Jainism in Greater Boston


1965    The Immigration and Nationality Act is signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, eliminating immigration quotas created by earlier legislation. Immigration from Asia and the Middle East increases dramatically, marking the beginning of one of the greatest demographic transformations in American history. Greater Boston sees a marked expansion of minority religious groups, including the Jain community.

The first wave of Jain immigrants to the city consists primarily of Gujarati-speaking immigrants from Western India. Later, political turmoil in East African states results in a second wave of migration of people of Indian ancestry and Jain belief. By the late 1960s, many Jains who came to Boston as students begin meeting at the MIT Student Center and at the Rindge Tower apartments.

1973    The Jain Center of Greater Boston (JCGB) is established to meet the needs of the growing community.

1981    The JCGB establishes the first Jain templeEach Jain temple is regarded as a replica of the assembly hall miraculously created by the gods for Mahavira upon his enlightenment. Hence, in entering a temple, a Jain has the sense of approaching the spot where a living Tirthankara sits in omniscient co..., or derasar, in the United States, located in Norwood, Massachusetts, as a place for monthly gatherings and observations of annual festivals.

2000    The Jain Sangh of New England (JSNE) is founded by a group of Svetambar Jain families in Greater Boston who decide to separate from the JCGB in order to promote “more traditional Jain practice for Svetambar Jains.”

2009    The JCGB community votes overwhelmingly in support of the purchase of a former synagogueSynagogue, shul in Yiddish, is the most widely used term for a Jewish house of worship. Meaning a “place of gathering,” it is the central institution of Jewish communal life. The structure and role of synagogues has changed through the centuries, but ... in Norwood and the JSNE purchases an office building in Burlington, Massachusetts. Both templesA temple is a house of worship, a sacred space housing the deity or central symbol of the tradition. The Temple in Jerusalem was the holy place of the Jewish people until its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE; now the term “temple” is used by th. Ref..., once constructed and consecrated, will provide a sense of permanence for some 350 Jain families in Greater Boston.