Category Archives: Federations/Associations

Announcing the FEZANA Scholarships:

Call for Applications
APPLICATION DEADLINE: JULY 15, 2022
Did you know that FEZANA gives out more than $80,000 in scholarships every year? FEZANA has scholarships for undergraduates, graduates, performing / creative arts, culinary arts, and fine arts. This year for the first time we will also be awarding Community Service Awards to recognize students who are also contributing to the Zoroastrian community. Applications for all scholarships and awards must be received by July 15, 2022.

To find more information and to apply: https://fezana.org/scholarships/
FEZANA’s Scholarship Program is funded by generous contributions from our members. If you would like to make a donation, please go here: https://fezana.org/scholarships/donate/

Meherangan Celebrated by the Zoroastrian Association of California.

Meherangan Celebrated by the Zoroastrian Association of California.

A Jashan was performed on Sunday, February 27th, Meher roj at the ZAC Atashkadeh by Zerkxis and Zarrir Bhandara, which was well attended by a strong crowd of 84 Zarthostis. This Jashan was arranged by Dolly Malva to celebrate her birthday along with other members born around this time.

After the Jashan Zarrir explained the importance of this very ancient Jashan which was among the most important and popular Jashans in ancient Iran. He explained the qualities of Meher Yazad,  one of the coworkers of Sherevar Amshashpand, whose quality is moral strength, courage, and physical strength.“The other coworkers of Sherevar Amshashpand are Khurshed Yazad, Mino Asmaan, and Mino Aneraan. All of them collectively are responsible for giving us the illumination to brighten our lives, Meher Yazad is also in charge of all the billions of stars. Hence, Meher Yazad’s light is the most luminous, and light is synonymous with wisdom and knowledge, by removing/transforming the darkness and imperfections that are within us and around us. How do we attain wisdom and be part of that infinite light? The other qualities of Meher Yazad are ‘Rast’ being just & giver of justice. In ancient times, there always was an enthroned fire in the courts of law and that is how we got the name ‘Darb-e- Meher’. In North America, some of our fire temples are known as Darb-e-Meher, which literally means abode of Meher Yazad who is also present with Rashne rast Yazad on the dawn of charum to render justice to the deceased. The other qualities are friendship ‘Mitra’ AV, ‘Maitri’ Sanskrit, & ‘Fragyod’ who is the lord of wide pastures and giver of abundance in life. So when you tread the path of righteousness, when you move towards the light, the light gives you the abundance of health, an abundance of happiness, and abundance of wealth, so I wish all of you a long life full of the abundance of all good things to enjoy with your loved ones & with the courage and moral strength from Sherevar Amshashpand to do the righteous things in life.

I can talk a lot more about Meher Yazad, but taking the current world situation into consideration, I request you to join me in a prayer to grant wisdom to the involved leaders, so that an amicable settlement/solution is reached with the least destruction of human lives. Normally, we sign a petition right? Instead of a petition, we would send a spiritual message by praying together and through the vibrations of our collective prayers to bring about a 180-degree change in the psyche of the leaders involved, so that wisdom prevails upon them to make righteous peaceful decisions. This prayer in particular is geared towards bestowing blessings of wisdom and righteousness to the leaders of our community, society, country, and world at large. It is part of all Afringan and Jashan ceremonies. The whole congregation prayed the following prayer together: ‘

‘Ahurahe Mazdao raevato khvarenanguhato afrinami xshathrayane dainghu-paiti uparai amai, uprai verethrai, uprai xshathremcha, aiti astimcha daregho xshthremxshtrahe daregho jitim ushtanahe drvatatem tanubyo, amem hutashtem hurodhem verethrakhnem ahuradhatem vanaintimcha uparatatem pouru-spaxhtim tbishyantam paiti-jaintim dushmainyunam hathranivaitim hamerethanam aurvathanãm tbishyañtãm.âfrînâmi vavanvå vanat-peshene buye vîspem aurvathem tbishyañtem vîspem akhem tbishyañtem arathwyô-mananghem arathwyô-vacanghem arathwyô-shyaothnem. vavane buye rathwya manangha rathwya vacangha rathwya shyaothna nijane buye vîspe dushmainyû vîspe daêvayasnê zaze buye vanghâuca mizhde vanghâuca sravahe urunaêca darekhe havanghe.  âfrînâmi, darekhem jva ushta jva avanghe narãm ashaonãm ãzanghe duzhvarshtâ-varezãm vahishtem ahûm ashaonãm raocanghem vîspô-hvâthrem, atha jamyât ýatha âfrînâmi”.

The translation: Ahura Mazda, rich, possessing good things. Blessings on the rulers of the land, for greater strength, greater victory, greater rule, greater sovereignty, compassion, long rule, enduring physical vitality, and health (Blessings) to Ama, well-built, fair of form, to Verethraghna, made by Ahura, and to the triumphing Uparatat, completely repelling malice, completely conquering the hostile malicious adversary with a blow. Blessings so that he may be winner of the battle, victorious over every malicious adversary, over every evil(Blessings) that he may be victorious through timely thoughts, words, and deeds; to suppress all the evil-minded, and all Daeva-worshippers, so as to attain good reward, and good renown, and long happiness of my soul. Adversary, faulty in thoughts, words, and deeds. Blessings for long life, for the desired life, for the service of Asha- sanctified people, and for the disservice of ill-done deeds – the best existence of the Asha-sanctified, the luminous, offering all blissful. Thus may it come as I wish.’

Let’s make a wish together, that within a week everything settles down, and may wisdom and peace prevail in the world.”

At this moment one of the participants, Armin said “Thank You Ervad Saheb for conducting the prayers for the religious as well as the leaders of the nations to protect our beautiful Earth made by Dadar Ahura Mazda. I know it will yield very positive results just like the prayers that you conducted brought the pandemic under control. Thank You once again” Thereafter, the congregation recited a Tandarosti prayer for all birthday girls and boys, which was followed by a Rapithwan geh & Machi bui. Finally,  everyone relished lunch of Dhandar & veg Patio prepared by Reshma Adil Rustomi, cake ordered by Dolly Malwa, and delicious Ravo & chocolates prepared by Ketty Alamshaw.

Global Zoroastrian Glossary: The FEZANA Talks #26

Global Zoroastrian Glossary

The FEZANA Talks #26

The Global Glossary was created to unify the English spelling of Zoroastrian terms used in North America. It is an important initiative launched by the FEZANA Religious Education Committee with the hope to help future authors and publications maintain regularity and consistency.

Please join Armaity Homavazir and Tashan Mistree as they discuss the work that went behind this initiative and how Zoroastrians can practically use it in their community.

Speaker Bios

Armaity Homavazir

Armaity Homavazir has been involved with the Zoroastrian community from a very young age. She has participated in, organized and spoken at many congresses over the years. In 1996 and 1998, she was creator and co-director of Camp Pardis – a successful, six-week, summer camp for Zoroastrian children in Toronto. At present, she is a Religion Class teacher in Toronto and involved with the FEZANA Religious Education Committee in their endeavour to create lesson plans for local teachers. Armaity is a Special Education teacher working with students with Dyslexia and/or other Language based challenges. She has a passion for languages and has studied Gujarati, French, and Italian. She also has a background in Linguistics and Psychology. It is through her work with students challenged in literacy, and her own growing awareness of English spelling and orthography, that inspired this project.

Tashan Mistree

Tashan Mistree was fortunate to have been taught classical Zoroastrianism from a young age and has been teaching since she was a teenager. She currently resides in Philadelphia with her husband and two children and is a member and teacher at the Zoroastrian Association of Pennsylvania and New Jersey (ZAPANJ). Tashan believes in teaching Zoroastrianism the ‘fun way’, through activities, songs, arts, crafts, and relatable content for both Parents and children. She brought her everyday experience in living Zoroastrianism as a teacher parent to this project.

Join On ZOOM

FEZANA is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: FEZANA Talk: The Zoroastrian Glossary Project
Time: Mar 12, 2022 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 983 2880 2460
Passcode: FEZANA

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View Previous FEZANA Talks

FEZANA LAUNCHES FIRST-EVER ZOROASTRIAN GLOBAL GLOSSARY PROJECT

FEZANA LAUNCHES FIRST-EVER ZOROASTRIAN GLOBAL GLOSSARY PROJECT, DELIVERING A VALUABLE RESOURCE TO THE WORLDWIDE ZOROASTRIAN COMMUNITY, ACADEMIC RESEARCHERS, RELIGIOUS EDUCATION TEACHERS AND THE BROADER PUBLIC

fezana.org/glossary

FEZANA, the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America, today announced the launch of the first-ever Zoroastrian Global Glossary, a legacy project providing global Zoroastrian communities, researchers, religious education teachers, and the broader public access to a dynamic portal that provides uniformity for spellings and definitions of Zoroastrian terms in English.

The Global Glossary project arose from the need to unify the spelling of Zoroastrian terms being used in North America. As the FEZANA Religious Education committee began compiling lesson plans for its member communities, it soon became evident that everyone had their own way of spelling terms – validating and providing a rationale for the need to offer uniformity and regularity for the future authors, teachers, and publications.

“The intention of this glossary is to leave a legacy for future generations,” said the Glossary’s project lead, Armaity Homavazir. “Given our dispersed populations, cultures and languages, we as a collective group were compelled to simplify our body of commonly used terms.”

Homavazir, a Zoroastrian religious education leader and experienced teacher in the greater Toronto area, added that the glossary will remain a working document and that all feedback is welcome and will be honoured in a periodic review by a learned panel to vet suggestions.

Jenny Rose, PhD., an adjunct professor and historian of religions in the Zoroastrian Studies program at Claremont Graduate University, who also holds a doctorate in Ancient Iranian Studies from Columbia University, generously donated her glossaries to help kickstart the project.

“The recently-published FEZANA glossary offers an invaluable resource, not only for the many Zoroastrian communities around the globe, but also for researchers in academic institutions and for the curious public,” Dr. Rose said. “Its comprehensive scope provides an outline of terms encompassing all aspects of the religion, including its cosmology and ethics; its key concepts, prayers, ritual and liturgical practices; its most important texts; significant figures and geographical locations in both the history and the mythical narrative of the religion.”

The Glossary is currently in its first iteration and FEZANA reserves room for updates, additions, corrections and deletions to be incorporated on a rolling basis. Homavazir added that all comments are welcome and can be emailed to glossary@fezana.org.

“We have in certain cases offered more than one spelling, depending on the term,” Homavazir said. “We have also included the language of origin and attempted to match the English spelling as closely as possible to its original alphabet, whether it be in Avestan, Pahlavi, modern Persian or Gujarati languages.”

FEZANA President Arzan Sam Wadia heralded the creation of the Zoroastrian Global Glossary, recognizing Homavazir for her leadership, and the initiative and hard work of her team to launch the glossary as a legacy project. Team members included: Ervad Zerkxis Bhandara, Artemis Javanshir, Dr. Ali Makki, and Tashan Mistree.

“We understand this is a significant undertaking and many scholars have included relevant glossaries in their own publications,” Wadia said. “The project also would not have been possible without contributions from Dr. Rose, as well as the FEZANA Journal for its glossary compiled by Dolly Dastoor PhD., and community leader Roshan Rivetna.”

Zoroastrians are followers of one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions founded by the prophet Zarathushtra more than 3,000 years ago in ancient Iran. Zoroastrians have long served as bridge builders in interfaith dialogue, believing in truth, righteousness, charity, beneficence, respect and care for the environment, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Zoroastrianism flourished as the imperial religion of three Persian empires, those of the Achaemenians, Parthians and Sassanians, and was the dominant religion from Turkey and eastward to China during those times. North America’s Zoroastrian community includes those who arrived from the Indian subcontinent, known as Parsis, and those who came directly from Iran seeking religious freedom.

About FEZANA

Founded in 1987, the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America (FEZANA) represents a diverse and growing Zarathushti community in the western diaspora. Guided by the blessings of Ahura Mazda and the teachings of prophet Zarathushtra, the non-profit federation serves as the coordinating body for 27 Zoroastrian associations and 14 corresponding groups in Canada and the United States. The activities of FEZANA are conducted in a spirit of mutual respect, cooperation and unity among all member associations, and with due regard for the Zarathushti principles of goodness, truth, reason, benevolence, implicit trust and charity toward all mankind. Visit www.fezana.org and follow FEZANA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @TheFEZANA.

FEZANA Media contact: Jim Engineer pr@fezana.org

The Zoroastrian Association of California Celebrates the 5th Salgreh of their Atashkadeh

The 5th Salgreh of the Zoroastrian Association of California‘s Atash Kadeh was celebrated with great religious fervor and Parsi gusto on the 12th of November. The celebration started a week ago by deep cleaning the premises. On the day of Salgreh, a  Hama Anjuman Sandalwood maachi was offered in all five gehs. Also, two Hama Anjuman Jashans were performed, one in the morning and one in the evening to facilitate the whole community by Ervads Jal Birdy, Zerkxis, and Zarir Bhandara which was attended by about 60 Zoroastrians.

After the Jashans Ervad Bhandara gave an informative talk on different grades of fires, the offering of Machi, in which he briefly gave the history of the enthronement of the fire. He stated that “3 days and nights before the opening of this Atash Kadeh, the Vendidad and Yasna Sadeh and 6 Bajs were performed- under the guidance of Dasturji Dr. Kotwal- on the fire that was burning in our home [Bhandara’s] for the last ten years and from that same fire this Padshah was enthroned”. He concluded the event by thanking the priests, the attendees, and the ZAC executive committee

The fruits for the Jashans were brought by Dolly Malva and Aban Kapadia, and a delicious vegetarian dinner was prepared by Yashmin and Mehernosh Pithawalla and the icing on the cake was the happy Birthday cake prepared by Vira and Burjor Santoke.

Yazdi Desai passes away

Ex-Chairman of BPP Mr. Yazdi Desai has passed away.
We pray that at this difficult time may Ahura Mazda give his wife Anahita Desai the strength and courage to bear this irreversible loss .
Garothman behest hojo ji.

========================================

Former Chairman of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) Yazdi Desai was ailing since quite sometime.
In a way his passing away today on 2nd November 2021 has put an end to his physical suffering.
He loved the community dearly and gave of his time, talent and money most generously.
He served the BPP first as trustee from 2008 to 2015 and from October 2015 onward as chairman.
He discharged his fiduciary duties with passion and diligence.
As trustee, I often differed with him on ideological issues but never doubted his genuine zeal to do good for the community.
He worked tirelessly and selflessly balancing his professional life with the onerous responsibility he carried as Chairman of BPP.
He worked till late in the night, burning the candle of his life at both ends.
Always well dressed with a tie and well groomed hair, he was courteous and helpful to all those who sought his help.
May his devoted and loving wife Anahita find the strength and courage to bear his loss.
Farewell Yazdi. You will be missed by many but Anahita will continue to carry your legacy of service to the community forward.
Noshir H Dadrawala

=================================

When we heard the news about the passing away of Yazdi Hosi Desai, the words of the American singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician and former columnist for Texas Monthly – Kinky Friedman, came to mind. Friedman famously said, “Find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness. Let it kill you and let it devour your remains. For all things will kill you, both slowly and quickly, but it’s much better to be killed by what you love“.

One could say Yazdi died for what he loved so dearly – the community, the religion and the BPP. His passion to do good burned the candle of his life at both ends!

He had dedicated the last two decades of his life to the community and his passion made him obsessive enough to consume him mentally, emotionally and physically. As Trustee and later as Chairman of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet, he took proactive steps to root out inefficiency and corruption from this August institution.

As Chairman of the Federation of Parsi Zoroastrian Anjumans of India (FPZAI), he was much respected and loved by various Anjumans, especially in Gujarat.

When Yazdi contested the BPP elections for the first time, he lost. But there is no dishonor in losing any race or contest. There is only dishonor in not racing or contesting out of fear of losing. Yazdi was persistent and in 2008 he was elected as trustee and in October 2015 he won for the second time and was appointed Chairman of BPP.

It’s true that Yazdi genuinely loved the Parsi Zoroastrian community. He believed in the religion of Zarathushtra even more deeply. He regarded our High Priests with reverence and often used to say that since our scholar High Priests have dedicated their lives to the study of the religion, we, as a community should follow whatever they say without questioning their religious knowledge or wisdom. He cared deeply for all mobed sahebs, especially those serving in mofussil areas.

In May 2005, along with Industrialist – Areez P. Khambatta, Renowned Scholar – Khojeste P. Mistree, Tax Expert – Homi P. Ranina, Former Vice Chancellor of Bombay University – Dr. Mehroo D. Bengalee, Chartered Accountant – Hoshang N. Wania and Social Worker – Jamshed J. Mohta, Yazdi Desai formed the ‘World Alliance of Parsi Irani Zarthoshtis’ (WAPIZ), with the aim to strengthen the voice of Parsi Zoroastrian tradition and to protect and preserve the unique Parsi Irani Zarthoshti identity.

Today WAPIZ is a household name, thanks to the effort put in by Yazdi and his beloved and devoted wife – Anahita, working with him shoulder-to-shoulder. When WAPIZ celebrated its second anniversary at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse, over 2,500 Parsis, including High Priests and priests turned up to express unity and solidarity. WAPIZ encourages home industry by organizing sale of Parsi house-hold items twice a year at Cama Baug. This event is much sought after by both Parsi consumers and entrepreneurs.

While Yazdi is known more for his involvement with the Parsis, professionally he joined Writer Corporation as an Accounts Assistant in the year 1984. His previous experience included working with AF Ferguson & Co, Chartered Accountants. At Writer Corporation, Legal, Taxation and Corporate Governance were Yazdi’s prime responsibilities though he was actively involved in virtually every area of Writer Group’s finance and administration. He was also a Trustee of Kripa Foundation devoted to the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts.

In April 2020, he suffered from a massive stroke and while he initially recovered well, his general health continued to deteriorate, culminating in his passing away on 2nd November, 2021, which happened to be Fravardin Roj of Mah Khordad, as per the Shehenshahi Zoroastrian calendar. Fravardin is dedicated to the Guardian Holy Spirit (Fravahar) and Khordad embodies the essence of Ahura Mazda’s perfection.

Yazdi was always neat and clean in his personal habits. He was impeccably well-groomed and dressed immaculately. He was a patient listener and he would spend several hours every week either at the BPP or at WAPIZ, listening to grievances of community members and offering solutions, wherever and whenever possible. He was generous to a fault and gave freely of his time, talent and wealth.

Like all Parsis, he was fond of good food and had a sweet tooth. While he was gentle and courteous to all, he would often get impatient with those trying to take advantage of his goodness. He had a short-temper but at the same time, he was also forgiving and had the courage to own up whenever wrong or misled.

The huge turnout at his funeral on 3rd November, 2021, at Doongerwadi bore testimony to his huge popularity. The staff of BPP and Writer Corporation, as also several well-wishers paid a tearful farewell to their friend and leader.

They say, the things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor leaders after they are no more. They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the Pharaohs. Only instead of being made of stone, they’re made of the memories people have of the leader. Yazdi and his good deeds will remain alive in the individual and collective memory of lives that he touched for a long time to come.

Our heart goes out to Yazdi’s wife – Anahita. To say she was his ‘better-half’ would be an understatement. Whatever Yazdi was and became, was thanks largely to Anahita, who was his true friend and ‘soulmate’ – always doting on him, supportive and encouraging in good times or difficult times! She is a strong woman with a soft heart.

Anahita loved Yazdi dearly. One could say, among Yazdi’s blessings in life was having a spouse as loyal and loving as Anahita. We know she is heart-broken and therefore it may be apt for us to conclude with a verse by Mary Hall:

If I should die, and leave you here a while,

Be not like others sore undone,

Who keep long vigils by the silent dust and weep.

For my sake, turn again to life, and smile,

Nerving thy heart, and trembling hand to do

Something to comfort weaker hearts than thine,

Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine,

And I, perchance, may therein comfort you!

Noshir H Dadrawala

Yazdi H. Desai: A Tribute

FACES of the 1400: A ZYNA Project

Hello Everyone

As we prepare to celebrate the Nowruz 1400, the Zoroastrian Youth of North America (ZYNA) a FEZANA Committee; is taking on an endeavor to create an pictorial timestamp and archive of our Zoroastrian diaspora in North America and around the world through a project called the Zoroastrian Faces of 1400. 

Through this project, we’re hoping to collect pictures of Zarathushtis and their families from around the world and combine them into a video and/or living webpage that will serve as a strong memory point for the turn of the century.

OUR ASK OF YOU


Please submit your picture(s) by Wednesday, March 10th, at the link below

Submit Your Photo

If you have any questions, reply to this email, or write us at zyna@fezana.org or reach out to Parshan Khosravi at (949)354-1497.Sincerely,

Parshan Khosravi & Farzin Avari

ZYNA Co-Chairs

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