The two day event started on 30th April with a fund raiser for construction of a new temple over a 5.35 acre facility in Beltsville MD. The plans include the construction of a new Temple (Shikharbandh Mandir), as well as a community facility that will host various events. The overall project is expected to take 3 years to complete and cost $4.5 million. Over 200 members attended the fund raiser.
A historic amount of $750,000 was raised that evening.
The celebrations continued on 1ST May as over 800 members gathered at Laurel High School MD to celebrate 2610th Birth anniversary celebration of Jain Prophet Lord Mahavir and “The Jain way of life". A unique logo and banner showcasing “Jains around the world" was especially made for this program. .
Many unique presentations such as “Beauty without cruelty" and “Navkarmantra in different foreign languages" were showcased. The event featured theatrical performances emphasizing the Jains around the world and key Jain religious themes.
Over 75 children participated in this presentation and immersed themselves in portraying global Jains from not only various parts of India- Bihar, Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra & South India et cetera but also from countries such as China, Japan, Australia, Europe (UK and Belgium) & US. The children practiced 3-4 hours every week for 3-4 months preceding the show.
A total of over 5000 hours were put in by kids, teachers and parents in perfecting these performances. In all over 15 different quality presentations were made. The ultimate ending to the show was grand finale 'Jain is king", a performance which brought all the participants together on the stage and in the auditorium. The results were absolutely spectacular as performance after performance was met with thundering applause from a packed auditorium.
During the program, several members pledged another $550,000 for the new temple making the total contribution over a two day period $1.3 Million, a historic achievement for the Washington DC Jain community. Bhupesh Mehta, President, Jain Society of Metropolitan Washington said “The pledges we received speak to the profound generosity and commitment of our members for the New Temple, especially in light of the down economy. These donations will allow us to accelerate the construction process to build an international pilgrimage site for Jain people."
The Chairman of Board of Trustees, Mr Pravin Dand expressed "Everything was well planned, well coordinated, and very well executed. The results were well evident from the superb performance by the children, their directors and the teachers. We had a very enthusiastic response from the general membership for our fund raising efforts."
Prominent dignitaries representing inter faith community, law enforcement agency and Indian Embassy attended the event. Rupen Shah, Co-Chair of Publicity committee thanked them for stopping by and supporting the Jain community. Pastor Kermit of the Seventh Day Adventist church greeted the Jain Community with “Jai Jinendra" and went on to add “As future neighbors and faith groups across the street, we want to live together in peace and harmony and we want to work together with the Jain community to make our county a better place".
Sherif High of the Prince George"s county, MD said “On behalf of the entire Prince George"s County, I want to thank all the members of the Jain community for making great contributions to Prince George"s county and worldwide for betterment of humanity".
Dr. Debapriya Dutta, Counselor (Science and Technology) Embassy of India, Washington D.C. greeted the community with “Jai Jinendra" and said “The celebration of 2610 birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir is timely because it reinforces his teaching of non violence and ahimsa, especially in today"s time when violence has become commonplace. Bhagwan Mahavir"s teaching of right faith, right knowledge and right conduct is becoming meaningful and necessary for sustainance of human kind. As you have seen today in your cultural program Jainism celebrates India"s philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - The Whole world is my neighbor and I want to thank you for that"
Over 100 volunteers rose to the occasion by providing necessary help with logistics management, technology, costumes, dances, VIP hospitality, food management and member registrations.
About JSMW: JSMW was established in 1980 to provide a forum to foster friendship and unity among all faith groups. They work to share and educate Jain heritage, Principles of non-violence, charitable and humanitarian volunteerism and services as well as academic and cultural interchanges. The JSMW volunteers in partnership with Humane Society, DC Kitchen, Interfaith Conference, J/PHRO, American Jewish Community, and NAACP has been instrumental in providing 11000 meals for homeless, support Habitat for Humanity, free health fair, Local school projects. In addition, we provided resources in support of various Disaster relief activities such as Haiti Earthquake Victims, Hurricane Katrina Victims, Cyclone Victims, and South Asian Tsunami Victims.
More details about the organisation and basics of Jainism can be known at: www.jainsocietydc.org