On Monday 08 May 2023 the ZTFE held ‘The Good Mind – Voices of Service & Leadership’: a dialogue for people of All Faiths and none to mark ‘The Big Help Out’ and encourage volunteering.
Good Reasoning and Service are concepts common to all that is Good and are also reflected in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 1.
These sessions may also contribute to helping the Youth to develop their voice, their resilience, do better in their University and Job Interviews while being stronger cohesive forces for the good of the Community of Communities (a concept highlighted by our late Queen HRH Elizabeth II).
We are grateful to all our speakers and to those in the audience who shared their volunteering projects.
We appreciate Lord Karan Bilimoria for joining this dialogue and encouraging its further outreach in the World.
With best wishes and warm regards,
Dr. Karishma Koka, ZTFE Managing Committee Communications Officer.
May we become the caretakers to serve those who need and increase the strength of the Divine (Verse 34 of the Gathas of Zarathushtra and the Ahunavar)
May we resonate with all those who take good actions Verse 51.22 of the Gathas of Zarathustra.
We are grateful to all our speakers and to those in the audience who shared their volunteering projects.
Prayer: Ervad Yazad Unwalla, Ervad Yazad Cyrus Unwalla is a practising Ervad and a teacher in Religious Education, Politics and Economics.
Rev. Phil Chadder: Chaplaincy Training and Development Officer, His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service
Mehool Sanghrajka MBE, Managing Trustee of the Institute of Jainology (IOJ), entrepreneur in education technology
Nikita Shah Nikita Shah, Co-founder of Jain Student Association UK
Rozy Contractor: Zoroastrian proud of her roots,and community. She is an IT-sector business-growth professional
Mahya Sethna: student in the U.K. and currently in the 4th year of a 5 year Design Engineering MEng
Dr. Satpal Singh: Professor Emeritus, SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine, Founding Trustee of the Sikh Council for Interfaith Relations
Professor K. D. Irani’s teaching, writing, and scholarship challenged each of us to think, learn and grow at the highest levels of philosophy and belief, in order to access and apply these broad understandings in our day to day lives.
Our keynote speaker, Dr. Anne Khademian, an academic, educational leader, and member of the ZAMWI community, will share her journey to Zoroastrianism and the inspiration and guidance of Vohuman, the Good Mind, in working for greater educational equity through access, affordability, and value for all learners.
The keynote address will be followed by a panel discussion with youth members, some who grew up knowing Kaikhosrov and Piroja from a very young age.
Aysha Ghadiali is an international policy advisor for the U.S. Forest Service. She represents the United States government negotiating sustainable forest management policies at multilateral organizations and agencies of the United Nations. She is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer and a pedestrian and traffic safety advocate in Washington, DC.
Kayhan Irani is an Emmy-award winning writer, a performer, and a cultural activist. She creates storytelling spaces to build community and re-connect participants to their innate creative power. She is the granddaughter of Irani migrants to India, on her father’s side, and Parsis from Jamshedpur and Bombay on her mother’s side. She was born in Bombay and raised in New York City where she still lives with her husband and son.
Freyaz Shroff is the founder of one of India’s first Not for Profit, Youth for Youth Peer Mentorship Education Models focused at the College Level. She brings together youth from financially affluent homes and youth living below the poverty level to create first generation college graduates and exceptional levels of sustainable growth in income, redefining living conditions. She has addressed the United Nations, Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW) in 2012, and so have her students 2021 and 2022. She is also the recipient of the Jamshed Pavri Humanitarian Award.
FEZANA, as an NGO in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Department of Global Communications (DGC), will facilitate registration to the CSW Conference. The conference will be in a hybrid format (partially in-person and partially online).
The selected participants are expected to make their own financial arrangements regarding visas, tickets, accommodation, food, and transportation in the city.
Details about the vision, mission and activities of the United Nations can be accessed at www.un.org.
ZAC Celebrated the 6th Salgreh of their Atashkadeh with Blessings and Messages from 3 Vada Dasturs
The 6th 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, Chowk was done by Vira & Barjor Santoke, a Hama Anjuman maachi was offered to Atashpadshah 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 Zerkxis and Zarir Bhandara which was attended by about 75 Zoroastrians. After the Jashans, ZAC president Mrs. Rooky Fitter (in the morning) and Daisy Pithawalla, the Youth Coordinator of ZAC (in the evening) read the following message from the high priest of Iranshah Vada Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor:
“Dear Humdinds, Greetings from the land of Iranshah!
I would like to express my heartiest congratulations and best wishes to my dear friend and a sincere Mobed, Er. Zarir Bhandara on this auspicious occasion, the 6th Salgareh of the Darbe Meher in California.
In many of my talks, I have expressed the need and importance of a religiously pious and scripturally knowledgeable Mobed who is willing to share his learning and insight with the community. This is the one way, our religious traditions will be protected and our religion; preserved.
This is what Zarir has believed in and has made every effort in the direction
of Preservation. He continues to take the trouble to play a contributory role in organising and being a part of as many religious gatherings as he possibly can, in his part of the world.
What strikes me as very impressive is that he has not only encouraged and motivated his son Zerkxis but has mentored him to follow his passion.
I am grateful to you Zarir, though so far away from your roots, you have in the past 50 years helped lay a strong foundation of religious wealth for the Zoroastrians in the U.S. Your sincere efforts towards maintaining the glory and sanctity of the sacred Atash Dadgah have not gone unnoticed nor have they gone in vain.
The community has derived its strength to survive and persevere with the blessings of the burning Holy Fire.
I pray that Dadar Ahuramazda and Iranshah Let your efforts bear fruit within our Community and May you receive their blessings in abundance.
May the Light of the Sacred Fire strengthen the Faith, bring Harmony, and Guide our community towards preserving our traditions and ethnicity eventually leading us towards enlightenment.”
ZAC Secretary Mrs. Vira Santoke (in the morning) and ZAC Treasurer Mr. Phiroze Gundevia (in the evening) read the following message from high priest Dasturji Dr. Firoze M. Kotwal:
“Dear Ervad Saheb Khushro Unwalla,
Many thanks for your message about felicitating Ervad Saheb Zarrir Bhandara on the auspicious day of the 6th Salgreh of your Atash Padshah Saheb. I am pleased that the Association of California has deemed it fit to felicitate a worthy priest who is involved in the service of the whole Parsi community. Kindly find attached my message for Zarrir to be read on the auspicious occasion.
With all the good wishes and blessings of Ahura Mazda,
Yours in His service,
Dasturji Firoze M. Kotwal
Felicitations on the 6th Anniversary (Salgreh) of the Atash Padshah installed by the Zoroastrian Association of California (ZAC)
On this auspicious day of the Salgreh of the Atash Padshah, Rūz Māhraspand, Māh Khordād 1392 AY, it is our sincere prayer that our Holy Fire may continue to shower his choicest blessings on the faithful devotees of California. It is our wish that the Holy Fire which is spiritually linked with the Divine Fire of Ahura Mazda, may continue to bestow its spiritual blessings on the Parsi Community until the time of the Resurrection. And may the Holy Fire also bestow his divine blessings on the Parsi Community and lead them always on the path of Truth and Righteousness.
It is very gratifying that the Zoroastrian Association of California (ZAC) is fortunate to have a good and sincere priest such as Ervad Saheb Zarrir Bhandara who has been helping the members of the community in all spheres of life to lead them onto the path of virtue.
It is my sincere hope that Ervad Saheb Zarrir Bhandara and his son Zerkxis will continue to serve the faithful and devout members of the Good Religion in matters of the religion and in their everyday life and serve as the true shepherds of their flock. May this father and son team live a long and healthy life and may the divine blessings of Ahura Mazda be bestowed upon them and the devout members of the Parsi Irani Zarthushti community of California.”
After which ZAC’s immediate past president Mobedyar Houtoxi Contractor read the following message from High priest Vada Dasturji Cyrus Noshirwan Dastur:
Dear Ervad Dr. Unwalla,
Here is my message to be read out on the auspicious occasion of ZAC Atash Padshah’s 6th salgreh:
I wish and pray to Dadar Ahura Mazda that the divine fire that was enthroned in California six years ago, may eternally keep burning and keep blessing the Zarthosty devotees with an abundance of happiness, success, progress, and prosperity. I also congratulate Ervad Zarrir F. Bhandara, my guru, on his 50 years of dedicated, selfless, and honorary service to our Zarthosti community in the US, North America, and globally. Zarrir you have been guiding our community with your expansive knowledge about our religion and I commend you for the same, may Ahura Mazda’s blessings be showered upon you forever.”
After which a note of thanks was delivered by Ervad Bhandara, thanking the ZAC executive committee and Ervad Zerksis for working behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly and to Commissariat and family for preparing delicious Dhundar, Chawal, veg Patio, and Lagan nu custard and Yashmin Mehernosh Pithawalla for mouth-watering chutney sandwiches which were relished by everyone.
Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Chicago proudly hosts the
2022 Society of Scholars of Zoroastrianism (SSZ) Conference
supported by Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America (FEZANA) & World Zoroastrian Organization
Rustam Guiv Dar-e-Mehr
8615 Meadowbrook Drive, Burr Ridge, IL 60527
Friday November 18 – Saturday November 19, 2022
Online attendance is available only for the Scholar Lecture / Meeting Sessions.
All community members, students, scholars and members of interfaith communities are invited and encouraged to participate. Suggested donation is $10. This will include dinner on Friday and breakfast, lunch and refreshments on Saturday. Please RSVP (for Friday and Saturday separately) by November 10, 2022 to SSZ co-Director & Secretary Pervin Taleyarkhan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
FRIDAY – November 18, 2022
6:00 Meet and Greet
Welcome — Jamshed Rivetna (ZAC President)
7:00 Keynote Address – Prof. Dan Sheffield
SATURDAY – November 19, 2022
Conference Chair: Prof. Dan Sheffield
8:30 Registration and Breakfast
9:00 Benediction – Mobedyar Boman Damkevala
Monajat – Mani Rao
Welcome — Jamshed Rivetna (ZAC President)
Welcome, Intro to SSZ, and Annual Report – Zal Taleyarkhan (SSZ President)
Morning Session – Scholarly Symposium conducted by Prof. Dan Sheffield and Zal Taleyarkhan
Session Chairs: Afshan Barshan & Sheroy Gonda
9:30 Opening Address: – Prof. Dan Sheffield introduced by Zal Taleyarkhan
10:00 Dr. Kerman Daruwalla – The History of Zoroastrian Priests in India
10:45 Dr. Benedikt Peschl – Zoroastrian Middle Persian Literature and its Relation to the Avesta: current research perspectives.
11:30 Prof. Dan Sheffield – The Pahlavi Book of Religious Decrees: a Forgotten Source for the History of Medieval Zoroastrianism.
12:15 Lunch & Reflection on Morning Session
Afternoon Session – Community-Led Scholarly Works
Session Chair: Kamal Saher
1:00 Ervad Tehemton Mirza – Nature’s Spirituality (Online IZS class)
2:15 Meheryar Rivetna – Everything You Wanted to Know About the Younger Avesta (But Were Afraid To Ask)
3:00 Coffee break
3:15 Afternoon Panel: Moderator Dr. Persis Driver, Panelists: Delna Balsara, Sarosh Irani, Teshtar Irani, Vispi Karkaria: — Contemporary Identity and the Role of Intergenerational Memory in the Zoroastrian Diaspora
4:30 Networking with hors-d’oeuvres and drinks
SUNDAY – November 20, 2022
9:00 Roundtable to discuss SSZ Future Plans
10:00 Jashan Demonstration with Audience Participation — Er. Tehemton Mirza (Dean, NAMC Institute of Zoroastrian Studies) with support from other Mobeds.
About the SSZ. The Society of Scholars of Zoroastrianism (SSZ) is an initiative to promote study and scholarship of the Religion of Zarathushtra. The mission of the Society is to revive the tradition of scholarship within our community among athornans and behdins alike, and to promote interaction among academicians, theologians (priests), educationists, lay scholars and practitioners of Zoroastrianism, through roundtable discussions, conferences and publications.
History of SSZ Conferences. SSZ Conferences have been held since 2006, when noted scholars and students present their research papers. To encourage Zoroastrian studies within the community, these SSZ conferences also include sessions delivered by community members, especially the next-generation. Persons/Associations interested in the mission and vision of the Society of Scholars of Zoroastrianism, are invited to host future Conferences in their areas. The organizers enjoy complete autonomy in regard to programming and organizing the Conference.
All community members, students, scholars and members of interfaith communities are invited and encouraged to participate. Your presence gives support to the speakers, and your feedback is invaluable so that future research efforts may be directed in a constructive manner for the benefit of both the academicians as well as the community.
The ZTFE Online Symposium – Progressing Together Sustainably (Peace for Progress) was held on Armistice Day, Friday 11th November 2022 at 4pm GMT to express our gratitude to the Armed Forces for their role in maintaining Peace.
To conclude the meeting Sir Laurie Bristow KCMG, the President of Hughes Hall Cambridge and former British ambassador to Moscow and Foreign Commonwealth Office Director National Security shared his perspective.
The international Zoroastrian representatives included people from India, UK, Australia, New York, Washington DC, Las Vegas, California.
Many of them including Mr. Rusi Dalal, Mrs. Katayun Kapadia, Mr. Kersi B. Shroff, Dr. Behram Pastakia and Mr. Percy Master shared their thoughts of respect to the Armed Forces and their families.
The ZTFE was much appreciated by one and all for holding this event and bringing such eloquent and distinguished speakers to the forum, and bringing people together internationally to mark this important day.
We are grateful to Mr. Yazdi Tantra for sharing this recording on Zoroastrians.net.
View the Video Here:
The next ZTFE Online Symposium – Progressing Together Sustainably is on Armistice Day, Friday 11th November 2022 at 4pm GMT.
Please join us to give gratitude to the Armed Forces for their role in maintaining Peace to facilitate Progress and the Greater Good of All sustainably.
Speakers: ZTFE Patron Lord Karan F. Bilimoria CBE, DL and Air Chief Marshal Fali H. Major PVSM AVSM SC VM (Retd).
This concept is in line with FrashoKereti (Progress with Righteousness and Good Action) which encompasses and goes beyond the UN 17 SDGs.
With best wishes,
Malcolm M Deboo, ZTFE President
& Dr Karishma Koka, Co-opted member ZTFE Managing Committee