ZAC History
The Making of a Darbe Mehr
Chicago Zoroastrians

Charges for Private Prayer Ceremonies










The Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Chicago (ZAC) has been serving the spiritual, cultural and social needs of the Chicago Zarathushti community since its founding in 1975. The Arbab Rustom Guiv Darbe Mehr, Zoroastrian Center of Chicago, in Hinsdale is the vibrant hub of Zarthushtis in the Midwest. ZAC offers a myriad of services for the community.

  • The ZAC monthly newsletter is the official mouthpiece of the association and is sent at no charge to all Zarthushtis in the Metropolitan Chicago area, as well to all Zarthushti associations.

  • The Darbe Mehr is open to all every Sunday afternoon, when prayers are offered by a Mobed

  • Monthly meetings are held on the second Sunday of each month with the humbandagi, Atash Nyaesh, and Tandarosti prayers, a traditional Parsi/Irani lunch by host families and a program. In addition to discussion of religious subjects, topics have varied from financial planning, drug/alcohol awareness, home safety and college preparations to healthcare and Western line-dancing.

  • Observance of religious holidays and festivals, such as gahambars and jashans. On Avan Ardvisoor nu Parab, members gather at the Darbe Mehr to make several hundred dar-ni-poris. Full Muktah praters are offered for the five Gatha days.

  • Large numbers of private functions, navjotes, weddings, birthday parties and other celebrations are held.

  • Children and Youth Sleepovers are held regularly, to foster friendship among Zarthushti youth.

  • Religion Education Classes are held regularly for children, youth and adults.
  • Religion Education camps are organized at the Darbe Mehr.

  • Financial support is provided to local young adult priests to undergo the Navar ordainment ceremony.

  • ZAC sponsors one young priest at the Dadar Athornan Madressa in Mumbai by paying the Madressa fees for his boarding and lodging. ZAC encourages others to also support this very worthwhile cause.

  • Every few years, ZAC also sponsors and supports an ordained priest to settle in Chicago, thereby promoting the number of mobeds serving the community, while at the same time providing the mobed an opportunity to immigrate to the USA.

  • Financial assistance is provided to all youth who attend Youth congresses. The amount of assistance is dependant on the youths participation at ZAC.

  • Financial loan scholarships are provided to needy Zarthushtis.

  • Debt Elimination and Financial Independence education is provided when needed.

  • The Library and Learning Center is well stocked with books, tapes, videos, in English, Persian, and Gujarati, with subscriptions to Zarthushti journals and newspapers.

  • The Weekend Tutoring program by the youth for the youth is popular. The Darbe Mehr stays open on Sundays for youth to congregate to do homework and get guidance and tutoring from other older youth - truly making it an extended Learning Center.

  • ZAC has periodically invited scholars and priests (Dasturji Kotwal, Ervad Ramiyar Karanjia, Dasturji Minocherhomji, Khojeste Mistree, etc) for an extended stay with member families to conduct a series of religion education talks.

  • ZAC members have been generous in responding with financial assistance to those in need due to medical calamities, locally as well as internationally.

  • There is a "Welcome Wagon" service for those who are new to the Chicago area.

  • A "calling tree" has been established to disseminate urgent information (such as deaths, funerals) to all members.

  •  In case of death, complete four-days of traditional prayer ceremonies are offered by our mobeds.

  • Navjote preparation training is offered and navjote ceremonies are performed by our mobeds.

  • Wedding and baby showers are held for old and new families. Wedding ceremonies are performed by our mobeds.

  • Senior citizen outings and all-day get-togethers at the home of host families, are organized each month to enable the seniors to socialize and enjoy each others companionship.

  • The Zarthushti Choir is available to sing Gujarati and Persian songs (such as Chhaiye Hame Zarathushti, Kon Ashem Vohu, festive navjote and wedding songs) for various occasions.

  • A Speakers Forum has been established, which is a pool of knowledgeable persons available to represent our religion to Interfaith and other groups.

  • ZAC members are actively involved with local and national interfaith bodies, such as the Parliment of World Religions and United Religions, and take an active part in interfaith dialog and services.

  • The Darbe Mehr is host, quite often, to visiting groups of school/college students, interfaith, and other groups. A series of posters on the religion aids in making the presentation for such visits.

  • Ministerial services. ZAC pays a priest to visit and serve the needy and sick elders of the community at their residences, hospital or nursing home. He prays with them, assists them in transportation and routine chores such as purchasing groceries, banking, collecting mail, taking home cooked meals, and acts as a liaison between them and the community. This program is supported by a $30 per month (a dollar a day) donation to the ZAC Mobed Employment Fund from patrons an well wishers. Other ministerial services are in the planning stage.

  • The Darbe Mehr building and facilities are bursting at the seams. ZAC is currently undergoing a phased building expansion program. Funds are collected from donations and fund-raising events. All planning, architectural and general contracting services are provided gratis by ZAC members.

  • ZAC is very committed to keeping Parsi and Irani members together, and celebrate both Iranian festivals and ceremonies.

All the above activities and programs are possible because of the dedication and commitment of the men, women and children of the ZAC, for which we are eternally grateful to Ahura Mazda.