News

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  • 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)

    Click on the Banner to View the Streaming Links:

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

    Click on the banner below to complete the survey.


  • Sunday, September 05, 2021 7:40 PM | Pedram Yazdani (Administrator)

    The University of Toronto and Elehé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies presents.

    -Cyrus in the 6ix-

    A Public Discussion on the Installation of a Cyrus the Great Statue in Toronto

    Convened by:
    Professor Mohamad Tavakoli Ali Ehsassi
    University of Toronto Member of Parliament

    Date: Saturday, 11 September 2021 @ 4:00 pm EDT


    Hailed as a ruler who liberated Jews from captivity in Babylonia in the Old Testament, Cyrus the Great (r. 550-529 BC) has been widely recognized as the originator of a multi-confessional, multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual polity in the ancient world. Also praised by the Greek historians Herodotus, Xenophon, and Ctesias, the 1879 discovery of the “Cyrus Cylinder”--which is considered to be the earliest expression of the concept of human rights--reinforced the scholarly view of Cyrus as an exemplary ruler of the ancient world.

    A 10-foot bronze statue of Cyrus the Great donated to the City of Toronto for installation in a suitable public space is a way to bring the legacy of Cyrus into a dynamic relationship with Canadian multiculturalism.

    Following an inspiring and supportive meeting with Mayor John Tory concerning the statue, this public discussion is intended to gauge the level of support for installing the Cyrus statue in a suitable site in Toronto.


    To register for the meeting, click on the banner below.


  • Friday, September 03, 2021 12:37 PM | Pedram Yazdani (Administrator)

    Don’t hesitate to share your ideas or vision for the change that you seek. Try it out, have a go, keep nurturing your passion and learn along the way.” – Sheherazad

    Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

    Hi my name is Sheherazad F. Kapadia. I am a Master's student in London, studying Occupational Therapy. My background is in children's mental health, and I have an interest in researching health inequalities. Today, conversations around wellbeing can often be limited to our physical health. I am passionate about broadening that dialogue, giving as much importance to our mental health, within our community and beyond. 

    ... more interestingly, my other passions include eating chocolate, beating my brother at monopoly, and going to Nando’s with my Grandma! 


    Your grandparents live with you; how do you keep them connected with the local Zoroastrian community? We have a lot of senior members who are avid readers of our monthly newsletters, how would you say we could do more to keep our senior members of the community engaged and connected during as well as post lockdowns?

    Great question! 

    For me, it is mutual. The great thing about my grandparents is their openness. We often chat about their childhoods and how the world/community was when they were growing up, and in turn, they listen to stories about the youth. This way, I learn about our culture's past, and they know about our community’s future. 

    The pandemic has been a tough time for many of us. However, I feel that the global Zoroastrian youth has really stepped up. The online zoom events have been significant in connecting our community. My Grandma, for example, has been able to participate in a Zoroastrian fitness class run by a Young Zoroastrian called Danny Master. This has allowed her to maintain her physical and mental health whilst also being a great social activity.  A whole new world has opened-up for her and it will surely be sustained past the lockdown.


    You’ve done quite a fair share of travel yourself and currently serve on the FEZANA NGO committee, can you tell us a little about your experiences? Why do you like to volunteer on these social projects? Why do you think serving on these international organisations are important for the Zoro youth?

    Yes, I love to travel. I really hope to see as much of the world as possible. I encourage more people to travel, there is never a good time and going in groups can be a great way to stay safe. 

    Volunteering is simply something I enjoy. I volunteer on social projects because they interest me, and I am passionate about making a difference. The people I meet are also a big part of why I enjoy working on social projects. I've learnt so much from my volunteering roles personally and professionally. Volunteering is very much a two-way street; it allows me to give my time to a cause I believe in, and in return I can use my skills to help others. 


    How important do you think it is to work closely and in collaboration with the international Zoroastrian organisations such as ZTFE (Europe), ZYNG (India), ZSO (Canada), FEZANA (North America), UK ZY, etc.?

    Collaboration is key. The pandemic has brought a lot of pain, and I believe now more than ever is our time to come together as a community. Virtual events have been a significant catalyst, allowing for greater cohesion amongst the Zoroastrian associations worldwide! 

    Initiatives like this are small ways to foster a global voice and in bringing our international community closer. It is also about collaborating within our associations, ensuring that we socialize across the generations and learn from one another. 

     

    How excited are you co-chairing the upcoming 8th World Zoroastrian Youth Congress to be held in London, 2023? What are you looking forward to the most?

    Very excited! It's an exciting time for the Zoroastrian Youth in the UK. I hope we can pull off an insightful congress for the international Zoroastrian Youth to enjoy. What I am looking forward to the most is bringing people together, helping youth find common ground, and building stronger foundations for the future of the Zoroastrian Community. I hope anyone who attends the congress leaves with a sense of hope for our community’s future, alongside some thoughts about how they can contribute - just one goal, one change, one difference - that would impact our community for the better would make this meaningful.


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

    I say, be yourself. Everyone has a strength, whether it is being a great listener, graphic designing or coming up with novel ideas. Your impact is whatever you believe you can bring to the table. One thing I love about the Zoroastrian community is our diverse skillset. We can all bring something different to the table, and I think it's time to harness those skills for growth. Don’t hesitate to share your ideas or vision for the change that you seek. Try it out, have a go, keep nurturing your passion and learn along the way. Good luck to our youth!


    Thanks, Sherri, for your volunteer work and inspiring the youth.

    Good luck and hope to see you all at the 8th World Zoroastrian Youth Congress!

  • Wednesday, August 25, 2021 7:31 PM | Pedram Yazdani (Administrator)

    Anyone who has missed the Ba Humata special webinar series on Khordaad Saal, can now re-watch it HERE.


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  • Monday, August 23, 2021 3:24 PM | Pedram Yazdani (Administrator)

    Please click AGM 2021 Q&A to access the answers to the questions raised at the 2021 Annual General Meeting. Please note, you must login to your ZSO account in order to the view the PDF files.

    Thank you,

    ZSO Board of Directors
  • Wednesday, August 11, 2021 10:11 AM | Pedram Yazdani (Administrator)

    ZSO invites you to join Ba Humata special webinar series on Khordaad Saal - celebrating Asho Zarathushtra's birthday on Sunday, August 22, 2021 at 11 am. Included on the panel will be one of our own ZSO members, Roya Merchant.


    Date: Sunday, August 22, 2021 at 11 am EST

    Join Zoom Meeting
    https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83408826220

    Meeting ID: 834 0882 6220
    Passcode: BAHUMATA


  • Friday, August 06, 2021 2:15 PM | ZSO Vice President (Administrator)

    Dear ZSO members,

    In recent days, many of you have reached out to the ZSO Board requesting clarifications on the protocols and guidelines for the upcoming Farvardegan (Muktad) days.

    We understand this is an auspicious time in our faith and community. However, the safety of the entire community is our first priority.  We’d like to take this opportunity and re-enforce to you all that while we acknowledge the positivity and good vibes for the Step 3 of the reopening with vaccinations, etc., the Pandemic is still NOT over. We continue to be in a state of pandemic and hence we have to still be very cautious and careful of our actions for the safety of ourselves, our loved ones and our community at large. While in Step 3 of Ontario’s Roadmap to Re-open, we must all continue to follow the public health measures, advice and restrictions.

    Here are some of the frequently asked questions:

    What is the MGDM capacity during Farvardegan days?

    We are following the guidelines as outlined on the province’s website for religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services (does not apply to receptions and social gatherings) by having the 2M distancing in place during our Farvardegan days and will be able to accommodate up to 50 people – including volunteers, Priests and care-taker – between the Dadgah and the Main Hall.

    What are the hours of the MGDM during Farvaredegan days?

    The MGDM will be open for visits by appointment and during the scheduled prayer times only with health & safety protocols to follow. The revised hours of operations from August 11th – 15th, 2021 are 6am - 9pm.

    All the following prayers will be performed and live streamed on ZSO’s YouTube channel during the Farvardegan days as per the schedule in the Newsletter:

    • Three Satoom sessions (morning, afternoon and evening),  
    • Afringan 
    • Farokshi in the morning
    • Evening Satoom and Hum Bundagi  

    Why are visits by appointment only?

    Contact tracing and capacity limits continue to be a mandatory requirement for all businesses and faith-based organizations under the provincial and health guidelines. Appointment bookings will help us maintain accurate records and ensure we are abiding by the capacity limits as well as well giving enough time between visits for cleaning and sanitization. 

    What is the policy for sandalwood offerings and Prayer books?

    For the upcoming Farvardegan days, we encourage our members to purchase sandalwood from the ZSO as another method of donation, however, if you wish to bring your own, you're more than welcome to do so.  We will also be accepting donations of the same. For those who cannot visit the MGDM and wish to make an offering, please do so from the ZSO Store by clicking here.

    We strongly recommend and encourage members to bring their own masks, prayer books and head covering as it will not be provided at the MGDM to avoid the spread of any germs, cross contamination and most importantly not being able to sanitize our holy books.

    Why are we not allowed to consume any food or Chasni?

    The Zoroastrian Society of Ontario’s Mehraban Guiv Darbe Mehr is a place of worship and we have to abide by the guidelines within this category. In order to serve food, we need adequate licenses for serving and handling food and cannot have a self-serve buffet system. If we have volunteers serving food, whether buffet or sit down they also need to have a food handling license. This requirement is now applicable to all event spaces and banquet halls as well.

    Everything we are doing as your elected Board of the ZSO is to ensure the safety of our community.

    We hope this communication has brought some clarity to everyone. We look forward to seeing you  at the MGDM during the upcoming Farvardegan days and thank you for your continued patience, support and dedication.

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