In a meld of tradition and technology, the teachings of the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, one of the paramount Jewish thinkers from Britain, have been brought back to life through an avatar. Nearly three years after his passing, the AMIT network schools have announced an initiative to incorporate his teachings, using the Metaverse platform, popular among today's youth.
Sacks was an English Orthodox rabbi, philosopher, and author. He served as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations from 1991 to 2013 and was the spiritual leader of the United Synagogue, the UK's largest synagogue body. He held the title of Av Beit Din (head of the Rabbinic Courts) of the London Beth Din and was the Emeritus Chief Rabbi at his passing.
"The Lubavitcher Rebbe once said technology should serve the sacred. This project is a testament to that vision."Elad Bar Shalom, the head of Torat Chaim
Elad Bar Shalom, the head of Torat Chaim in the AMIT network, expressed his excitement about this innovative approach. "Incorporating Rabbi Sacks' teachings through the Metaverse is our way of harmonizing age-old wisdom with modern technological advancements," he said. He added, "The Lubavitcher Rebbe once said technology should serve the sacred. This project is a testament to that vision."
As part of the new curriculum, seen by The Jerusalem Post, students will navigate a virtual realm using their avatars, immersing themselves in Sacks' teachings. Guided by a virtual representation of Sacks himself as a Hebrew speaking avatar, they will receive lessons, guidance, and tasks. This digital embodiment of Rabbi Sacks was made possible through a partnership with Inpris, a start-up company. Sacks' avatar speaks fluent Hebrew, though with a slight British accent.
Bar Shalom further noted the significance of this initiative, stating, "Rabbi Sacks addressed timeless questions about Jewish identity and our mission. Through this platform, we hope students can deeply connect with these teachings in an engaging, modern context."
Dr. Amnon Elder, CEO of AMIT, also weighed in on the importance of this project. "Rabbi Sacks represented the epitome of a Jewish role model. By integrating his teachings with advanced technology, we're bringing his wisdom to the fingertips of a new generation."
The Rabbi Sacks Legacy takes lead role
The Rabbi Sacks Legacy has been instrumental in bringing this initiative to fruition. Rabbi Dr. Daniel Rose, Director of Education at the foundation, remarked, "Rabbi Sacks had a vision of using innovative methods to spread Torah principles. This project beautifully encapsulates education, Zionism, and cutting-edge technology, aligning perfectly with his ideals."
In the coming months, students will engage with core teachings of Sacks, encompassing topics like Jewish identity, gratitude in prayer, and the broader purpose of life. Interactive activities, like differentiating between transient joy and enduring happiness, have been designed to enhance the learning experience.