously served as Mid-West Regional Coordinator and Social Programming Co-lead in 20172018, and is super excited to return to YJA this year and help plan events to further spread the #yjalove. Fun Fact - I lived a day twice!

Sanjana Jain, Director of Finance Sanjana is a Consultant by day and a dream vegan baker at heart. A Columbus native, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a specialization in Accounting from Ohio State University and is a Certified Public Accountant. In her spare time, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading, traveling, doing community service, and spending time with loved ones. As a wellness and self-care advocate, she is thoroughly fascinated by the power of mind and body. Fun Fact - My first words were Pizza Hut!


Dhara Bhalani, Director of Fundraising Dhara is currently a senior at the University of Georgia studying Digital Marketing and Supply Chain Management. She is passionate about photography, traveling, and cheering on the Dawgs! She has grown up in the Atlanta Jain Sangh and is excited to serve in this position. Dhara is thrilled to be a part of the YJA board this year and have fun with FUNdraising! Fun Fact - I’ve met 2chainz. He’s such a nice guy!

Pranay Patni, Director of Project Development Pranay is a California native and currently works at a startup in San Francisco as a software engineer. In his free time, he enjoys binge-watching anything and everything related to Marvel, eating Taco Bell, and playing and collecting board games with his friends. Pranay served as the West Regional Coordinator during the 2017-2018 Executive Board year and is super excited to be returning to YJA as this year’s Director of Project Development. Fun Fact - I’ve watched Infinity War 21 times and Endgame 9 times (and counting).

Satej Shah, Director of Publications Satej is a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Information Systems. Some of Satej’s interests include playing basketball, reading on FiveThirtyEight, and watching The Office. After being a YJA Local Representative for 5 years, he’s very excited to serve as the Director of Publications! Fun Fact - I’ve never used a payphone.

Ruchi Vora, Director of Public Relations Ruchi is a second-year student at Oregon State University studying Graphic Design and Marketing. She was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, so she loves to hike, ride bikes, ski, and embrace the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Ruchi attended the 2014 and 2016 YJA conventions and can’t wait to get the ball rolling on YJA’s initiatives! Fun Fact - I can drive a stick shift!

Anish Visaria, Director of Technology Anish Visaria is a software engineer currently working in the Boston area. Anish recently graduated from Georgia Tech and was previously an LR in the Southeast region. He grew up in New Jersey and attended Pathshala, where he realized an interest in Jainism. Anish enjoys looking at greenery, doing yoga, and learning about how things work. He’s excited to work on interesting projects and is open to new ideas. Fun Fact - I was born on India’s Republic Day.

Aayush Shah, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator Aayush is a sophomore at Rutgers University where he studies Public Health and Biology. Outside of school, he is a part-time DJ and EMT. Aayush loves to go on hikes, workout, binge watch “The Office,” and drive around with the windows down blasting country music. After being a Local Representative for 2 years, he is eager to serve as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator! Fun Fact - I successfully completed the Sammed Shikharji jathra on foot this past winter!


Miten Shah, Mid-West Regional Coordinator Miten Shah is a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago studying accounting & finance and will be joining Bank of America Merrill Lynch as a corporate banker when he graduates. In his free time, he loves to watch football, explore the city, and keep up with the latest news in politics. Miten has been an LR, served on the 2018 YJA Convention Committee, and is a proud supporter of JSMC. He’s looking forward to planning fun events and connecting the Midwest. Fun Fact - I was a certified nursing assistant in high school!

Pratik Shah, Northeast Regional Coordinator Pratik was born and raised in New Jersey until he attended college at Virginia Tech (LETS GO HOKIES!!) for 4 years where he received his undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering. He recently moved to Massachusetts to work at Collins Aerospace. His hobbies include cooking, dancing, listening to music, and watching anything Marvel-related. He is also a huge Colts and Knicks fan! Pratik has been to 3 conventions (‘14, ‘16, and ‘18) and is looking forward to planning this year’s convention. Fun Fact - I danced competitively for a Bollywood-Fusion dance team for 4 years in college. Rupal Sanghavi, South Regional Coordinator Rupal, aka the girl with the go-vegan necklace, codes for The Home Depot and graduated from SMU. She loves to dance, eat, help animals, and annoy her brother Viral. She was born in Virginia, moved around a lot, and now is proud to call Dallas home. She was a South Local Rep and on the Dallas 2020 bid packet team. Now as South RC she can’t wait to bring the dirty south fam even closer together. Fun Fact - I’ve co-started 5 organizations/clubs since 2011, 2 more in the works

Mahin Bhavsar, Southeast Regional Coordinator Mahin is a Georgia native who is currently a sophomore at Georgia State University studying Finance. In his free time, Mahin enjoys watching movies, binge-watching tv shows, listening to music, and playing video games. He is also very passionate about sports and loves cheering his favorite Atlanta sports teams. After serving as an LR for three years, Mahin is thrilled to be this year’s Southeast RC and can’t wait to plan exciting events! Fun Fact - I love to travel.

Bansari Shah, West Regional Coordinator Bansari was born and raised in Chicago and now is a junior studying Business Administration at the University of Southern California (Fight On!). In her free time, she loves to binge Netflix shows, travel, shop, try new restaurants (or just go to Taco Bell), and explore LA with friends! She previously served on the 2018 Convention Committee, and is so excited for another year of #yjalove on the Executive Board! Fun Fact - I ran a half marathon earlier this year!


Jai Jinendra! Welcome to the YJA Education Corner, which hosts thought-provoking articles, educational resources and platforms, and reminders about upcoming holidays and projects. Please feel free to send a message (or two!) to education@yja.org if you have any questions, comments, or feedback! If anything in this content has offended you or gone against the teachings of Bhagwan Mahavir, we sincerely ask for forgiveness. Micchami Dukkadam!

Have you ever found yourself having to ask a parent or grandparent when important Jain holidays are, or whether today is a tithi? While at home, many have this option, after going to college and moving out, not everyone can do the same. With this in mind, Education is excited for the release of the YJA Jain Panchang (lunar calendar). It is comprised of three separate Google Calendars: Major Jain Holidays Tithis Kalyanaks Add one or more of these calendars to your own to stay on top of the important Jain festivals and celebrations that occur throughout the year. Hopefully, being aware of upcoming auspicious days well in advance will help you make conscious choices towards improving your spiritual progress! Follow our social media platforms for more information about the significance of major holidays and for suggestions about how to commemorate them! Calendars are also available on the YJA website. Tip: Try to take some kind of vow on as many of these days as you can. This can be something like reducing screen time on electronics, refraining from eating after sunset, or taking some time to recite the Navkar Mantra.


Maharaj Saheb Messages is a Q&A platform aimed at building a bridge between Sadhus and Sadhvis and Jain youth via written correspondence. Through the clarity provided by Maharaj Sahebs, we hope young Jains will be able to reignite their faith.

Authored By The YJA Education Subcommittee: Rishi Zaveri, Sakhi Shah, and Umang Lathia

The idea of FourSquare comes from The Kingmaker, a Hindi-English quarterly magazine released by the Shree Ratnatrayee Trust under the guidance of Acharya Maharaj Sahebs in India. We hope it succeeds in providing different perspectives within unifying themes. Please visit yja.org/msm and click on the tab next to “Q & A” in order to access previously published issues of The Kingmaker.

Foursquare: Vision Glasses

Glasses are a tool we use to correct our vision when we are unable to see the world clearly. Without glasses, our world becomes only the objects we can see and we easily become blind-sided by what we cannot. We use glasses to see the world clearly which allows us to explore the world better. Through our daily lives, we make thousands of choices a day. However, if our mindset is not in balance, we may make choices that we later regret. If we are engrossed with immediate life enjoyments and day-to-day dramas or focus too heavily on long-term plans and goals, we become similar to someone who needs glasses but has none. We need a way to correct this imbalance. In these situations, we should view our lives with ‘glasses’ on, effectively putting our goals and happiness into perspective. This allows us to adjust the power of these biases and measure how these changes affect our mindsets. We may realize that by carefully considering the ‘nearsighted’ and ‘farsighted’ effects of our actions, we can weigh these focuses better, which allows us to make better, balanced decisions. Doing this will allow us to live a more harmonious life as we begin a new year.

Eye Drops

A Maharaj Saheb once said in his discourse“When eye hurts, eye drops; when I hurts, drop I.” What a beautiful lesson to keep with us for the rest of our lives! When our eyes are infected and begin to itch, we are quick to retrieve eye drops to make the infection go away. But what about when someone offends us or acts against our expectations? Instead of getting mad or feeling upset, as we are habitually inclined, we must learn to fetch the eye drops of humility. Instead of being quick to anger, we should be quick to forgive. The “I”-infection of I/me/mine makes us think that we have absolute control over the world. We act as if the world will work according to our desires. By dropping this fantasy, we gain the virtues of patience, understanding, and acceptance. We begin to see from others’ points of view, and stop judging them against our expectations. So, let us take this lesson to heart today and begin to see the world selflessly, without the infection of ego.


Sunglasses, before becoming a means of expression and fashion, served a simple purpose: shielding our eyes from ultraviolet radiation (UV rays). These rays- can severely damage our eyesight; thus, sunglasses play a key role in keeping a clear, clean, and healthy vision. We live in a materialistic world, in which we frequently face the temptation to make the wrong choices or keep an unclear mind. Our clouded vision can be a result of the content on social media, the negative influence of those close to us, or even something as common as an advertisement for and item we do not need. These distractions can hold us back, therefore, it is important that we remember to keep a clean mind and block out bad thoughts, similar to the way we keep sunglasses on our eyes. Some examples of “sunglasses” to protect our inner sight include meditation, prayer, and reflection on our thoughts, words, and actions. Clearing our minds will help us move forward, make better choices, and live a simpler life with fewer complications.

Eye Exams

We regularly visit the optometrist for eye appointments. During these visits, the doctor checks our vision, determines the health of our eyes, and advises changes that need to be made. They offer us a perspective grounded in training and expertise - one we do not have ourselves. In our lives, we can gain this perspective from our gurus and mentors through regular check-ins. Their expertise and wisdom help us correct our path when we are off-course, and validate our decisions when we are heading in the right direction. These figures could be Sadhus, Pathshala teachers, parents, and even friends who inspire us. Regularly seeking their advice over the upcoming year will enable us to quickly improve ourselves and our decision-making skills through 2020 and beyond.


edgy veggie

The State of Affairs Today The case for calling modern-day animal agriculture one of the most pressing ethical questions of our time seems pretty airtight. Between concerns of sustainability and energy efficiency, maintaining global food security in a meat-eating world is suspect. The acceleration of climate change, brought on in no small part by the increase in greenhouse gas emissions from factory farms, endangers the billions who will live on coasts, through droughts and in poverty in the coming decades. Regularly given massive doses of antibiotics, the farm animals of today house tomorrow’s antibioticresistant superbugs in their guts and waste.

By Anand Shah

And this all tips the scale without even considering what is often the young Jain’s greatest concern: the uncontroversial moral status of animals as thinking, feeling jiva, and the evil inherent in their coercion and murder. These are all part of the reason I think it’s clear that we need a global cultural revolution in the way we think about food and that non-violence has to be the guiding light.

Thinking of Solutions Luckily, the Jain community is famous for its strict adherence to a non-violent lifestyle, historically moving beyond vegetarianism to consider violence done even to root vegetables like potatoes, carrots and onions. I wonder, though, if our conception of what a global nonviolent diet looks like needs to adapt further.

A lot of ink has already been spilled by Jain scholars and activists on the need for our community to pioneer making veganism mainstream -- I think a lot of these arguments are brilliant and pretty compelling, but it’s not what I want to talk about. Instead, I want to consider a dimension of meat-alternatives that leaves a lot of our hearts (and stomachs) divided: plant-based and cell-based meat. Both plant-based and cell-based1 meat are on the rise. Between rollout at grocery stores and restaurants across the nation, plant-based meat companies, like Beyond Food and Impossible Foods, have enjoyed a lot of success in the last year. And, while less obvious, I think cell-based meat isn’t so far behind either. It’s moderately easy to make cellbased meat in a lab -- you just obtain a painless cell sample from the desired animal (something like a mouth swab or a biopsy about half the size of a grain of rice), set conditions like pH, temperature, and nutrient levels for optimal growth, and mostly let time take care of the rest. Figuring out how to scale this process commercially is the puzzle institutes like the Good Food Institute (GFI) are trying to figure out, but experts like Marie Gibbons (a researcher with GFI exploring large-scale clean meat production methods at Harvard Medical School) think it’s only about 5 -10 years before cellbased meat is commercially viable, which is really not so far away. And, these substitutes seem all the more appealing as a vision for the future, considering that public health and animal advocacy groups have been trying for years to convince the U.S. to reduce its meat consumption with little success (average per capita meat consumption has been increasing pretty linearly over the last six decades2).


Anand is currently a third-year at the University of Chicago and has served on the YJA Executive Board as the Director of Events (2017-2018) and as the MidWest Regional Coordinator (2016-2017).

Now, if this all doesn’t have you jumping into your Honda Odyssey for the Impossible Burger, I don’t blame you. But, I also don’t think the buck stops at consumption. The coffers of many in the Jain community are deep, and if a few strategic donations are what it takes to give the plant-based and cell-based meat alternatives a fighting chance, then I think it’s worth seriously thinking about these alternatives. Even beyond funding, history has shown us time and time again that paradigm shifts and social movements are built in the minds and hearts of consumers and activists. Just starting a critical dialogue that treats plant-based and cell-based meat alternatives seriously might be enough to bolster friends into research or advocacy with a huge downstream impact. It may all seem kind of fantastic to read now, but I genuinely believe that, as a community, we should consider our relationship to plant-based and cell-based meat alternatives much more carefully.

1: Plant-based and Cell-based meat In plant-based protein products, protein is extracted and isolated from the plant, then combined with other plant-based ingredients with the goal of making the product as meaty as possible. In cell-based meat, an animal cell is extracted from an animal and grown in a lab culture to create a piece of meat.

2: “Per Capita Consumption of Poulty and Livestock , 1960 to Forecast 2020, in Pounds,” The National Chicken Council

Some Philosophical Thoughts Of course, there are a few serious concerns. The most obvious is whether these plant and cell-based meats are actually still meat. That is, does consuming them generate paap in the same way consuming meat does? There is also the non-trivial assumption that I’m sure a ton of you are already thinking -- what if plant-based meat generates less paap than cell-based meat? Why should the two substitutes even be on the same moral plane? In response to these questions, I have a few philosophical feelings that I’d love to see bashed on YJAxReflect. My first intuition is that, in terms of moral status, plant-based meat and cell-based meat shouldn’t really be too different from one another and, also, that plant-based and cell-based meat are not evil. My guess here comes from two arguments. The first is that there is not really too much violence inherent in the creation of plant-based and cell-based meat -- plantbased meats only harm one-sensed jiva (the plants themselves) and cell-based meats proliferate from a cell sample that requires no himsa at all. This argument should be persuasive if you think the biggest reason that eating meat is bad is because animals are caused to suffer to produce meat. The second argument is that both plant-based and cell-based meat substitute for a more violent alternative, so supporting plant-based and cell-based meat makes the world better on net. If you believe King Megharath did a good thing in sacrificing his flesh to save the dove, maybe you’ll find this argument persuasive. King Megarath inflicted violence (upon himself ) as a means to decreasing the total violence in the world (Read the full story here!); similarly, even if you’re unsure about the status of the meat alternatives, you should definitely be able to agree that Impossible Foods inflicts less violence on the world than Oscar-Meyer, so you should support meat alternatives proportionally to how much you think they’re marginally better than their meat industry counterparts.

Some Ending Thoughts As I step back and re-read these arguments, though, I have to acknowledge that I have some intrinsic discomfort around even thinking about cell-based meat. For me, at least, this is definitely vestigial from a lifelong commitment to vegetarianism. In fact, as a last philosophical note, I think this personal comfort might also be morally relevant in a Jain ethical system. This is mostly because Jainism puts weight on your bhav, or mental passions, at the time of action. If you’re thinking of eating meat every time you bite into an Impossible Burger, you’re probably contracting negative karmas. The imitation in shape is evoking some negative bhav, which, in turn, makes your consumption paap. (I find this argument similar to when people say Jains shouldn’t eat animal crackers, Goldfish, or gelatin-free gummy bears.) I’m really curious to see how much of this intrinsic discomfort goes away as I become more accustomed to plant-based alternatives, and I’m wondering whether other people have had this experience! Whatever your feelings about plant-based and cell-based meat, I think this conversation around alternatives to factory farms is just starting, and I think as cell-based meat comes closer to commercialization, we’ll have some more reckoning to do. I look forward to hearing what y’all have to say! If I said anything incorrect or hurtful, Micchammi Dukkadam.

YJA Project Teams

College Chapters


YJA events – retreats, conventions, dinners –– provide great opportunities to chat with your fellow young Jains about any topic, religion-related or otherwise, that’s been on your mind. But what about those moments in between, when you’re at home, at school, or not around many other Jains? What if you want to talk about something that takes more than a text message or 140 characters? That’s where YJA Reflect comes into play. You might have known this platform as YJA Forums previously. Last year, the YJA Reflect team transitioned from YJA Forums, a website platform, to YJA Reflect, a Facebook discussion group, to improve and expand the discussion platform. YJAxReflect is an easy-to-use Facebook page; simply create an account, log in, and you’re connected to your YJA friends everywhere. This is a space where the young Jain community around the country can come together to interact, learn, discuss, respond, comment, and dive into topics of Jainism like never before. In the upcoming months, we plan to expand the group through interactive events and collaborations with YJA campaigns, new content, such as a potential book club, and more. We hope you’ll join in on the conversation!

The College Chapters Team strives to promote and support the YJA affiliated college chapters across the nation. Our mission is to make it easier for Jains in college to interact with one another and become involved with YJA. We help establish new chapters, in addition to expanding current ones. We also connect incoming college students with their school’s chapter or work with them to create new groups. One project we are currently working on, in collaboration with college chapters, is the YJA Networking database. This database records professional contact information for both YJA members and alumni. We are working to make this database a useful and powerful tool for those trying to connect with Jains in their fields. Through endeavors like these, we hope to serve as a resource for anyone looking to network with Jains in their school or professional field.



The YJA App came into fruition during the 2018 YJA Convention in Chicago. It began as an event management platform where attendees could view their sessions, dining menus, and dress codes. It also allowed attendees to scan each other’s bar codes to quickly exchange social media information. Our goal is to continue this event management platform for future conventions and retreats while building out more features such as administrative capabilities, social media integrations, share session handouts, and send music requests to the DJ. We aim to also add non-convention features to transition the app into “everything YJA” including a newsfeed of events and stories of people in the community. We also aim to house educational content such as Jain stories and sutras. We hope that people will use the app to stay more connected with the YJA community!


Jains In Action (JIA) allows participants to develop, test, and implement solutions to problems our Jain communities face through hackathon-style events. JIA held events at YJA ’16, YJA ’18 and most recently at JAINA ’19. From the 1-month pilot at YJA 2016, JIA expanded during YJA 2018 to include a 4-month structured series of virtual activities that let participants learn about the entrepreneurial process. At JAINA ’19, JIA held a 2-hour “workshop” hackathon for attendees aged 14-20 in the Youth Activities group. Some attendees participate in JIA to practice their problem-solving and entrepreneurial skills, while others find a team and idea they are passionate about pursuing - YJA Mentorship and Maharaj Saheb Messages (MSM) both started as JIA ideas! While the JIA Project Team continues to offer support to teams working on their ideas, they are also laying down the groundwork for the JIA 2020 competition in Dallas. If you love startups, entrepreneurship, design, creativity, or problem-solving, and you’re interested in being involved, email jia@yja.org or visit www.yja.org/jia!


The winner of YJA 2018’s Jains in Action (JIA), Maharaj Saheb Messages allows Jains, especially youths, from across the world to communicate with Maharaj Sahebs in India without disturbing their vows of not using modern technology. We aim to build a bridge between Sadhus/Sadhvis and Jain youth via written correspondence. Through the clarity provided by Maharaj Sahebs, we hope young Jains will be able to reignite their faith as they receive answers to their questions. So far we have received over 30 questions from individuals around the world that are being answered by almost 10 Maharaj Sahebs. In the upcoming months, we will be updating our website, relaunching our social media, and creating more opportunities for people to ask questions and receive answers through Maharaj Saheb Messages!

[lo-fi hip-hop] Shikhar: Hey everyone, welcome to episode 4 of Aneka. I’m Shikhar Vishwa: and I’m V-. Wait, no. Shikhar, this isn’t an episode. You’re in the wrong medium. We’re in Young Minds... Shikhar: Umm, well all I know how to do is podcast...so podcast we shall do. I wonder if the creaminess of our voices translates to text?

[Aneka intro music] Vishwa: So our listeners want to know the story behind the podcast. Shikhar: We kinda told them how we got to the name back in episode #0, but yeah, how did this podcast start? Let’s take it back to the start

[disc scratch] Vishwa: I keep noticing this bold, italic text in brackets. Why does it keep interrupting? Shikhar: That’s Virag! Remember, we’re in a podcast... Vishwa: Oh true. Where’s Umang then? Probably writing the episode description... Last July, I listened to an episode of NPR’s Hidden Brain that set off a chain of ideas in my head. Called “Creating God,” it discussed the function of religion and the idea of God in society from anthropological, religious, and historical perspectives. It got me thinking about the way the Jain community is evolving, and how many perspectives in the modern-day are floated around. I’ve loved the conversations I’ve had at conventions or retreats, so why not expand that into the podcast medium? That got me to education subcommittee, where I pitched it to the then Director of Education Parshva Vakharia. And soon enough, he connected me to you, Virag, and Umang.

Shikhar: Ahhh yes. And then began our long, winding calls. We worked on defining the scope and audience of this podcast, marketing and distribution channels, and potential episode ideas— many of which were actually born out of our own tangential discussions, or personal experiences. And as we approached a consensus on what we all wanted to achieve with this podcast, we realized a central theme: this idea of researching new angles, talking to people across the Jain community, and presenting their perspectives. And this idea of various perspectives we embodied in our name: Aneka, which means “not one”-- like in anekantvad— multiplicity of views.

Vishwa: We’re still working on coming to a clear definition of what our mission is— we know our audience is mostly young jains, so we’re trying to experiment with different kinds of topics (varying how closely tied to theoretical Jainism they are, how we tell the story, etc). From a production perspective, we’re also working on stabilizing our research, story development, and editing processes. Shikhar: In the upcoming months, Aneka will try to publish an episode a month, connect with our audience through ‘reaction’ episodes, and continue to dive into interesting discussions as we explore the many challenges and triumphs we face as individuals, and a community. Vishwa: Thanks for joining us on this “episode” of Aneka. Feel free to drop us a line at @anekayja on Instagram or Twitter, or shoot us an email at aneka@yja.org. [outro]

5-Minute Pani Puri Hummus

Makes: 8-10 servings Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients: 1/2 cup mint leaves 2/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro 1 cup green peas, defrosted 1.5 cups or 1 can cooked chickpeas 2 tbsp tahini 1-2 tbsp olive oil Juice of 1 lemon Pinch of asofoetida powder (optional) 1 tsp pani puri masala 1 green chili

Method: Simply blend all ingredients together in a food processor. Add olive oil and splashes of water as needed to establish desired consistency. Serve up with some pita chips, pani puri shells, veggie sticks, or add it to your salads, wraps, or sandwiches!

Vegan Moringa Palak “Paneer”

pinkispalate.com @pinkispalate

Serves: 3-4 people Total Time: 25 min

Spices: 1 tsp turmeric 1 tsp garam masala 1 tsp kasuri methi powder/fenugreek leaves 2 tbsp moringa powder 1 tsp dried ginger powder 1 tsp cumin (seeds or ground) 1 tsp red chili salt to taste

Fresh Ingredients: 5-6 cups of baby spinach 1 block extra firm tofu, drained and cubed 1/2 cup coconut milk 2 tbsp coconut oil Juice of 1/2 lemon 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped 1/4 bulb fennel, diced 1/2 cup cilantro or parsley 3 small green chili, seeds removed, diced

Method: 1. Sautée tofu cubes in 1 tbsp of coconut oil until lightly golden. Toss every 2-3 minutes to ensure all sides are cooked. Set aside. 2. Bring 3 cups of water to boil. Add spinach to boiling water to blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water to preserve the bright green color. 3. To a blender, add blanched spinach, tomatoes, green chili, cilantro/parsley, and ginger. Blend until pureed. 4. In a pan, add 1 tbsp coconut oil. When the oil is hot, add cumin, red chili, turmeric, and garam masala. Let spices sizzle on medium heat for about 2 minutes or until aromatic. Then add diced fennel and cook for 3 minutes–the perfect substitute for onions for those following a Jain diet or have a sensitive gut. 5. Add spinach puree to pan and stir to combine. Mix in coconut milk, lemon juice, salt, kasuri methi powder, and moringa powder. Add tofu. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, stirring intermittently. 6. Garnish with more cilantro/parsley, lemon slices, and nuts if desired. Serve hot with naan, 15pita, lavash, roti, rice, quinoa, or any other grain/bread you like!

Jainism In The Media: Analyzing NBC’s The Good Place And Its Perspectives Of Moral Clarity Through The Lens Of Jainism By: Maisha Savani


s we head into the year 2020, not only will a decade defined by meme culture, superhero blockbusters, and Lululemon leggings come to an end, but also NBC’s The Good Place, as it concludes its fourth and final season. In the midst of cable television’s rapid plummet in subscribers and quality content, The Good Place was a pleasant surprise. In witty and digestible 20-minute episodes, The Good Place tackles questions that have baffled humans since the dawn of time. What makes a person


“good” versus “bad”? Are deeds still considered noble if the intentions behind them are selfish and corrupt? Is it truly possible to know the moral implications of every action you take, and can constantly contemplating these implications actually be detrimental? As the show explored these concepts, I found myself pondering how the Jain concepts of karma and Samyak Gnan connect to the philosophical themes of the show, and I found myself questioning the moral outlook by which I live my daily life. While the show delves into a plethora of philosophical questions that can

be analyzed through a Jain lens, here I discuss the particularly interesting themes of moral clarity and moral intentions that constantly arise in the plotline. ***Considering this is a post dissecting The Good Place’s philosophical ideals, expect major spoilers ahead. So go binge watch the show on Netflix if you haven’t already; I assure you that the comical wit of the show doesn’t disappoint.***

According to the show, the way that people get allocated to the “Good Place” or “Bad Place” in their afterlife is analogous to the Jain theory of karma––in particular, to the Jain principles of Punya and Paap. According to the show, the way that people get allocated to the “Good Place” or “Bad Place” in their afterlife is analogous to the Jain theory of karma––in particular, to the Jain principles of Punya and Paap. In The Good Place, every action and thought (and it’s intended and unintended consequences) are allocated a certain amount of positive and negative points, and just as karma is weight that is attached to your soul, a person’s point value is an intrinsic part of who they are and is constantly being tracked until they die. Ultimately, only an exclusive clique of people with the highest point values at the time of death get to live an indulgent afterlife at the The Good Place. The rest are sentenced to be tortured for eternity at the Bad Place. The starting premise is that four main characters, the selfish pharmaceutical saleswoman Eleanor Shellstrop, the indecisive Chidi Anagonye, the impulsive and ignorant DJ/drug dealer Jason Mendoza, and the desperately attention-seeking Tahani Al-Jamil, find themselves in the Good Place after they die. However, it’s soon revealed that they are all actually in the Bad Place which has been made to resemble the Good Place, and the four of them are being psychologically tortured by having to live with their biggest insecurities. Therefore, the four main characters set out on a quest to discover what it actually takes to make it into the Good Place, but they quickly realize that their mission is a worthless cause. Because of how hyper-globalized and complicated the world has become, it is nearly impossible to commit actions that are truly virtuous or beneficial. In fact, no human has been able to meet the Good Place point standard in over 500 years.

Therefore, the question that arises is: do we REALLY know the moral implications of the actions we commit? Is it even possible to have that sense of moral clarity? For example, take an action as simple as buying milk at the supermarket. By buying milk, I’m nourishing myself which is bound to give me some plus points. But in buying that one bottle of milk, I’m supporting the exploitation of cows, and I’m indulging myself with something that tastes good, which probably overwhelms the meager positive points I gain from having milk to drink in the morning. Now vegans are probably patting themselves on the back for sidestepping this situation. But still, even buying a carton of almond/ oat/whatever milk is bound to be a disaster. By buying that one carton of almond milk, I’m supporting an environmentally-unsustainable agricultural process. What if the CEO of the company is greedy and exploits his workers - do I get karma from buying products from his business? Do I also gain karma from buying my almond milk at the supermarket, thus supporting the industrialization of the food industry instead of supporting local farmers? And that’s just the almond milk, itself. What about the carton? If it’s made of plastic do I gain karma for exacerbating our world’s plastic waste disposal problem? And if I recycle my plastic, how do I truly know that my plastic carton is actually getting recycled and isn’t getting dumped in a landfill in the middle of Senegal? And what if I’m only being vegan because I expect a moral reward for not supporting animal cruelty and not because I genuinely care for the cause?

Even in today’s age, with the ability to Google the world’s answers on our phones, it’s still practically impossible to have 2020 vision on what the true intentions of our actions are. In Jainism, we preach that obtaining the “right knowledge” and acting upon it will ultimately reward us, but I question whether it’s truly possible to have the right knowledge about the actions we commit. But what if we try our hardest to have the most moral clarity and make the most morally- sound decisions that we can? The Good Place explores this concept as well, primarily through the character of Chidi Anagonye. Out of the four principal characters, Chidi is objectively the most moral one. After all, he dedicates his life to studying philosophy and moral ethics. He always considers the moral implications of the milk that he’s buying (and every action he commits), and for that reason, he was sentenced to eternity in the Bad Place. His overanalysis of the moral implications of each action is actually his greatest crime. Therefore, while it’s definitely unwise to be ignorant of the morality of one’s actions, it can be equally as detrimental to constantly contemplate it to the point where one can’t make a single decision without fear. He drives away his friends and family and effectively tortures those around him with his indecisiveness and inability to confront people, and for that, he ends up with the same fate as the rest of mankind. And even if someone theoretically does have the” right knowledge” of the moral implications of their actions and understands how one’s afterlife is determined, is that necessarily to one’s benefit? In season three, The Good Place introduces the character


Doug Forcett, a man who had an epiphany in the 1970s about the inner-workings of the afterlife and spent the rest of his life trying to accumulate the amount of points required to reach the Good Place once he dies. He gives up virtually all of his personal possessions and personal relationships with the people he knows. He only eats radishes (the crop with the lowest carbon footprint) that he grows in his backyard. He’s terrified of doing anything for his own benefit and is selfless in accommodating for others; and yet, it’s soon revealed that he, too, would miss the point value required to reach the Good Place. Because Doug Forcett understands about 90% of how one’s afterlife is determined, his intentions are forever corrupted. Every action he commits isn’t genuine, but because he’s seeking moral dessert, his extreme selfishness hinders him from obtaining paradise in the afterlife. This raises the question that if we hypothetically did have eternal knowledge to understand the exact moral consequences of everything that we do, wouldn’t our intentions forever be self-serving? We would always seek the most moral path because we know that we will get rewarded for it, and ultimately, it’s the reward that we lust after. When it comes to questions about morality, The Good Place has left me with more questions than ever, and to be quite honest, I don’t think I have answers to any of them. I am not stating that we should forgo considering the moral implications of what we do or that we should consider ourselves forever doomed. But in today’s world filled with moral ambiguity, maybe it’s worth reevaluating whether Jainism’s notions of karma really help us accurately judge people. It’s also worth evaluating the damage that constant contemplation can cause and how the right knowledge can ultimately be used for self-serving purposes. While I’ve probably left many of you readers with more existential questions than you were expecting, hopefully I’ve at least convinced you that The Good Place is a show worth catching while it’s still airing.


Maisha is a recent graduate from Boston University with a BA in Biochemstry and International Relations. Currently, she works at the OBGYN Department and volunteers at Emergency Department of New York Presbyterian-Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, and she tutors high school students in STEM/SAT/ACT during her spare time. When she’s not working or tutoring, she loves to read, play her viola and piano, catch the most buzz-worthy movie in theatres, and spend time with her two younger brothers Shubh and Maanav. She also loves to tour NYC!

anxiety countdown: finding calm during the storm ten fingers on my hands playing the keys of an imaginary piano as I close my eyes and listen to my favorite song nine lines in the Navkar Mantra I recite them over and over searching for serenity and strength in these sacred, powerful words eight steps taken to the window to let the cool air wash over me revitalizing my aching lungs reinvigorating my weakened spirit seven objects around me six distinct smells and sounds noted as I attempt to reconnect with space and time and bring my mind back to reality while my senses gently remind me that I will be ok five deep breaths in four seconds till I let the air out each time three, two, one ...year? month? week? will this matter then? maybe maybe not but I know I still will. d.m.


Blankets and Bhavanas By Sakhi Shah As a part of YJA’s month-long Celebration of Compassion, Jain Sanghs across North America have been participating in Blankets and Bhavanas event series. Aimed at fostering discussion about the Jain value of compassion and facilitating service to help mitigate homelessness, each Sangh came together to make fleece blankets to donate to those in need, especially during these cold winter months. While the blanket-making constituted a significant portion of the event, participating youth were presented with lessons on homelessness, empathy, intent, and service. Harshita Jain, the current YJA Director of Education, pitched the original idea to the YJA Executive Board after a service trip through an organization at Rutgers University. The organization, Rutgers University Alternative Breaks (RUAB), focuses on teaching members about the importance of giving back to the community by organizing service trips around the world. Harshita’s trip took place in Washington, D.C., where she explored the issues of homelessness and poverty through volunteering and conversation. In sharing her experiences, she emphasized a particular story that stood out. She was introduced to a woman suffering from homelessness and upon speaking to her, she found out that the woman had a relative that currently attends Georgetown University. She was astounded by the difference of standing within the same family. Holding these experiences and stories close to her heart, Harshita was determined to spread awareness about the circumstances and perspectives she encountered by organizing service events. One of the main lessons behind Blankets and Bhavanas was to not only be compassionate but to also be cognizant of the less fortunate. They are still people, and homelessness or any other circumstance they may face does not encompass their identity. Rather, it is something they transition through and out of, making homelessness a temporary phase in their lives Instead of referring to someone as “homeless,” try saying “a person experiencing homelessness.” Words hold power, and they affect people beyond just acting as a description. Furthermore, it is important to understand that homelessness can happen to anyone. We often associate homelessness with those who are suffering from poverty, unemployed, suffering from substance abuse, previously incarcerated, suffering from mental health issues, differently-abled - the list goes on. However, the reality remains that anyone - independent of their education, family upbringing, and other such factors - who are removed from their home, would effectively be suffering from homelessness.

Whether it be by fire, flood, or misfortune, we have no right to blame those individuals for having fallen victim to their circumstances. Conversely, we should extend compassion and support, withholding judgment as to those affected push through trying times. Many of the lessons above show how we should be thinking about homelessness and those suffering from it. These ways of thinking, when seen from a broader perspective, constitute the Jain concept of Bhavanas. Bhavanas, or contemplations, provide a framework through which to view ourselves and the world. There are 12 main Bhavanas and 4 auxiliary ones. The main Bhavanas are primarily related to the self, while the auxiliary ones dictate how one interacts with the world. These four auxiliary Bhavanas are Maitri (friendship), Pramod (appreciation), Karuna (compassion), and Madhyastha (neutrality). Although Blankets and Bhavanas focuses on Karuna, all four auxiliary Bhavanas play significant roles in the realm of service.





Maitri Bhavana tells one to look at all Jiv (living beings) in this world as the same as oneself. Even though each lifeform is in a different state or circumstance, they all share the same common denominator, the soul. When this idea takes root in one’s mind, then all differences seem trivial and all biases fall apart. Every Jiv is treated equally and with respect it deserves.

Pramod Bhavana teaches that every Jiv should be considered one’s benefactor. It is easy to see how family, friends, teachers, and mentors fall into this category. Those who are one’s beneficiaries, however, should also be considered benefactors. Those Jiv are the medium through which one has the opportunity to practice Daan (charity) and Daya (mercy). Such a viewpoint prevents the emergence of a savior mentality, which diminishes the value of life being helped.

Karuna Bhavana does not define compassion as just an act, but rather a mindset. A compassionate person is not necessarily one who is constantly volunteering or giving charitable donations. A beggar can be filled with Karuna, even though he has nothing to give. Karuna Bhavana emphasizes a compassionate mentality not limited by physical means. One should actively help and give to others as much as possible, while also expressing boundless love for all beings.

Finally, Madyastha Bhavana instructs one to stay neutral in all circumstances, both in mind and body. It is possible that after helping, one is honored and praised; it is also possible that one is ignored or even criticized. Regardless of the outcome, one must stay neutral and make consequent decisions with an unbiased mind. This is achieved through the removal of ego and by deep study of the other three Bhavanas mentioned above.

In the future, when participating in any service activity and interacting with those in need, take a step back and consider what assumptions were made about them and their situations. Listen to the dialogue around those situations. Is the way they are talked about complicit in perpetuating false beliefs? Should their identity be defined by their circumstances? Is the method of assisting them the most empowering, or does it take away their freedom of choice? This introspection can help us find simple ways to help the less fortunate in a dignified way that has the greatest chance of doing long-term good.


What I love most about YJA is its community. It is a wonderful platform to network and connect with Jains from across the US, including my own city and region whether that is through local dinners or retreats or even YJA convention. Having the opportunity to meet new people has exposed me to a variety of perspectives and has transformed me into a more confident individual. Not just that, the YJA team is so friendly and I love interacting with other LRs from my region. All in all, YJA has provided me with such an amazing platform to connect and create long-lasting friendships. I am extremely excited about the 2020 YJA convention in Dallas. I have never been to the convention. As a first-year LR, I am really looking forward to meeting other LRs from across the US and spending time with my Jain friends.


As an LR, I am most looking forward to participating and leading sessions at the annual retreat! Sessions are my absolute favorite because they allow everyone to voice their own opinions on various Jain topics. My favorite YJA memory is from my first retreat, where I met one of my best friends while splitting a bagel with them. We have been friends for about two years now and help each other through life, even though we live in 2 different states.



Being a part of YJA has allowed me to connect with the Jain community through local dinners, retreats and conventions. As an LR, I want to give back to YJA by helping to create a community that brings different types of people and opinions together. This year, I am looking forward to creating a new college chapter at UMass Amherst, because I want to provide support and help educate young Jains during this major transition. One of my favorite YJA memories is the Northeast Summer retreat this past August. Although it was one of my first retreats, it was fun meeting new people, catching up with old friends, and leading a session with my brother. On top of all the fun games and activities, I learned so many great skills on how to easily implement the Jain way of life in a modern environment.




I love the sense of community that YJA provides. The experiences I love how we can connect with Jains all around America, and make I’ve had and people I’ve met have shaped my worldview, and will new friends. It’s a common ground for us Jains to get to know each undoubtedly continue to have a huge impact on my life in the fuother and make a bond that would last for a lifetime. I have just ture. Throughout it all, I have been astounded by how caring and inrecently joined YJA and have been able to meet so many people spiring each person in YJA is. My favorite YJA event that I’ve helped since everyone is so welcoming. I can’t wait to meet more people plan has to be last year’s Poco retreat. From co-presenting a session, and get more involved with this organization. I am looking forward to skiing for the first time, to the all-nighter, I loved the experience to involving more youth activities at JCOCO. I am also looking and I cannot wait to be a part of it once again this year! My favorite forward to the midwest retreat, I have heard a lot about the midwest YJA memory is participating in the talent show at the 2018 convenretreats and I can’t wait to be a part one. I am also very excited to tion with my best friends (shoutout 2jainz!!!). Dancing on that stage meet a lot of new people who are close to Columbus. and pulling off what we’d been practicing for the past 3 months was one of the best feelings in the world.





What I love the most about YJA is how everyone is like my second family. Events like our local dinners, regional events, or even the weekly LR calls always turn my frown upside down, especially during times of stress, because that’s just how amazing my YJA fam is! From planning the (best) South retreat to donating over 1,000 goods during the annual YJA interregional drive, being a Local Representative has been more than just creating awesome relationships, but also providing me the ability to reach out and give back to my community. What’s better than that? Further, as a student represented in a minority state (Oklahoma), I felt that furthering my YJA leadership would allow me to expand YJA’s networking into underpopulated rural areas!

YJA has been a place of finding myself and learning about the world through faith. It has given me a platform to not only connect with other Jains, but it has given me a place to feel comfortable and ask questions without feeling out of place. Growing up and having gone to Pathshala planted the seeds of understanding Jainism, however, it was YJA that taught me the importance of the philosophies we follow and how to practice them daily. I have been a Local Representative for 3 years, and my decision to participate stemmed from the lessons I learned at my first YJA Convention in 2016 about giving back to the community. My favorite YJA memory is from the 2018 YJA Convention when we all stayed back after the Garba and 23 took over the stage for some late-night karaoke!

The Jain Society of Greater Detroit was founded in 1975 to provide a forum for Jains to observe and perform various activities related to Jainism, to preserve Jain culture for future generations, and to promote fellowship among all Jains. Starting with 50 families in 1975, the total membership has grown tremendously. With Pathshala on every other Sunday along with Hindi and Yoga classes, the temple is full of learning and experiences. JSGD is a very close-knit community that continuously strives to improve and build towards the future. Empowering the youth with every new step, JSGD has built an inspirational platform to follow Jain values and principles.

Milestones: 1975: Formation of Jain Society by the founder members. First Snatra puja was performed. 1976: Mahavir Jayanti was celebrated for the first time. Paryushana Purva was celebrated for the first time. Mahavir Nirvan Din was celebrated for the first time. 1981: First Executive Committee elected by the general body. Jain Society Constitution passed and adopted for the first time. Incorporated as a non-profit organization. 1983: The first study class for children was organized in April. 1989: Bought the property at 29250 West Twelve Mile Road for the temple project 1991: Bhumi Pujan. First fundraising dinner organized by the Society. 1992: Shila Ropan ceremony for the temple was performed. 1993: Constitution committee recommended two separate governing bodies. Board of Trustees and Executive Board. Formation of Jain Organization of Youth (JOY). Purchased property adjacent to the temple site. Temple was opened in the new house. 1995: The first phase of the temple project was approved for 2.5 million dollars. 1997: Over 160 families performed the Brick-Laying Ceremony. 1998: Completed a 10 Days of Pratishtha Mahotsav ceremony of the newly constructed temple with Dwar opening ceremony completed on July 6. 2002: Pratishtha Mahotsav for 24 tirthankar in bhomati area was celebrated. 4 Mungal murties were installed on main Shikhar. Uvasaggharam Pujan, Guru Gautamswami Pujan, Navkar aradhana, Saraswati aradhana and Shalibhadra Drama was performed. 2005: 30th anniversary of JSGD was celebrated. Seventh temple anniversary. 2007: Ninth temple anniversary. 25th Anniversary celebration of Swapna Darshan ceremony.

24 celebration of Tenth Temple Anniversary. 25th 2008: 10-day Anniversary of the study class was celebrated.

Sangh Spotlight

Jain Society of Greater Detroit

Behind the Scenes of YJA 2020!

By: Ayush Bhansali, Twinkle Shah, Parthavi Matalia, Rupal Sanghavi

It was the second weekend of March 2019 and that meant one thing: YJA South Retreat was here! This year’s retreat was incredible, with a record number of attendees (60+!), treehouse cabins, canoeing, and a meditation pavilion all in one! As we sat there on night one, eating the Jain, vegan pizzas that we had just made from scratch, someone brought up the 2020 YJA convention. “Where is it going to be this year?” they asked, unaware that YJA had just released the Bid Packet a month prior to the retreat. Simmi Nandu (now the 2020 YJA Convention Committee Co-Chair), former South RC and Director of Events, planted a seed in our minds: what if we hosted a Convention in Dallas… At first, we all had our doubts about the project. On its face, the bid packet is lengthy and intense. There are a ton of moving parts, and the fundraising aspect was entirely foreign to us. We had very little YJA experience, the convention hadn’t been in the South in 20 years, and we were a month behind on the application already. “No way,” I remember responding to Simmi. “There’s no chance we can get this done.”

However, instead of letting those mistakes get the better of us, we now understand how important it is to learn from them and simply move on. After a few intensive weeks of late work nights in Twinkle’s dorm, multiple hotel site tours, hundreds of lengthy phone calls, and unprecedented YJA South bonding, we came out with a well-developed bid packet for Dallas. This included the cost and space estimates for 5 potential venues, around $70,000 in donor pledges, and hundreds of excited adult volunteers from the South Region. The most thrilling part came in June 2019 when YJA was due to release the YJA 2020 convention location. After putting in a truly incredible amount of effort, it would have been devastating to find out that the convention wouldn’t be coming back to the south. Although after a nail-biting few months, we were absolutely thrilled to find out Dallas was chosen as the host city. We could not have put together a solid product without the support of several other Dallas LRs, JSNT, JSGA, and JSH. We want to give a special shoutout to Jatin Uncle Shah and Sonia Ghelani for being outstanding mentors and guiding us through the process. It was an enormous project for us, and although we started a little late, we were able to put together a successful packet. We are so excited to bring the convention back to the South after 20 years and can’t wait to make memories with all of YJA together!

But a few weeks later, Rupal Sanghavi, (now South RC) suggested that we give the bid packet effort a formal consideration. She approached a few of her fellow LRs, including Twinkle Shah, Parthavi Matalia, and myself, asking if we’d be willing to put together a bid packet for Dallas; and we were off to the races! It didn’t take long for us to make mistakes since none of us were familiar with the traditions and protocols for undertaking such a large project.



#YJA2020 c o n v e n t i o n 26

c o m m i t t e e


parshva vakharia - vatsal gandhi - avish jain - simmi nandu

adult volunteer coordinator committee

paras mehta - rupal sanghavi - siddharth shah

audio visual technologies committee

aayush shah - krish kamdar - satej shah



#YJA2020 c o n v e n t i o n

c o m m i t t e e

daytime programming committee

deesha desai - harshita jain - umang lathia - vishwa shah

fundraising committee

ayush bhansali - dhara bhalani - sanjana jain - somil sanghvi

hospitality and souvenirs committee

miten shah - paakhee shah - pranay patni - twinkle shah



#YJA2020 c o n v e n t i o n 28

c o m m i t t e e

jain networking forum committee

dhvani mehta - jubin shah - ketan kapasi - kinari shah

public relations committee

jaina gandhi - riya v. shah - ruchi vora

registration and technology committee

anish visaria - romit nagda - ronak shah


#YJA2020 c o n v e n t i o n

c o m m i t t e e

security committee

adit shah - charmi shah - mahin bhavsar

site committee

dharmi shah - foram shah - mitesh bhalani

social programming committee

bansari shah - mansi shah - pratik shah




@youngjains ofamerica

@youngjains ofamerica

@youngjains ofamerica



Young Jains of America is an entity of the Federations of Jain Associations in North America, a non-profit tax-exempt organization (IRS Code Section 501 (c)(3)).