Young Minds Thanksgiving 2016
A YOUNG JAINS of AMERICA PUBLICATION
NATIONAL DINNERS: MORE CITIES, MORE FUN
& JAIN THANKSGIVING ACROSS THE USA
& SERVICE TO SKATING:
DECEMBER EVENTS CALENDAR
Vardhamana (Mahavira Bhagwan) requests his brotherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s blessing as he takes Diksha (renounciation of worldly life).
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT YJA THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
WELCOME/ CONTENTS NOV 2016 letters 3
4 6 7 8 10
features Prayers Thoughts on Thanksgiving Giving Tuesday LRs On Being Thankful
events National Dinners
“NON-VIOLENCE IS THE GREATEST FORCE AT THE DISPOSAL OF MANKIND. IT IS MIGHTIER THAN THE MIGHTIEST WEAPON OF DESTRUCTION DEVISED BY THE INGENUITY OF MAN” MOHANDAS KARAMCHAND GANDHI, 1869-1948 FATHER OF INDIA
Dallas National Dinner
Pittsburgh National Dinner
MESSAGE FROM YOUR CO-CHAIRS Avish Jain & Hetali Lodaya | EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jai Jinendra Readers, As Co-Chairs of an organization that works hard to leverage technology to reach Jain youth across this country, we see… well, between 13 Google Drive folders, 6 regional Facebook Groups, 4 social media feeds, 3 GroupMes, and 16 Slack channels, we see a lot. To mark this holiday, however, we want you to know how thankful we are for that privilege what we get to see is the spectrum of how Jain youth celebrate and grow in their identities. We hope the stories in this edition of Young Minds help connect you to the different ways our members bring Jainism to a quintessentially American holiday. We are also thankful for our parents and families, our mentors, and the larger Jain community in supporting us to create these spaces to connect youth. Your experiences, perspectives, and belief in our potential as the next generation of leaders helps shape the values and viewpoints that guide us each day.
Lastly, we are thankful for our Board. Every single project you see us take on is a group effort - each individual on this team is willing to step in and help, no matter what is asked of them. And it’s not just about the work - to know that we can travel to almost any major city and have a place to stay and a friend to see is an incredible testament to the strength of the relationships we build through YJA. Thanksgiving is a holiday about family - and they are most certainly ours. This year, whether you’re a student, a parent, or somewhere in between, we hope you’ll remember why you are thankful to YJA by making a donation between now and November 29th at yja.org/givingtuesday. No amount is too small, and your support us gives us the confidence to try new things and push the limits of what YJA can achieve. Happy Thanksgiving, Avish Jain and Hetali Lodaya Co-Chairs, 2016-17
EDITOR: Salil Ojha email@example.com
Young Jains of America is the youth arm of the Federation of Jain Associations in North America.
writers Salil Ojha, Washington, D.C. firstname.lastname@example.org Sapna Jain, Atlanta, GA email@example.com Dharmi Shah, Chicago, IL firstname.lastname@example.org Rachna Shah, Mid-West LR Kavit Shah, West LR Mitesh Bhalani, Southeast LR Mansi Shah, Mid-Atlantic LR Simmi Nandu, South LR Aashna Shah, Southeast LR
Ashok Domadia - President Gunvant Shah - First VP Rita Sheth - Treasurer Shobha Vora - Secretary
“All living things love their life, desire pleasure and do not like pain; they dislike any injury to themselves; everybody is desirous of life and to every being, his life is very dear.” “Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being.” - Mahavira, 24th Tirthankara.
To Arhats, the perfect souls embodied, possessed of infinite cognition, knowledge, happiness, and power; To Siddhas, the perfect souls in Nirvana, formless and bodiless, free from all karmic attachment; To Acharyas, the masters of adepts in spirituality; To Upadhyayas, the adepts, guiding the scholar-ascetics, and To all Sadhus, the ascetics devoted to the contemplation of Self, I Make obeisance humble and Place at their worshipful feet this Feeble exposition of their profound teaching. -- adapted from C.R. Jain
Michchhami Dukkadam To All
Khämemi Savve Jivä, Savve Jivä Khamantu Me Mi Mitti Me Savva bhuesu, Veram majjham na Kenai. Michchami Dukkadam खम्मामि सव्व जीवेषु सव्वे जीवा खमन्तु में, मित्ति में सव्व भू ए सू वैरम् मज्झणम् केण इ सब जीवों को मै क्षमा करता हूं, सब जीव मुझे क्षमा करे सब जीवो से मेरा मैत्री भाव रहे, किसी से वैर-भाव नही रहे
I forgive all living beings. May all souls forgive me, I am on friendly terms with all, I have no animosity toward any soul. May all my faults be dissolved.
Robbers attack Mahavira during his meditation.
MAY PEACE RULE THE UNIVERSE, MAY PEACE RULE IN KINGDOMS AND EMPIRES, MAY PEACE RULE IN STATES AND IN THE LANDS OF THE POTENTATES, MAY PEACE RULE IN THE THE HOUSE OF FRIENDS AND MAY PEACE ALSO RULE IN THE HOUSE OF MY ENEMIES - VIRCHAND GANDHI, JAIN SCHOLAR (1864-
THOUGHTS ON THANKSGIVING
The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth
by Jennie Agusta Brownscombe, 1914
Salil Ojha, Director of Publications EMAIL: email@example.com
As an Indian, I never really got the idea of Thanksgiving down. To this day, my family still doesn’t have a huge dinner or get-together for Thanksgiving. We just do a lot of that during Diwali - chances are that a similar situation plays out in your home. For the longest time, I couldn’t make much sense of this historically ironic day where families came together to say thanks over dinner and spend the evening together - but, at some point, I realized that’s OK. Almost all of us come from Indian families who have recently immigrated to this country; our culture and practices are different. It’s what makes America great. For me, Thanksgiving is a day to pause, similar to Paryushan. Thanksgiving to me isn’t so much about food as it is a day where I can stop, once more, and think of all the things in my life that I am grateful for. It’s also a way for me to check myself spiritually—it’s not too far removed from Paryushan and Diwali, and so I try to reflect on how my actions have changed and what I need to adjust in my life. We all have hard times in our lives. The universe tends towards disorder; we live in its midst, swept up in the sands of chaos as we struggle to meet deadlines, maintain our relationships, and
keep our lives organized. To struggle is to make progress: learning to stay afloat during challenges build our character. As Steve Jobs once said, “We can only connect the dots looking back, not looking forwards.” This year, I want each of you to look back. The year is closing, and time waits for no one. Take a few moments this week to look inside yourself and feel all that you have experienced this year. No matter how rough or smooth the past months have been, I hope you find peace and learn more about yourself. My favorite Harry Potter character, Albus Dumbledore, said that, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” This Thanksgiving, turn on your light. Micchami Dukkadam, Salil Ojha Director of Publications, 2016-17
Jai Jinendra everyone! My name is Sapna Jain and I am this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Director of Fundraising. YJA is larger than me and than our Board - it is about how we work together and spread the word about Jainism in our schools, communities, throughout the US and beyond. YJA creates space for Jain youth across the country to engage with their faith in the real world, to connect with other youth, and to apply Jain principles to daily life and community. As we approach Thanksgiving this year, YJA is hoping you will participate in this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Giving Tuesday campaign between now and Tuesday, November 29. Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and was started as an international day of giving as part of the kickoff for the winter holiday season. After reflecting with friends and family about what we are thankful for, Giving Tuesday provides an opportunity to act and share what we have with others with a donation. In the following pages, several Local Representatives discuss what Thanksgiving means to them as young Jains. We hope it inspires you to think about how YJA has impacted your own experiences and personal growth, and to give back to ensure that same impact for generations to come! Visit yja.org/givingtuesday to donate - we are thankful for your support. jj
Fight with yourself, why fight with external foes? He who conquers himself through himself, will obtain happiness. -- Mahavira Bhagwan
Local Representatives speak...
THANKFUL SNAPSHOTS INTO THE LIVES OF JAIN YOUTH ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
In keeping with the season and with #GivingTuesday, we asked a few of our Local Representatives (LRs) to share their Thanksgiving stories.
Rachna Shah LR: Mid-West
Mitesh Bhalani LR: Southeast
I’m most thankful for my family. My parents and my sister, despite being incredibly busy, always make time for me. They stay with me through my best and worst, and I can always count on them. They support me through thick and thin and have taught me principles and morals upon which I live my life. They support me to work harder every day, both through their words and actions. They never give up on me and always motivate me to be my best self.
I am thankful for being able to connect with many people across the country through YJA. No matter how long I’ve been in YJA, getting to know new people and making friendships is always something I look forward to through the events, retreats, and convention. I hope to continue meeting people and spreading the #yjalove for this holiday season and many more to come.
Kavit Shah LR: West This year in the month of July, I had to go through surgery and was hospitalized for a week. My cousin stayed with me in the hospital overnight and helped me with doctors’ appointments. My cousin, who is a physician, read my entire medical record and advised me throughout my hospitalization. My wonderful roommate stayed with me despite his parents advising him to leave. My wonderful colleague helped by driving me for appointments. Last but not least, I appreciate the patience of my parents, who live in India. I am really grateful to have such wonderful people around me. I think that’s the greatest asset in my life.
Aashna Shah LR: Northeast Growing up in a Jain family, attending Derasar was a part of our weekly routine. I am extremely thankful to my Sangh for consistently providing me with the spiritual guidance and education that helped shape me into the person I am now. Attending Patshala during my childhood gave me the opportunity to make life-long friendships with those who I will always be connected to through fond memories of putting on performances and plays for our Sangh’s Diwali shows, or flying around the country to attend YJA Conferences with. Without my local Sangh I would never have been exposed to the vast Jain community surrounding me or have had the opportunity to connect with other young Jains from around the country that I have been able to become friends with!
Simmi Nandu LR: South
The official flag of Jainism. The three dots in the center represent the Ratnatraya (three jewels) of Jainism: Samyak Darshana (Right Faith), Samyak Jnana (Right Knowledge), and Samyak Charitra (Right Conduct).
It’s during Thanksgiving that we’re really prompted to think about all we have to be grateful for, and are given the opportune moment to express our thanks. I really don’t know why it takes a national holiday for this to happen, but there is something special about the beginning of the holiday season. First and foremost, I’m thankful for my wonderful family and their unconditional love and support. There’s really nothing better than being able to come home from the grinding and hectic college life to my mom’s home cooked food. I don’t know where I’d be without my best friends and roommates for keeping me sane throughout the school year and creating endless memories that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. And of course, where would I be without my YJA family? I’m beyond thankful to each and every one of my ex-boardies, who gave me the best experience of my life last summer as we threw the best convention to date. That sense of accomplishment is something I hope to be able to recreate in the future, and is one of the things I’m most thankful for this holiday season. #yjalove
Mansi Shah LR: Mid-Atlantic I am thankful for the unspoken word. When so much is said with such little meaning, the most effective form of communication is sometimes silence. I think it takes a certain level of understanding to communicate without speaking, and I’m thankful for the people in my life who have shown me that this is very much possible.
HOW YOU CAN HELP YJA: “ONLY THE ONE WHO HAS TRANSCENDED FEAR CAN EXPERIENCE
MAHAVIRA, SUTRAKRTANGA 1/2/2/17
YJA has kicked off this year with events at Jain Centers across the country, along with National Dinners and Educational Webinars. Your donations help make the work of YJA possible and help us to continue to connect and engage young Jains across the United States. You can donate online at yja.org/givingtuesday, or if you would like to make a donation by check, please make the check payable to, “Federation of Jain Associations in North America” and mail it to: Young Jains of America c/o Nliesh Dagli 42 Marcel Lane Schaumburg, IL 60194
NATIONAL DINNERS Dharmi Shah, Director of Events We had a phenomenal turnout of more than 300 attendees in over 30 cities at this year’s National Dinners. As Director of Events, I am extremely excited that we were able to reach young Jains in 10 new cities this year. Those that attended dinners had a wonderful time catching up with people they met at convention, while also making new friends. A Mid-West attendee noted, “I thought the dinner was a great way for me to start getting integrated into a community of young people who share a common day-to-day life, and it gave me an outlet to ask questions to better understand the fundamentals of Jainism and how to practice it in general.” In addition to snapchatting the wave and the Mannequin Challenge, attendees were able to discuss Jain topics such as “What does Jainism mean to you?,” “Jainism in College,” “Jainism and Election 2016,” and much more! Young Jains from ages 14 to 29 were given the opportunity to have a round table discussion and contribute their opinions to the conversation with one another. Reflecting upon the discussions that occurred at the National Dinners, groups of youth across the country are hosting Navkar Jaaps to pray for the many turkeys who are killed during the Thanksgiving holiday. Furthermore, YJA is hosting an interregional community service clothing drive in the month of December. As the holiday season approaches, YJA members will be able to give back to the community and volunteer at their derasars while also spending time with family and friends. A HUGE shout out to the Regional Coordinators, Local Representatives, and attendees for making the National Dinners so memorable. Stay tuned for our upcoming events!
Atlanta National Dinner.
You asked, we answered! YJAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Director of Education Anjali Doshi and Director of Projects Chintav Shah answered questions submitted by National Dinner Attendees about everything from the time cycle to tofurkey. If you missed it, check out the recording online! MORE INFORMATION: bit.ly/dearYJA December 17th
YJA Takes the Ice - Austin
Thanksgiving Navkar Jaaps Join other Jain youth and community members in praying for the many turkeys whose lives will be lost during the Thanksgiving holiday, and reflect on non-violence, service, and what we are thankful for! November 20th Jain Society of Houston, 10:15 AM Jain Society of Austin, 10 AM November 24th Jain Society of Dallas, 7 AM Jain Society of Greater Detroit, 9 AM Jain Society of Greater Atlanta, 11 AM Jain Sangh of New England, 1 PM Jain Center of Greater Boston, 3 PM
Get pumped Austin! YJA is taking the ice at the Whole Foods Market (525 N Lamar Blvd. Austin, TX 78703)! Come join us for an ice-skating social from 5:30 - 7:30 on December 17th, 2016! Admission is only $10!
NATIONAL CLOTHING DRIVE From Dec 5-19th, get in the holiday spirit, competition-style. YJA will be hosting a national clothing drive! Each region will have drop-off points at colleges, universities and Jain society locations for new or gently used clothing - at the end of two weeks, the region with the most clothes donated wins! Who will it be? MORE INFORMATION: See your regional Facebook page in the coming weeks for a list of participating cities and dropoff locations.
YJA Goes Bowling - Houston
Hey South Region! Put on those bowling shoes! YJA is going bowling for our Winter social in Houston! Come out to Bowlmor at 925 Bunker Hill Rd Houston, TX 77024 from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM on Sunday, December 18th! Since it is Sunday and past 6:00 PM, the cost is only $3.49 per person! December 18th
Dallas YJA Takes the Ice YJA is taking the ice at the Dr. Pepper Star Center (4020 W Plano Pkwy, Plano, TX 75093)! Come join us for an ice-skating social from 5:00 - 7:00 on December 18th, 2016! Admission is only $7!
YJA National Dinners in (clockwise, from top left): Washington, D.C., Columbus, St. Louis, Austin, Houston, and Worcester.
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