The 19th Biennial Convention of JAINA, the federation of Jain organizations of North America, is going to be remembered as “Treasure Trove” of excitement, education and entertainment, according to organizers. There will be lectures, breakout sessions, cultural, youth and young professionals’ events planned over the five-day period June 30 to July 4, at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison, N.J.
The lectures and breakout sessions will cover six tracks to highlight Jain philosophy and social services: Jainism and science, education, diaspora, quality of life, community, professionals, entrepreneurship, and ecology.
“More than 4,000 people are expected, and that is larger than previous conventions,” Gunvant Shah, convener of the convention told Desi Talk. That can be attributed to the fact that Jains live in large numbers in the Tri-state area in the northeast.
Beginning with registration on June 30, attendees will be greeted by members of JAINA Executive Committee and many of the past presidents of JAINA. In the afternoon of the first day, there will be a “Grand Blessing Ceremony” by gurus and scholars. The temple opening will take place. The evening dinner will be accompanied by a VIP and Donor Appreciation function. Everyone will change into his/her best Desi garbs for the evening of Ras/Garba by Uday Mazumdar & Rekha Trivedi, with music provided by Samir Date/Deepali Somayia orchestra from Mumbai.
Every day will be similarly filled with religious ceremonies, discussions, and performances. Details are available under “Program Highlights” in the “Program Information” section, at the website convention.jaina.org.
For example, on July 1, the day will start with a grand procession outside the convention hall that will have a Rath with Teerthankar Pratimaji, gurujis and scholars, and various sanghs displaying their banners. The day’s events include a Veerayatan presentation by Acharya Shri Chandanaji and other sadhvijis; Shree Kummar Chatterjee will perform Navkar Mantra Dhun and various stavans by Shri Anandghanji; An evening ‘welcome program’ performance by members of the Jain Center of New Jersey and Jain Center of America followed by a “Jains Got Talent” competition. The play “JIYO JI BHARKE” based on the Jivdaya theme will portray the suffering of animals in a laboratory.
“This year we have added a new event – the Matrimonial program where people are able to meet and get to know each other,” Shah said. There will also be many vendors selling everything from religious publications, clothing, jewelry, to furniture, Shah added.
This is just a taste of what will take place every single day – information sessions and fun activities like a masquerade ball for young professionals, a Kids Club, a Jain Milan, other age-appropriate programs, and competitions, as well as recognition of achievers and volunteers.
The Federation of Jain Associations in North America, JAINA is an umbrella organization that includes 65 chapters including Jain temples, sanghs, societies and centers. It is an organization “that preserves and shares Jain Dharma and the Jain Way of Life” according to its website jaina.org. It’s head office is in Milpitas, California.
Each organization that is a member of JAINA, appoints 1, 2, or 3 Directors based on their membership size. There are 110 JAINA Directors who elect the JAINA Executive Committee every two years. Also there are over 30 specialized working groups called JAINA Committees.