If you have not already, please watch the Jewish Federation’s Mid-Year Report with our Chair of the Board, Mindy Zeitzer.
When I was younger, there were TV commercials for Memorex (first cassette tapes and then for video tapes) with the tagline, “Is it live or is it Memorex?” Fast-forward to today, the question is now, “Who really wrote that?”
In the 12+ years I have been writing this email, I have never had a ghost writer. Until now.
OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence, is all over the news. So much so, since its release a few weeks ago, it has been banned in schools because of its ability to draw information and write complete essays on almost any topic (whether accurate or well written is a different story, but it will only get better). I am so intrigued by the technology that this week I asked it to write my Marc’s Remarks.
You can see (in red) what I entered in the chatbot and what ChatGPT wrote for me. Here you go:
Write Marc's Remarks to Portland Jewish community.
Dear Portland Jewish community,
I am honored to be speaking to you today and would like to take a moment to recognize and appreciate the rich history and cultural heritage of our community.
As many of you know, the Jewish community in Portland is small but active. We have a strong tradition of synagogues representing a range of denominations, a Jewish Community Center, Jewish day schools, and many Jewish cultural and educational organizations. Our community is dedicated to promoting Jewish life and welfare in Portland, Israel, and around the world.
As members of the Portland Jewish community, we have a strong connection to our faith, our traditions, and each other. It is through this connection that we are able to build a vibrant, inclusive, and supportive community.
However, in recent years, we have also faced some challenges, particularly regarding the rise of antisemitism and hate crimes targeting the Jewish community. But we will not be intimidated by these challenges. We will continue to stand strong and stand united against hate and discrimination.
In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever that we come together and support one another. Whether through acts of kindness, volunteering, or simply being there for a friend in need, we have the power to make a positive impact on the lives of those around us.
I would like to challenge each of you to think about how you can contribute to the Portland Jewish community and make a difference. Whether it is through supporting local organizations, participating in community events, or simply spreading positivity, there are many ways to get involved and make a positive impact.
Thank you for being a part of this incredible community, and for all that you do to make Portland a better place for everyone.
Best regards, Marc
I followed up with this question...
What is the future of the Jewish community?
It is difficult to predict the exact future of the Jewish community, as it depends on a variety of factors such as demographic changes, political developments, and cultural trends. However, here are a few potential developments that could shape the future of the Jewish community:
- Demographic changes: The Jewish population is aging and the number of young people in the community is decreasing. This may lead to a decline in the number of synagogues, Jewish schools, and other institutions. However, it is also possible that new forms of Jewish community will emerge to meet the needs of younger generations.
- Political developments: The Jewish community has historically faced antisemitism and persecution in many parts of the world. The rise of far-right nationalist movements and the resurgence of antisemitism in some countries could pose a significant threat to the safety and security of Jewish communities.
- Technology and social media: The use of technology and social media is likely to continue to shape the way Jewish communities connect and engage with one another. This could lead to new forms of Jewish education, engagement, and community building.
- Intermarriage and assimilation: The rate of intermarriage among American Jews is high, which could lead to a decline in the number of Jews identifying as Jewish. However, it could also lead to a more diverse and inclusive Jewish community.
- Israel-Diaspora relations: The relationship between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora is likely to continue to evolve. The Jewish community in Israel and Jewish communities around the world are becoming more diverse and interconnected, and this could lead to new forms of engagement and solidarity between the two communities.
Overall, the future of the Jewish community is uncertain, but it is likely to be shaped by a complex interplay of social, political, and cultural factors. The community will have to continue to adapt to meet the changing needs of its members, while also working to ensure the continuity and survival of the Jewish people.
Well, how did ChatGPT do? Curious in your thoughts. Feel free to try it for yourself.
Noam Nuesner wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Whether you want them or not, the robot-writers are coming. Soon we will be able to generate solid writing as easily as we use internet search engines. But when something new or weighty needs to be shared, we will turn to human writers who have the gift of conveying the unexpressed thought in words that are original and artful.”
We shall see.
Last week, I shared that Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief of the Forward daily newspaper, would be in Portland for two special presentations. Sadly, due to family circumstances, she is unable to come.
I am pleased, however, to share that on February 16 at 7:30 p.m. Rob Eshman, Senior Contributing Columnist of the Forward, will now present the 18th Annual Gus and Libby Solomon Memorial Lecture as part of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University. He will speak on Jewish Journalism In A Time Of Rising Antisemitism and discuss the challenges that journalists – and especially Jewish journalists – face in covering antisemitism. The program will be held in-person only at the University Place Hotel. Registration is required and the lecture is free to attend.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the 50th anniversary of Schoolhouse Rock, the musical shorts that taught generations about conjunctions, bills in Congress, and so much more. As James Poniewozik wrote in The New York Times, “It is a reminder of a time when network TV gave us a common culture, language and lyrics, before we were sliced into subcultures and demographics. Pre-internet, pre-cable, pre-DVD — pre-VHS, even — ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ convened a classroom of millions for three-minute servings of revolutionary art alongside installments of ‘The Great Grape Ape Show.’”
Shabbat shalom and enjoy the Tu b’Shevat holiday, the “new year of the trees,” which begins Sunday night. ChatGPT added this -- In Israel, it is celebrated as an ecological holiday and many people plant trees on this day. In the Diaspora, Tu b'Shevat is celebrated with a seder (I have included some recipes), similar to the Passover Seder, that includes eating fruits and nuts, drinking four cups of wine, and reciting prayers and poems.