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  • Saturday, October 16, 2021 8:56 PM | Pedram Yazdani (Administrator)

    N A M C

    NAMC Institute of Zoroastrian Studies

    Discussion Group - Zoroastrianism outside the Box

    Sunday, October 24, 2021,  at 2 pm Eastern Time, 11 am Pacific Time

    Topic: Vendidad – A Book of Prayers and a Book of Laws

    Zoom Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82255067379?pwd=VkI2VDlJa1hyVzdKNUZoRjFsYWxzUT09

    Meeting ID: 822 5506 7379            Passcode: NAMCIZS          

    Are purity laws and instructions prescribed in Vendidad relevant today? Would our secular society tolerate the punishments prescribed in this ancient document? Should these ancient laws and instructions in an ancient language be revered as prayers or should they be studied in their historical context. Should these laws be updated to suite our current circumstances? 

    Presenter: Ervad Jal Panthaky

    Jal has combined his profession of engineering with his passion for Zoroastrian studies. Amongst other Zoroastrian scriptures, he has studied and transliterated the entire Vendidad. He has trained young Mobeds to recite and perform Yasna and Vendidad ceremonies as a part of their initiation of Navar and Martab. As a Mobed, Jal provides religious and spiritual services to Zoroastrians throughout North America.

    This event is facilitated by the NAMC Institute of Zoroastrian Studies to promote knowledge through free but respectful discussion and debate.  The views and opinions expressed during the discussions are those of the presenter and participants and do not reflect the official policy or position of the NAMC.

    For more information, please visit http://namcmobeds.org/izs-events/

  • Friday, October 01, 2021 12:09 PM | Pedram Yazdani (Administrator)
    Get involved and stay involved! Whether it’s fundraising, cleaning, planning, or even setting up chairs for an event. Don’t do it just for community service hours and letters of recommendation. Oh, and always wear your sudreh kusti, kids!” Zerkxis


    Hi Zerkxis! Welcome to our coffee chat and we’re excited to have you as our fifth guest in this series!

     

    1.   Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

    I am 26 years old California born and raised Parsi Zarathushti. Most people know I am an ordained mobed having completed my navar at age 11 and martab at age 12, ever since I have been serving the community as a priest. In my secular life I completed my BA in Religious Studies in 2018 from UC Santa Barbara and am currently working on my MA in the same from CSU Long Beach. Currently, I am also applying for doctoral programs in the same field.

     

    2.   With your strong academic background in religious studies, can you tell us a bit if Zoroastrianism is taught in the US and how in-depth does it go?  

    Both the Religious Studies programs I have been a part of have no experts in Zoroastrian Studies per se, yet all my professors are aware of Zoroastrianism’s philosophical and hegemonic contributions to other faiths. As a result of not having an expert to work with, I have had to carve out my own plan of study, playing both student and teacher to be able to focus on Zoroastrianism. However, I believe change is on the horizon since North America will now have two fully endowed chairs in Zoroastrian Studies.

     

    3.   We met each other briefly at the World Zoroastrian Youth Congress in your home state of California. The attendees had had discussions on wide-ranging topics, but in your opinion how do you think the youth can get more educated on our religion, especially with tons of different thoughts and practices being followed globally?

    I think we have more resources and means to learn about our religion than ever before in history. The internet is an amazing place! As a student of religion, I see so much information available about different religious doctrines, their sects, and various opinions on platforms such as YouTube. I think Zoroastrians can really use platforms as such to make learning content available to all. For example, the Iranian Zoroastrian community has a huge presence on Instagram, which has not only created a knowledge- pool but a knowledge-network of curious individuals. We can also do fun things like “Things that just make sense in my Zoroastrian house” for Tik-Tok or I have often thought of making shorts of pagri tying as a priest and titling it “The Mobed Life”. All in all, we as youth can do more to learn and teach about our religion than we think possible!

     

    4.   What kinds of gatherings, functions, and events do you have for the Zoroastrian community in Southern California? 

    We have movie nights, game nights, ladies club, weekly humbandagis, BBQs, but more than anything we have rituals. Every month we have at least two Jashans including the parabh and one more usually. We also have muktads for ten days, which include the daily rituals such as 5 bois, 4 satums, one Jashan, and 2 baaj ceremonies every single day. Additionally, we frequently have machis and other private prayer ceremonies.

     

    5.   You know how we have widely believed myths/superstitions about our faith and customs, can you name a few and what the actuality is?

    This question is quite relevant to my current research. Personally, I try to see the sense and purpose of our rituals, traditions and customs as passed down by our ancestors through the oral tradition. In our religion every practice finds deeper meaning through spiritual, hygienic, or ontological reasoning. Regarding our ancestral practices as myths, superstition, or old wives’ tale is an effect of Colonialism, where Enlightenment thought has made it normal to question our indigenous beliefs in support of the hegemony of the colonizer. Our notion of logic and common sense finds its basis in Western forms of reasoning which do not always allow us to fully understand the deeper meanings behind our cultural practices. I believe we must view the knowledge of our ancestors with humility rather than hubris to regain our heritage’s integrity in a Post-Colonial reality.

     

    6.   What are some of the aspects of being a Zarathusti you are most proud of?                                               

    Just thinking about our religion’s legacy is something to be proud of. Having survived this long despite forced migration and persecution is something to reflect on. Despite it all Zoroastrians have been leaders and entrepreneurs in education, business, medicine, the arts, and so much more. I think for me personally as a priest, the fact that we have preserved so many of the liturgies practiced in Sasanian times in their pristine form is an accomplishment of my forefathers for which we are forever indebted.

     

    7.   Lastly, what message do you have for our young members reading this and in what ways can they make an impact?                                      

    Get involved and stay involved! Whether it’s fundraising, cleaning, planning, or even setting up chairs for an event. Don’t do it just for community service hours and letters of recommendation. Make your community center your second home and the organization an extension of yourself. Come to Jashans and rituals, these are not just meant for seniors! Help the Mobeds set up and help cut chaasni after. Even if you don’t understand the liturgies and Avestan come experience and immerse yourself in the religion. Oh, and always wear your sudreh kusti, kids!

     

    Thank you Zerkxis! we wish you the best for your further studies and community service!

  • Sunday, September 26, 2021 11:35 PM | ZSO Vice President (Administrator)

    Earlier this month, we communicated that in line with all the federal and provincial guidelines for places of worship the Mehraban Guiv Darb e Meher (MGDM) is open with revised hours and specific conditions for drop in visits once a week ONLY on Saturdays from 9am – Noon. These conditions will continue ensuring all public health measures are in place including capacity limits, face coverings, physical distancing and environmental cleaning and disinfecting.   

    Our approach to re-opening the MGDM continues to be "slow and steady" and "data driven, not date driven". Number of determining factors are:

    • Vaccination rates, mandates and requirements
    • Case counts
    • Impact of variants
    • Government Protocols

    We are happy to announce that we will be resuming some of our social gatherings to our members this fall. We have been doing a lot of work behind the scenes i.e. consulting various medical advisors and community peers to determine the best path forward for faith and religious social gatherings.

    All visits to the MGDM will be by appointment only and MUST be booked in advance, a minimum 24 hours prior to the day of the visit, by completing the online booking request form or by contacting Hoofrish Patel (email EVP@zso.org  or 647-313–9805) and receiving her confirmation.  Please note if you do not have an appointment/confirmation, your will be denied entry.


    COVID-19 Protocols:

    When planning a visit to the MGDM please be sure to follow the mandatory requirements and guidelinesfor drop in visits and social gatherings:

    Drop In visits

    Social Gatherings

    Submit the online booking request  form or contact Hoofrish Patel (email EVP@zso.org  or 647-313–9805)

    Social gatherings are restricted and limited to our members only. 

    Attendees will be accommodated on a first come first serve basis based on the MGDM capacity requirements as outlined by public health and government guidelines.

    • Complete the COVID-19 screener on the day of visit and show it to the volunteer who will be on-site
    • Wearing a non-medical mask/face covering is mandatory
    • For COVID-19 contact tracing purposes, you will be required to provide your name and contact details which will only be kept on file for 30 days.” 
    • Bring your own prayer book, head covering, sandalwood or other prayer related items
    • Maintain a social distance of two meters/six feet
    • Follow entry and exit signs
    • Avoid opportunities for the virus to spread through touch, either directly or indirectly through surfaces and objects, including objects that may be used in rituals or ceremonies

     

    Vaccination Policy:

    We want to take this opportunity and remind everyone that vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect you and those around you from serious illnesses like COVID-19.  Aligning with the Government’s announcement as of September 22, 2021, you will need to provide proof of vaccination to access MGDM as required, helping further protect our community from COVID-19 and the Delta variant.

    • All individuals visiting the MGDM will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to participate in an event or a drop in visit.
    • Individuals must NOT come to the MGDM (drop in visit or event) if they are sick (any illness – not just limited to COVID-19)
    • Those who remain unvaccinated will NOT be able to participate in In-Person activities.


    Suspended Services:

    • Consumption of food and drink remains restricted
    • Food and drink sharing is prohibited
    • No self-serve buffet-style meals
    • MGDM kitchen remains closed for cooking and reheating meals
    • Indoor singing, use of instruments and choir service
    • Sharing and distribution of materials and objects such as books, scarves, caps, water, etc.

    Since the beginning of the pandemic, your health and safety has been our top priority. Thank you to each of you who has done your part in helping to support a healthy and safe environment for all.

     

    The Board of Directors

    Zoroastrian Society of Ontario


    Disclaimers and resources: 

    • “All visits to the MGDM are voluntary and at the visitor’s own discretion. Visitors must comply with applicable guidelines including limits on numbers, wearing of masks and physical distancing. All visitors are responsible for their own health & safety as well as respecting the health & safety of those around them.” 
    • Click here for more details on reopening of Faith Based Organizations in the City of Toronto
    • Click here for more details on proof of vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act
  • Thursday, September 23, 2021 4:17 PM | Pedram Yazdani (Administrator)

    N A M C

    NAMC Institute of Zoroastrian Studies

    Lecture Series

    Sunday, October 10, 2021,  at 2 pm Eastern Time, 11 am Pacific Time

    Topic: Shahnameh شاهنامه (The Book of Kings)                 

    Zoom link:  

    https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82432181448?pwd=Mjh5dDJHOFJ2SmNBMXJqeXZqdnRTQT09

    Meeting ID: 824 3218 1448

    Passcode: NAMCIZS

    Explore “Shahnameh”, a poetic masterpiece by Persian poet Ferdowsi that traces the historical link from pre-Zoroastrian Iran through Zoroastrian dynasties to the last Sassanian Emperor, Yazdgard III.  Enjoy the recital of its couplets, understand their meanings and marvel at its language, style, and vigor of narration. Seize this unique opportunity to appreciate its influence in preserving the Persian language and identity.

    Presenter: Ervad (Dr.) Parvez Bajan

    Ervad Parvez Bajan is the Panthaky (Head Mobed) of Seth B.M. Mevawala Dar-e-Meher in Mumbai, India.  He has delivered Shahnameh recitals and participated in religious discourses worldwide. He holds a Ph.D. in ancient Avesta and Pahlavi languages. He is the Principal of Sir J.J. Zarthosti & Mullan Firoze Madressa and an Honorary Lecturer at St. Xavier’s College, affiliated with the University of Mumbai, India.

    For more information, please visit https://namcmobeds.org/

  • Thursday, September 23, 2021 4:16 PM | Pedram Yazdani (Administrator)


  • Thursday, September 23, 2021 4:15 PM | Pedram Yazdani (Administrator)


  • Friday, September 17, 2021 3:06 PM | Pedram Yazdani (Administrator)

    The province continues to remain in Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen. We are happy to share that by following the reopening timelines and changes under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) for places of worship the Mehraban Guiv Darb e Meher (MGDM) will be reopening for drop in visits starting Saturday, September 25, 2021, with modified hours and some specific conditions. These conditions will continue ensuring all public health measures are followed including capacity limits, face coverings, physical distancing and environmental cleaning and disinfecting.

    It has been a long time since we visited the Mehraban Guiv Darb e Meher (MGDM) and we all want to return to normal. While we're relieved with Canadians getting vaccinated, the fluctuating case counts, and the delta variant remains a big concern reminding us that the pandemic is not over. We remain cautious and will continue to be guided by our progress as a community and country.

    Our approach to re-opening the MGDM will be "slow and steady" and "data driven, not date driven". This will be based on a number of factors:

    • Vaccination rates, mandates and requirements
    • Case counts
    • Impact of variants
    • Government Protocols

    As we cautiously and gradually plan, the re-opening The MGDM revised hours of operations starting, September 25, 21 are once a week ONLY on Saturdays from 9am – Noon. 

    All visits to the MGDM will be by appointment only and MUST be booked in advance, a minimum 24 hours prior to the day of the visit, by contacting Hoofrish Patel (email EVP@zso.org or calling (647) 313–9805) and receiving her confirmation. Please note if you do not have an appointment/confirmation, your will be denied entry.


    When planning a visit to the MGDM please be sure to follow the mandatory requirements and guidelines:

    • Wearing a non-medical mask/face covering is mandatory
    • For COVID-19 contact tracing purposes, you will be required to provide your name and contact details which will only be kept on file for 30 days.” 
    • Bring your own prayer book , head covering, Sukhar, loban or other prayer related items
    • Maintain a social distance of two meters/six feet
    • Follow entry and exit signs
    • Avoid opportunities for the virus to spread through touch, either directly or indirectly through surfaces and objects, including objects that may be used in rituals or ceremonies


    Suspended Services

    • Social gatherings, including those that occur before or after a prayer service remains suspended
    • Consumption of food and drink remains suspended
    • Indoor singing, use of instruments and choir service
    • Sharing and distribution of materials and objects such as books, scarves, caps, water, etc.

    These past few months have been hard for all communities including ZSO in terms of revenue generation, we request everyone to donate generously by visiting our website (zso.org/donate).

    Cash Donations

    Cheque Donations

    Drop off in the ZSO safety deposit box.

    • DO NOT drop off any cheques in the safety deposit box
    • Make Cheque payable to "Zoroastrian Society of Ontario"
    • Complete the donation form and attach it with your cheque
      • Provide your email address if applicable to ensure timely and accurate issuance of donation receipts.
    • Deliver the cheque and completed form together to our custodian or send it by mail

    NOTE: Cheques made payable to "ZSO" are not acceptable by the bank and rejected.

    Lastly, we want to take this opportunity and remind everyone that vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect you and those around you from serious illnesses like COVID-19.  Aligning with the Government’s announcement as of September 22, 2021, you will need to provide proof of vaccination to access MGDM as required helping further protect our community from COVID-19 and the Delta variant.

    We thank you for your patience and appreciate your cooperation as we gradually and safely reopen, keeping the safety of our custodian and the community at large as the top priority.  Stay tuned for more details to follow in the coming weeks related to reopening protocols for social and religious gatherings.

     

    Disclaimers and resources: 

    • All visits to the MGDM are voluntary and at the visitor’s own discretion. Visitors must comply with applicable guidelines including limits on numbers, wearing of masks and physical distancing. All visitors are responsible for their own health & safety as well as respecting the health & safety of those around them.”  
    • Click here for more details on reopening of Faith Based Organizations in the City of Toronto
    • Click here for more details on proof of vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act
  • Saturday, September 11, 2021 4:42 PM | Pedram Yazdani (Administrator)

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  • Tuesday, September 07, 2021 12:39 PM | Pedram Yazdani (Administrator)

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