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Jai Jinendra From The eJain Digest Editorial Team

e-Jain Digest I e-Jain Digest October 2009 

Jai Jinendra,

Yes, this is your first issue of eJain Digest. We thank the JAINA Executive Committee for appointing us to explore this new and exciting, and possibly even efficient means of communication among the Jain community. We are working closely with the new JAINA web team, and in many respects the two teams share a common mission and overall goals. With this green and eco-friendly method we are not only expanding our communication reach among the North American Jain community members, but also to the Jain followers across the globe.

Working with the JAINA President Lata Champsee our team has narrowed down the basic vision of the eJAIN DIGEST. Central to this vision is the facilitation and improvement of a three way communication: JAINA-to-community, community-to-JAINA, and community-to-community. We specially appreciate the freedom given to us by the JAINA EC in publishing this magazine and experimenting with this format. The JAINA EC wants eJain Digest to become the vehicle of community communication, and in the process we will endeavor to publish all views of the community members, including those that may contradict the views of the Editorial Team, or the JAINA EC. Healthy and open discussion will breed new ideas and views. The points below succinctly describe this vision. However, such a goal and vision would not be complete without your feedback, which we actively seek.

eJain Digest Vision:

  • Promote JAINA to increase the community’s sense of its "ownership”, "involvement” and ‘buy-in”.
  • Provide timely and relevant communication that informs, educates and engages the members via eJain Digest
  • Offer a forum for open communication to suggest, discuss and exchange viewpoints via various topical blogs
  • Reach out and engage all groups of members (adults, youths and children) in their practice and promotion of core Jain values of Ahimsa, Aparigrah, and Anekantvad. More specifically, encourage discussions and engagements that highlight the relevancy of Jain values in modern times and changing social norms.
  • Work closely with the JAINA website committee to create secure, social forums supporting some of the critical needs of North American Jain society.

Over the past 60 years, the Jain community in Northern America has evolved significantly. The first 40-45 years went in building the core community, with the primary goal of preserving and passing on the Jain heritage to next generation, the heritage that many of the community members brought with them from their roots in India. In the last 15 or so years though, we have witnessed a fundamental shift. The Jains of North America have established themselves as a vibrant growing community. The testament of some of the exquisite, multi-sect Jain temples across North America, the large and diverse attendance at JAINA conferences, the range of well attended activities at different Jain Centers, the discourses and programs by religious dignitaries of all Jain sects, the participation of children in pathshalas, and all the involvement of youth in both religious, cultural and outreach activities is a proof of this immense community achievement. Recognition of Jainism amongst various other religious, educational and cultural groups via interfaith activities, participation and discussion of the core principles at educational institutions etc. to reach out the wider community has also started taking place. Hats-off to all the community leaders, generous donors, and above all to the hard working and dedicated volunteers who made these great accomplishments possible.

The Jain community in Northern America is now poised for another major change. It is poised to make a larger impact on the society. After President Obama’s speech to students at Wakefield High School in Arlington VA, a student named Lily asked him, "And if you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be”. Obama replied, "I think that it might be Gandhi, who is a real hero of mine.” Obama has probably not studied Shrimad’s (who was Gandhi’s Guru) or Mahavir’s philosophy (who was Shrimad’s Guru); yet. Or maybe we are wrong, Obama in his video message to all who celebrate Diwali made a specific mention of Jainism and we quote "In Jainism the occasion (Diwali) celebrates the attainment of Nirvana by Lord Mahavir, one of the long line of spiritual leaders known for achieving enlightenment by freeing themselves of base human impulses and emotions”. The point here is that we Jains now have the wherewithal to make significant contributions to the larger community. This would however require a great deal of involvement from our youth.

So, dear young Jinendars! We need your help in this endeavor of eJain Digest. We are soliciting additional team members interested in contributing to eJain Digest. We need volunteers with good writing skills, journalist, graphic/artwork designers, or those with project management skills. Please contact us at jaindigest.info@gmail.com. We also request Jain community leaders across North America to encourage / nominate such individuals who can become a part of our team.

Finally, in this issue of the eJain Digest we have tried to cover a specific topic in a somewhat comprehensive manner. For example in the write-up of the 2009 JAINA convention we have tried to present a synopsis of the actual experiences, rather than covering it as a simple news item. The write-up on Dr. Jagdish Sheth was to inspire our youth to take up groundbreaking academic research or a career that has a positive impact on the society. We have introduced the family corner to get children and other family members involved. However, what we really need is your feedback. What do you want us to cover in the future issues of eJain Digest? Treat this not just as JAINA magazine but YOUR magazine. Email us with your views on what you would like to see on these pages, blog and comment on the articles in this issue on the JAINA website, exchange ideas with other Jains on these blogs. We welcome, and look forward to your participation.

It is a privilege for us to have this opportunity to wish you all Sal Mubarak

With Warm Regards

eJain Digest Editorial Team


Highlights in This Issue

JAINA 2009 Convention: Did you miss participating in this Convention held in Los Angeles? You can read the highlights of the Convention, see the pictures of various activities, read the words of wisdom from dignitaries, visiting scholars.

Maintaing Relevance & Essence of a Message: Mahavir’s message has traveled through centuries as the civilization evolved, and as methods of communicating this message changed, all the while maintaining its core essence. In this interesting essay, you can travel through this journey.

Get Inspired: Read this inspirational story of Dr. Jagdish Sheth, and the role his religion has played in his personal and professional life. You can also read about Dr. Dipak Jain, Dean of Kellogg Institute of Management; and Dr. Gary Francione from Rutgers University School of Law about their message on Jain Way of Life.

Jain Education: Read all about how college courses by two determined Samanijis is touching their students, and the local community; as well as Pathshala activities at various Jain Centers.

Family Corner: Exercise your grey cells by solving the puzzles, find a mouth-watering Jain Recipe to try, or read an interesting story – all in all, this corner will provide you with opportunity to spend some family time together.

Shravika Nipa Dedhia’s 30 upvaas: Story about inspiring tapasvi’s maas khaman.

Jain Center News: Find out what is happening at various Jain Centers.

Read about the activities of JAINA: JAINA Goes to Washington, Palitana Rehabilitation Camp, ISSJS 2010, Shri V.R. Gandhi Memorial Stamps Release, and more……


Nipul Shah says on Nov. 21, 2009:

Great idea. Wish you the best


Rasik Vagadia says on Nov  22, 2009

 

Well done. Great job, Lot of thing to read. Jaina website is really admirable. Thanks to all the people working behind. software glitch: Jaina Digest link opened the "NOTEPAD" so it was non readable! But other link worked!


Palak Shah says on Nov 22, 2009:


Very nice!


Daman Prakash Rathod says on Nov 28, 2009


Dear All, Jai Jinendra.
Congratulations. You all at the helm of JAINA have been rendering exemplary services to enable Jains remaining connected.
Probably we in India at home need to take a leaf out of your rich experience and expertise.
Kindly keep up good work. Also let me know if I contribute in any essay/news from my part of India that is Southern region, I am based at Chennai.


Dhanesh Shah says on Dec 7, 2009


Dear Editorial Team:
Jai Jinendra.
 
I have been a regular reader of Jain Digest magazine. It’s been an excellent source of information for Jains like us here in USA.
 
Feedback about Electronic Edition:
I can understand rationale behind electronic edition and many advantages it offers but I believe paper edition is necessary. Here are my thoughts:

  • Jain Digest is published only few times a year , thus it is not prone to waste compared to other publications or daily news papers
  • It provides vital information that connects Jains around USA. It is the ONLY national info source – we can’t afford to not reach many people who may or may not "remember” to check website for an "infrequent” publication like this
  • Objective of encouraging online participation due to "e” edition is well intended but may not be effective: due to infrequent nature and non-newsworthy content, Jain Digest cannot draw people to website that regularly. Only fewer people will read it
  • JAINA can offer subscription based paper edition to cover print costs. Or allow active sign up for paper edition.

I urge you to reconsider decision about not mailing paper copy. An optional "e” edition is a useful addition but not at the expense of paper edition.
 
Thank you for doing an excellent job publishing Jain Digest.



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