Monday, November 28, 2022

(Courtesy of Chabad of Hackensack) With Rosh Hashanah just around the corner, Chabad of Hackensack is releasing a brand new Jewish calendar—and it’s unlike any you’ve seen before.

This calendar, which will be delivered to residents’ homes before the High Holy Days, will include all of the standard features, such as lists of Jewish holidays and Shabbat and holiday candle lighting times.

But for the first time ever, it will be fully illustrated by AI, an artificial intelligence robot.

“When I heard about the ability for AI to create paintings and illustrations, I was intrigued,” said Rabbi Mendy Kaminker, the rabbi of Chabad Hackensack, publisher of the calendar. “I wondered: ‘Can an AI bot illustrate our calendar?’ It took some trial and error before the decision to rely solely on AI.

“The AI is not always so good with Jewish illustration,” Rabbi Mendy continued. “Take, for example, a Menorah. I tried hundreds of times to get it to create a proper kosher Menorah, but pretty much without success. Sometimes it created a candelabra with six branches; other times, it did make the proper number of branches, but their height was unequal. For a Menorah to be kosher, all candles should be of equal heights.

“Portraits of Jewish people were a challenge as well, as they were often illustrated stereotypically with long noses, etc.”

Ultimately, he was successful, and the results are what is the first-ever calendar illustrated exclusively by AI.

Using styles of famous artists, the calendar contains works such as “Chasidim Dancing in Times Square” in the style of Vincent Van Gogh, “Two Jewish Women Building a Community” in the style of Claude Monet, and “Praying at the Kotel” in the style of Jacques Lipchitz.

Does Judaism support the use of AI technology? Rabbi Mendy is unequivocally positive about it.

“The coming Jewish year is named ‘the year of Hakhel,’ the year of gathering. During the Holy Temple era, a massive gathering of all Jewish people from around the world would occur in Jerusalem. This gathering (Hakhel) would strengthen their connection and deepen their faith in God. Everyone was there, including the very young children.

“The theme of this year”s calendar is Hakhel,” Rabbi Mendy continued. “This is inspired by the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory’s call to mark this year with renewed focus on bringing people together to increase our faith in God. To me, harnessing the power of AI to bring people closer to God and to each other, is so perfectly appropriate during this special year.”

For more information, to request a calendar, or to schedule an interview, contact Rabbi Mendy Kaminker, 201-503-3770 |
[email protected]

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