You won’t want to miss this special mid-winter online (Zoom-only) learning opportunity with a distinguished and brilliant teacher who works at the intersection of science and spirituality. Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman has been a featured guest teacher at Westchester Reform Temple for years, elevating both the minds and souls of our congregants and community. Over five sessions taught on Thursday mornings (10:15 – 11:45 AM) in January and February, Rabbi Mitelman will engage us in the exploration of how Judaism will grapple and interact with unprecedented developments in new technologies and discoveries (AI, genetic engineering, new theories of the origins and size of the cosmos) that are already shaping the 21st century. How will our spiritual tradition change along with changing times? What time-honored wisdom does Judaism offer us as we contemplate a future almost inconceivably different from the present?
How is technology changing the way we interact with others and our world? What are the limits and opportunities that technology creates for our relationships? How can we understand and appreciate Shabbat in our 24/7 ever-connected world?
Session 2: (1/25):
Intelligence, Consciousness or a Soul? Some Jewish Views on AI
How do we define “intelligence” and how do we define “artificial”? Does AI have consciousness? A soul? And while traditional Jewish texts wouldn’t know about ChatGPT, what analogies can we draw from Biblical, Rabbinic and later Jewish texts?
Session 3 (2/1):
The Cosmos and the Covenant — Just How Special Are We?
As we discover more exoplanets, and learn just how expansive our universe is, how do we situate ourselves in the cosmos? Are we insignificant, or are we special?
Session 4 (2/8):
Is Genetic Engineering Allowing Us to Play God?
As CRISPR helps us edit genes, new technology floods us with reams of new information instantly, and immortality seemingly within our grasp, is science replacing God? What happens as our ethical and religious structures struggle to keep up?
Session 5 (2/9):
The Future of the Jewish Future
Judaism holds both memories of the past and a vision of the future. But what Judaism hopes for in “the future” also comes with accelerating change and new and unprecedented technologies, including ones we can’t imagine right now. How can Judaism balance its traditional values with its embrace of innovation, and what have learned from previous sea-changes in technological advancements?