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An app that can generate 64,000 kosher cheesecake recipes aims to prove AI’s value for Orthodox Jews

(JTA) — Sara Goldstein’s regular cheesecake recipe is like the rest of the kosher food she makes and shares on her Instagram account — “straightforward, and I wouldn’t say too adventurous.”

But she tried something special this year ahead of Shavuot, a Jewish holiday that begins Thursday night, when dairy foods are traditionally on the menu. In honor of the holiday, she whipped up a bourbon caramel cheesecake, with candied pecans on top.

Goldstein’s baking shakeup was spurred by an online tool that, using artificial intelligence, allows users to mix and match ingredients that can be made into more than 64,000 different cheesecake recipes. For Goldstein, a chef and kosher recipe developer who lives in Lakewood, New Jersey, CheesecakeWizard.AI offers a welcome challenge.

“You have to be extra creative in the kosher world because it’s very limited,” she said. “And I think it definitely opened people’s eyes to what’s possible. I mean, saying there’s 64,000 combinations that are kosher —  it’s really, really cool.”

The app’s creator, Brooklyn marketing executive Avi Bree, doesn’t just want to push the bounds of what gets served on Shavuot tables. He’s also looking to prove to clients his value in a world of AI-generated press releases — and to show his fellow Orthodox Jews that ChatGPT and other AI tools can be a boon to Jewish observance, not a threat, despite concerns about internet use in his community.

“Not everybody who is going to go to this website is actually going to actually bake the cheesecake,” Bree said. “They’ll futz around with it, and they’ll push a couple buttons and it’ll make us all meshuggeneh trying to come up with the craziest flavor.… While they’re doing it, the company that’s sponsoring it, their logo and their name is there.”

The app asks users to select their crust, filling and topping preferences, then uses artificial intelligence to spit out a recipe to match. An image integration feature called Midjourney allows users to see computer-generated pictures of what their cheesecakes might look like — from carrot-cake crusts to maple and sweet potato filling to savory toppings such as an olive tapenade.

Since its launch last week, Cheesecake Wizard has been used by about 12,000 people to generate 45,000 recipes — though it remains to be seen how many actual cheesecakes result. Bree said that like Goldstein, he had been drawn to the “boozy options” in the Cheesecake Wizard interface and hoped that when the holiday begins Thursday night, he’ll get a chance to partake.

“After a very long week of work, I’d like to sit down on Shavuos eating cheesecake, and having a splash of bourbon on top would definitely, you know, add a little more enjoyment to the holiday festivities,” he said.

Bree’s experiment with AI started last spring, when clients began to drop him because, they said, they could use the new technology to create their marketing materials instead. He decided to explore the new terrain. Passover was approaching, and Bree’s first venture was a day-trip generator, inspired by the hassle Orthodox families can face when deciding what to do in the middle of the weeklong holiday, when Jewish schools and workplaces are closed.

Avi Bree created a cheesecake AI generator to show his Orthodox community the value of AI. (Courtesy Bree)

CanWeGoNow launched on the first day of chol hamoed, the period of the holiday when travel is allowed, and quickly crashed as the link ricocheted across WhatsApp groups that are the primary form of communication for many Orthodox Jews. Bree called his wife from synagogue and said he needed to scrap their own family’s plan to take their six children to an amusement park. He had to spend the time getting the site back up.

“I said, ‘Pessel, the bottom line is I stepped into something that might be amazing,’” he recalled. “I generally don’t work on chol hamoed, but if there’s a loss involved, the rabbinical leaders say you can work. So I said, ‘If I don’t take care of this, the whole thing’s going to fold.’”

Ultimately, 20,000 people generated tens of thousands of trip ideas in the United States, Israel, England, Australia and even Mexico, where hundreds of people at a kosher-for-Passover hotel got wind of the app.

Bree lost money on the venture, but he gained confidence that AI could catch on in his community, despite some of his Orthodox peers’ ambivalence toward new technologies. Now, he has relaunched his marketing firm to focus squarely on using AI to reach Orthodox audiences. (Its name, MarketAIng, makes the gambit visible.)

“The Jewish community is always a little bit behind, let’s just face it,” he said. “Our tradition is what kept us going all these thousands of years, so anytime something new comes into the picture, we’re always a little more wary and always a little more concerned. So AI really hasn’t made inroads yet.”

Bree’s latest effort hit a turning point while he was in synagogue, which he referred to as “a mini-networking event” that he attends three times a day for prayers. A self-described ultra-Orthodox Jew, he had been casting about for a kosher corporate partner for the cheesecake bot. An acquaintance named Akiva overheard him lamenting his lack of connections to a fellow worshiper after evening services.

Akiva said his wife worked for a kosher dairy-products company called Norman’s. A few WhatsApp messages later, Bree was in touch with executives there — and now the company’s name and logo appear on the website, and its products are inserted into the cheesecake recipes that the tool generates. Goldstein has also promoted the company on her social media posts about Cheesecake Wizard.

The sell wasn’t totally straightforward, Bree said. An executive “was a little bit nervous because of the internet aspect,” he recalled. “Right now in the Jewish community, it’s a weird sort of policy we have, like, we don’t encourage you to use it but if you’re going to use it, have a filter on it.”

Indeed, internet use has been a fraught topic in haredi Orthodox communities, with rabbis warning that online access can be a gateway to inappropriate content that conflicts with and diverts attention from Jewish practice.

Some Orthodox leaders have urged Jews to reject the internet entirely. In 2012, a rally warning of the dangers of the web drew more than 40,000 men to Citi Field in New York; last year, two massive rallies for women urged them to delete their social media profiles and give up their smartphones.

With the abrupt arrival of consumer-facing AI in recent months, the technology has drawn specific attention from some rabbinic leaders for the first time. Last month, a dozen rabbis from the traditionalist Skver Hasidic community, based in New Square, New York, explicitly banned its use.

“It is possible that at this point, not everyone knows the magnitude and scope of the danger, but it has become clear to us in our souls that this thing will be a trap for all of us, young and old,” the rabbis wrote in their decree last month. “Therefore, the use of ‘AI’ is strictly prohibited in any shape and form, even by phone.”

Despite these warnings, many haredi Orthodox Jews use the internet for work, shopping and other activities. But in some communities, users are expected to install “kosher” filters that block content considered inappropriate, and many Orthodox yeshivas require parents to install filters as a condition of enrollment. Bree said his own children’s Brooklyn yeshiva required a phone filter, which he installed, and that he made sure to construct his apps so that they would function on phones whose function is limited to WhatsApp and basic communication tools.

He also said that while Norman’s was persuaded to move forward with the cheesecake app because it had its own website, he was considering adding a disclaimer.

“We might have to actually make a little statement on the website saying something along the lines of, you know, ‘Please abide by your rabbinical guidelines regarding internet use,’” Bree said. “Because people were saying, ‘Oh, what are you pushing internet for?’ We’re not pushing it. If you’re using it anyways, then you could use this.”

Goldstein said she wasn’t sure she would become a regular AI user but thought that Cheesecake Wizard, for which she posted an instructional video for her followers on Wednesday, was a comfortable entry point for her community. “I definitely think it’ll take people a little while, maybe, to warm up to the concept, but it’s a great way to introduce it,” she said.

In her heavily Orthodox town of Lakewood, Goldstein said a wide range of internet uses are tolerated — and that she sees a value in remaining online.

“I’m not telling people to come start using Instagram, start using AI — it’s if you’re here [and] it’s where you’re at, then this is a fun way to make something amazing, to elevate something for chag,” Goldstein said, using the Hebrew word meaning holiday. “For people who are already out there on the internet — whether you need it for work, or just, you’re not at that place yet to completely eradicate internet from your life — here’s a way to take these tools and do something even spiritual with it.”


The post An app that can generate 64,000 kosher cheesecake recipes aims to prove AI’s value for Orthodox Jews appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Comparing European, American, and French Roulette at Canadian online casinos

Roulette is the most popular table game at online and land-based casinos alike. You can easily find a seat at the table, place your bets, and hope that the wheel turns in your favour. But you have surely noticed that the roulette section is quite rich, featuring at least a dozen different tables. Most of them come with a different design and different rules. The most popular roulette variants are American Roulette, European, and French Roulette. In this article, we will try to explain the main differences between each one.

French VS European Roulette

We’ll first compare the French versus the European version of roulette since they are the most similar. The layout of the bets and the wheel is basically the same. Even the table layout is pretty much the same at most online casinos. Depending on the provider some differences can be found, like the layout of the table or the order of the numbers of the wheel. But as far as the odds and gameplay are concerned, European and French Roulette are basically the same. 

Both roulette variants have a single 0 on the board and the same number of slots on the wheel and numbers on the table. There are 36 additional numbers you can bet on, along with the standard Red or Black and Odd or Even bets. This means both games come with a house edge of 2.7%. So, the only difference comes from the introduction of two basic rules in French Roulette. 

  • La Partage
  • En Prison

La Partage

This rule applies to even money bets, and in case the ball lands on the 0 slot. The term comes from the French word which means to divide. All even money bets are divided into half, and the player gets one half, while the other half goes to the house. This rule works greatly in your favour, especially if you’re playing on higher bets. 

En Prison

The En Prison bet is also applied to even money bets and only when the ball lands on 0. Instead of counting as a loss, the bets are held on the table for the following spin, and if you win, you get your bet back. Even though you don’t actually win anything extra, the En Prison rule gives you a chance to get your money back without a loss. 

The introduction of these rules lowers the house edge on French Roulette down to 1.35%. This is why many players prefer the French version, as the odds are better for the player. 

French VS American Roulette

The main and pretty much only crucial difference between American and French roulette is the 00 and the layout of the slots on the wheel. The added 00 on the American version means that the house edge is higher. It climbs up to 5.26%, which is almost double the house edge on European Roulette and a massive difference from the 1.35% on the French version. 

Since there is an added 00 number, the layout of the slots on the wheel is different. On the table, the 00 is next to the 0, so it doesn’t make a big difference to the layout of the table. But the rules in American roulette are quite simple. If your number doesn’t come up, you lose the bet. There are no extra rules like in the French version. 

Conclusion 

If you go by the odds alone, it turns out that the best roulette variant to play at Canadian online casinos is French roulette. But this doesn’t mean you will lose more when you play American or European Roulette. Many players prefer to play the American wheel as it’s faster and more exciting. With the right strategy and some luck on your side, you can easily make a profit on any type of roulette game. 

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Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism

niversity of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram

University of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram

JNS.org – “Never would I have imagined that I’d need to fight for my right to exist on campus,” laments Shabbos Kestenbaum, a student at Harvard University who is suing the school because “antisemitism is out of control.”

Jewish students have suffered an unrelenting explosion of hate on American higher education campuses—so far with little relief. They have endured antisemitic rhetoric, intimidation, cancellation and violence. But those charged with keeping campuses safe—whether administrators who govern student and faculty behavior or federal agencies responsible for ensuring that schools adhere to civil rights protections—are failing in their jobs.

Many Jewish students have complained to their colleges’ administrators about the injustices. But instead of responding with measures to ensure Jewish students’ safety—like stopping pro-Hamas protestors from hijacking campuses or expelling militants who incite Jew-hatred— administrators have largely shown indifference. In some cases, college authorities have made things worse for Jewish students by appeasing the riotous, pro-Hamas mobs who have been primary perpetrators of Jew-hatred on campus.

Snubbed by college administrators, Jewish students and their supporters have appealed for federal protection, filing Title VI complaints with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the body tasked with enforcing protections under the Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, the OCR, which has the power to levy severe financial punishments against colleges that neglect students’ Title VI rights, has so far rewarded negligent universities with little more than slaps on the wrist.

Until college and university boards of trustees begin hiring administrators committed to Jewish students’ safety—and until the OCR begins seriously punishing antisemitic perpetrators—we can expect no respite. Safe to say, colleges and universities run by arrogant, apathetic administrators will not change until their jobs and schools’ survival are threatened.

College/university administrators don’t take antisemitism seriously. Their reactions to Jewish students raising concerns about Jew-hatred range from indifference to outright hostility. For example, when Mohammed Al-Kurd, who the Anti-Defamation League says has a record of “unvarnished, vicious antisemitism,” came to speak at Harvard, Shabbos Kestenbaum and other Jewish students complained to administrators.

Rather than cancel Al-Kurd’s appearance, which would have been the appropriate action, the administrators ignored the students’ complaints. “Harvard’s silence was deafening,” Kestenbaum wrote in Newsweek. Kestenbaum said he “repeatedly” expressed concerns to administrators about the antisemitism he experienced, but as his lawsuit alleges, “evidence of uncontrolled discrimination and harassment fell on deaf ears.”

Administrators at Columbia University reacted to Jewish students’ complaints about antisemitism even more cynically. In fact, during an alumni event, several administrators exchanged text messages mocking Jewish students, calling them “privileged” and “difficult to listen to.”

When Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) asked the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania if calling for genocide against Jews violated their schools’ codes of conduct, none could say “yes.” The presidents of Harvard and UPenn have since resigned. Good riddance.

Some college/university administrators have outrageously granted concessions to pro-Hamas students. For instance, Northwestern University agreed to contact potential employers of students who caused campus disruptions to insist they be hired, create a segregated dormitory hall exclusively for Middle Eastern, North African and Muslim students, and form a new investment committee in which anti-Zionists could wield undue influence. Brown University agreed to hold a referendum on divestment from Israel in October.

Similar appeasements were announced at other colleges and universities, including Rutgers, Johns Hopkins, the University of Minnesota and the University of California Riverside.

So far, OCR has failed to take concrete action against antisemitism on campus. This is evident in recent decisions involving the City University of New York (CUNY) and the University of Michigan. CUNY was ordered to conduct more investigations into Title VI complaints and report further developments to Washington, provide more employee and campus security officer training, and issue “climate surveys” to students.

The University of Michigan also committed to a “climate survey,” as well as to reviewing its case files for each report of discrimination covered by Title VI during the 2023-2024 school year and reporting to the OCR on its responses to reports of discrimination for the next two school years.

Neither institution was penalized financially, even though the Department of Education has the power to withhold federal funds, which most colleges and universities depend on. There are now 149 pending investigations into campus antisemitism at OCR. If these investigations yield toothless results similar to those of CUNY and Michigan, it is highly unlikely that colleges and universities will improve how they deal with antisemitism.

Putting an end to skyrocketing antisemitism on campus involves three things.

First, donors and governments at every level should withhold funds from colleges that fail to hire administrators who will take antisemitism as seriously as they take pronoun offenses or racism directed at people of color.

Second, the OCR must mete out serious consequences to Title VI violators in the form of funding cuts. This may require legislation that specifically mandates withdrawing funding from offending parties. A bill recently introduced by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.)—the University Accountability Act—may be ideal, as it is designed to financially penalize institutions that don’t crack down on antisemitism.

Third, if OCR won’t act, Jewish students and their supporters should turn to the courts. Lori Lowenthal Marcus, the legal director of the Deborah Project, a public-interest Jewish law firm, argues that the CUNY settlement demonstrates the futility of going to OCR and that going to court is more likely to produce “a clearly delineated and productive result,” such as punitive and compensatory fines. As of late May, at least 14 colleges and universities are facing lawsuits over their handling of antisemitism on campus since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

As long as college administrators are allowed to ignore antisemitism on campus and as long as OCR and other government institutions fall short in punishing Jew-hatred, antisemitism will continue to plague Jewish students.

The post Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Candace Owens Claims US ‘Being Held Hostage by Israel,’ Suggests Zionists Killed JFK

Candace Owens speaks at CPAC on March 2, 2023. Photo: Lev Radin via Reuters Connect

Political commentator Candace Owens claimed on Friday that the US is being held “hostage” by Israel and suggested that AIPAC, the foremost pro-Israel lobbying organization in the US, was behind the assassination of former US President John F. Kennedy.
“It seems like our country is being held hostage by Israel,” Owens, a right-wing provocateur, said during the opening segment of her YouTube show, where she interviewed far-left commentator Briahna Joy Gray.
“I’m going to get in so much trouble for that. I don’t care,” Owens lamented.
Gray, who was the guest for this episode, was recently fired from The Hill‘s TV show, Rising, after aggressively cutting off and rolling her eyes at the sister of an Israeli hostage who said that Hamas sexually assaulted women during the terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel and that people should believe those women. Gray, who claimed her firing was politically motivated, had repeatedly cast doubt on the sexual violence perpetrated against Israeli women during the Hamas-led onslaught.
However, Owens said that part of the reasons she was addressing the subject was that people were being fired because they were “not happy … when an innocent Palestinian kid dies” or for “critiquing a foreign nation.”
Also on Friday’s show, Owens claimed US Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) was “wading into some dangerous waters” when, during an interview with host Tucker Carlson, he spoke about how effective the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is at lobbying members of Congress and suggested the group should have to register as a foreign agent that is acting on behalf of Israel.
The reason it was dangerous, Owens said, was because “we know there was once a president that wanted to make AIPAC register, and he ended up shot … so Thomas Massie better be careful.”
Owens was referencing the fact that Kennedy wanted the American Zionist Council, a lobby group, to register as a foreign agent. However, there is no evidence the group had anything to do with Kennedy’s assassination.
Owens and The Daily Wire, which was co-founded by conservative and Jewish political commentator Ben Shapiro, parted ways after Owens flirted with antisemitic conspiracy theories for a number of months, especially following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.
“In all communities there are gangs. In the black community we’ve got the Bloods, we’ve got the Crips. Well, imagine if the Bloods and the Crips were doing horrific things, murdering people, controlling people with blackmail, and then every time a person spoke out about it, the Bloods and the Crips would call those people racist,” Owens said while still at The Daily Wire. “What if that is what is happening right now in Hollywood if there is just a very small ring of specific people who are using the fact that they are Jewish to shield themselves from any criticism. It’s food for thought, right? … this appears to be something that is quite sinister.”
Additionally, after getting into a spat with an outspoken and controversial rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, she said, “Are you going to kill me? Are you going to kill me, because I refuse to kowtow to you, and I think it’s weird that you and your daughter are promoting and selling sex toys, that’s why I deem you an ‘unholy rabbi?’”
“You gross me out. You disgust me. I am a better person than you, and I do not fear you,” Owens continued.
The list of controversial incidents involving Owens continued to grow longer with time. In one case, she “liked” an X/Twitter post that promoted the antisemitic “blood libel.” The post read, in response to Boteach, “Rabbi, are you drunk on Christian blood again?”
The “blood libel” is a medieval anti-Jewish slur which falsely claims that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children in their religious rituals.

The post Candace Owens Claims US ‘Being Held Hostage by Israel,’ Suggests Zionists Killed JFK first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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