As an Israeli who has journeyed far and wide in search episode 24 of the Jewish podcast Adapting, while Dr. David Bryfman was having a captivating conversation with his colleague Dr. Samantha Vinokor-Meinrath (both of the Jewish Education Project in New York) as they explored the possibilities of this unusual link between emerging tech and Judaism, in the aftermath of the first professional public discussion that was held on the topic at the Jewish Futures Conference on March 2023 in New York City.identity, my search has often led me to unexpected junctions. Among them, an intriguing intersection I’ve recently encountered, that of Jewish Education and AI (artificial intelligence). I was fascinated lately listening to
I was also toying with the idea of how AI could contribute to my professional work as a Jewish educator and a Jewish professional. I was positively surprised to find out that some great minds out there have already been discussing this topic in professional and educational settings.
Recent developments in AI have brought with it immense possibilities that were once unthinkable. One such development, AI, stands tall with its transformative potential. Yet, how does this fit intoHow can it enhance our Jewish learning experiences, extend our understanding, the soulful core of our Jewish heritage?
These questions may seem daunting, but the answer lies in understanding that AI is merely a tool. It is a tool that, if used carefully,our teachings, engage our students in a more profound manner, and even unlock new, unexplored dimensions of Jewish understanding.
I’ve gathered several examples that could be explored in this emerging discussion.
For example, ChatGPT (OpenAI) can be leveraged to assist in writing a Bar Mitzvah Drasha (speech), notaway the beauty and tradition of writing one’s own speech, but to offer a structure, and to inspire. It is, in essence, having a knowledgeable friend assist you, sparking creativity, and making the process less daunting for the young student. Yet, the final words remain their own, personal and resonant.
Imagine the young assistant rabbi and his student sitting together in front of the computer drafting theThey could begin by composing a draft that all the key elements of the side by side with the personal notes and ideas that relate to the life of our Bar Mitzvah boy. So in practice, long before they use AI, they could sit together and practice traditional meaningful Jewish learning. Once the draft is ready, they could approach ChatGPT and ask it to develop a speech based on this them a vast number of ideas and thoughts that they themselves did not think of. The student and his rabbi would then explore the to them by the AI, edit it, and mold it into a finished sculpture.
Once done, they could ask ChatGPT to review it while providing it with the following orders – “Now act as a professional speech writer with 30 years of experience, working in the field of North American Jewish communities. The following text is a Bar Mitzvah speech focused on Prashat Korach.Please read the speech and provide professional feedback on it including pros and cons. Base your answers on Jewish sources
Let’suse cases. Picture a class where Moses, Abraham, or Rachel. An impossible feat, you might think. But with AI’s potential, the impossible becomes possible. Educators can set ChatGPT to emulate these Torah figures, giving students opportunity to with them. It’s not merely a lesson in Jewish history, but an immersive, interactive experience that enriches understanding and fires imagination.
Youat the following conversation with “ChatGPT Moses” sharing his experiences of walking in the desert for 40 years.
Yoni: Act now as the biblical character of Moses. I will then ask you questions and will expect you to answer as if you are the biblical Moses. As you try to answer my questions make an effort to use mostly Jewish sources and texts. How was it for you to walk in the desert for 40 years? How did you feel during that journey in the desert?
ChatGPT: The 40-year journey through the desert, as depicted in the Torah, was a transformative period for us. We moved from slavery in Egypt to becoming a nation ready to enter the Promised Land. Despite the desert’s harsh conditions, Hashem provided protection and sustenance, including the miraculous manna. As a leader, it was challenging guiding B’nei Yisrael, particularly during moments of faltering faith. Yet, the journey was also marked by gratitude and humility, witnessing divine providence and the formation of our covenant with Hashem.
(Let’s see if it has any feelings)
Yoni: Did you ever feel lonely during that journey in the desert?
ChatGPT: Yes, during our desert sojourn, there were times when I felt lonely. The responsibility of leadership can sometimes create a sense of isolation. Even amidst the multitude of Israel, I was in a unique position, tasked with conveying God’s laws and mediating between Him and the people. However, I found comfort and strength in my relationship with God. He spoke to me as a friend, as mentioned in Exodus 33:11. My brother Aaron, my sister Miriam, and Joshua were also sources of support, though the weight of leadership often felt solitary. Despite this, I remained committed to guiding my people, trusting in God’s plan.
And what abouta conversation with Theodor Herzl?
Yoni: Act now as the Zionist leader Theodor Herzl. I would like now to ask a question about Zionism and I expect you to answer it if you are Theodor Herzl. As you began to push forward your Zionist dream, did you feel and believe that this dream was truly achievable?
ChatGPT: When I started promoting the Zionist dream of a Jewish homeland, it indeed seemed like a daunting task. But I firmly believed in its necessity and achievability. Faced with rampant antisemitism, evidenced by events like the Dreyfus Affair, I knew a safe haven for Jews was crucial. My conviction, embodied in the phrase “If you will it, it is no dream,” fueled my efforts to rally international support and unite Jewish communities worldwide. Despite knowing the journey would be challenging and long, my belief in its realization never wavered. Even if I didn’t live to see it, I was confident in the Jewish people’s resilience to make this dream come true.
Yoni: Theodor, if you were alive today and were able to walk around in the streets of the state of Israel, how would you feel watching what actually happened with your Zionist ideas and vision?
ChatGPT: Walking the streets of the modern State of Israel would be awe-inspiring. I’d be filled with joy seeing our people thrive in their homeland, speaking Hebrew, and nurturing vibrant cities and industries—all once mere dreams. Despite the difficult path to statehood and ongoing challenges, Israel’s existence confirms the power of our dream and the resilience of the Jewish people. I would feel a profound sense of pride and hope for the future, even amidst the complexities and sorrow for the losses endured. The realization of my Zionist vision, though not without its challenges, would bring me immeasurable joy.
AI can also breathe life into historical narratives and events. With tools like Midjourney, educators can enable students to envision and recreate iconic Jewish scenes. This creative exercise, made possible by AI, provides a deeper connection to Jewish history, making the past resonate with students in a more meaningful way (as was done recently during the last Passover).
can foster critical thinking and stimulate thought-provoking discussions. Educators can present ChatGPT with dilemmas or questions related to biblical stories and ask These generated opinions can serve as starting points for lively classroom debates, enriching students’ analytical skills and understanding of the narratives.
AI can be utilized to create personalized learningadapting to each student’s pace, and making the study of Torah, Talmud, Israel Education, or Jewish history an engaging, individualized journey. It gaps, connecting students in remote locations to the heart of Jewish learning, or providing resources that may otherwise be inaccessible.
The key point to note here is that AI, despite its technological roots, does noteducation. Instead, it adds a dynamic layer to it, creating a more engaging and enriching learning environment. As Jewish educators, we can harness make our teachings more interactive and accessible.
In the fast-paced digital era, the fusion of Jewish education and AI is not just a possibility; it’s a path worth exploring. By embracing AI, we can preserve our rich Jewish heritage while enriching our educational methodologies. We have the opportunity to bridge the gap between tradition and technology, ensuring our teachings remain relevant and engaging in the modern world.
As Jewish educators, let’s welcome this confluence of technology and tradition. Let’s strive to make Jewish education a journey of exploration, discovery, and understanding, enhancedWe are at the dawn of era in Jewish an era that intertwines the wisdom of the past with the promise of the future. We ought to keep an open mind not only to other interpretations of Judaism, but also to methodologies, tools, and possibilities. It’s another tool in our toolbox backed wisdom, knowledge, and life experience.
(Digital tools used in writing this article: ChatGPT, Google Translate, Wordtune text editor, Grammarly, Midjourney, Microsoft Word Speech to Text tool & Dall-E).