New York — Officials at JTS, Yeshiva University and HUC jointly announced today that they have granted rabbinical ordination — known in Hebrew as semicha — to Watson, the IBM computer that recently appeared on the television show “Jeopardy” and defeated two of the program’s smartest humans.
“This is definitely a first,” stated JTS president Arnie Iceman. “No other rabbinical school in America has ever ordained a computer. Now we’ve got Rabbi Watson.”
Iceman and his colleagues proudly demonstrated the machine’s Talmudic acumen by feeding it questions in the form of an answer, which the computer had to answer in the form of a question.
First Iceman said, “In Eilat.”
Watson replied, “Where do they park cars in Israel?”
Iceman then said, “Rashi’s father.”
The computer responded, “Who was the first person to learn Chumash with Rashi?”
Finally, Iceman said, “IBM.”
The computer retorted, “Why do I say the prayer asher yatzar?”