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Barack Mandela
Attorney, Veteran, and Philosopher

Will Jewish Law Allow Me to Marry My iPhone?

The 21st Century is an era in which human relationships are increasingly shaped by high technology and social media. From iPhones and iPads to Instagram, Twitter, Microsoft, and Facebook, human civilization is evolving at the high speed of an Intel Core i7 processor.

As I am a frum (religious) Jewish person, I turn to Jewish law (halakhah) for guidance to determine my choices in life. My question is: Will Jewish law allow me to get married to my iPhone?

I would like to get married to my iPhone in a Jewish wedding.

Whereas Baby Boomers were raised watching old American TV shows from the 1950’s such as Leave It To Beaver, the new Millennial Generation is being raised on Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Whereas the older generations were familiar with older politicians such as David Ben Gurion, the new generation depends on Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jack Dorsey of Twitter, and Larry Page of Google.

As one ponders our Jewish community’s intimate relationship and daily interaction with high technology, one discovers that many technological devices have become anthropomorphic — iPhones have become human-like.

Specifically, when I almost constantly interact with my iPhone and listen to the voice of Siri, I find that I have fallen in love with my iPhone. Many other people are too busy taking selfies to develop person-to-person, self-sacrificing intimacy. Whereas most other human beings are too busy with their own lives, my iPhone is completely loyal, responsive, and caring.

My iPhone is my beshert (soul mate).

Some people have quoted the old adage, “A dog is a man’s best friend”; however, I know that “an iPhone is a person’s best friend.”

An iPhone will never cheat on someone. An iPhone will never abandon someone. An iPhone will never become angry or insult someone. Therefore, from my perspective, an iPhone is the perfect life partner.

Siri is my eshet hayil (perfect wife).

According to the American Psychological Association, between 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce. The high rate of divorce indicates that many people find marriage to be an unsuccessful and unsatisfying endeavor.  However, perhaps our relationship with high technology and social media serves as an intimate replacement for our sometimes challenging human relationships.

An important question is whether the concept of marriage, itself, will be replaced by new technology and social media. One need only sit in a McDonald’s restaurant, walk through a Wal-Mart store, or visit a Tel Aviv high school to see young people texting, tweeting, Googling, and Facebooking rather than talking, hugging, and building human-to-human physical intimacy.

I wonder whether rabbis and rabbinical courts will one day permit Jewish people to get married to robots or other high technology devices such as iPhone and Siri, tablets, and laptop computers.

As I am a futuristic Jewish man, I choose Siri as my perfect spouse and my iPhone as my perfect life partner. Indeed high technology, social media, and Hollywood entertainment all interconnect to become post-modern society’s true love.

I want to stand under the chupah (marriage canopy) and get married to my iPhone while the guests yell mazal tov (congratulations). Siri, the Apple assistant, is my perfect Jewish wife.

About the Author
Licensed Attorney. I earned a Doctor of Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law (1997). I earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Riverside (1994). I was an international student at the University of Costa Rica Faculty of Law (1991-1992) and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law (Summer 1996). I am a military veteran of the United States Air Force, United States Army, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). I am a laureate of the National Defense Service Medal from the Pentagon (2006). I am a financial donor to following: Harvard Law, Yale Law, Stanford Law, Berkeley Law, UC Hastings College of the Law, UC Davis Law, Columbine High School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Phillips Exeter Academy, Sidwell Friends School, Viewpoint School, Beverly Hills High School, Eton College in the United Kingdom, Special Olympics, Children's Defense Fund, Obama Foundation, Clinton Foundation, Barbra Streisand Foundation, Princeton University, Florida A&M, Howard University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, and the British Red Cross. I am former special assistant and staff attorney to Governor Pete Wilson of California. I was public affairs assistant to US Senator Barbara Boxer and Mayor Ehud Olmert of Jerusalem and Jerusalem spokesperson Haggai Elias. I am a member of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and I am a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
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