When it comes to Jewish, Siri often lets me down
I generally have a love affair with Siri. She – as available on my iPhone 5 – gets me. My dictation of emails, texts and notes is almost letter perfect, far quicker and more accurate than my clunky typing on the faux keyboard…
… except when I dictate something Jewish. In this esoteric realm – which mixes Yiddish, Hebrew and Jewish-Americanisms – Siri often lets me down. So let me share my top dozen personal examples of how Siri gets an F (at best a D) in Jewish:
- When I wanted to warn my kids there might be extra traffic due to “Jews leaving early for Yom Kippur,” Siri cautioned against “juice leaving early for yanqui poor.”
- Trying to wish a friend “hearty mazel tov’s,” Siri wished him “hearty muscle dogs.”
- Explaining that a friend’s Shiva (Jewish mourning) would take place Monday, Siri politely announced when his “shit but” would be.
- When asking if we should go to services for the Simchat Torah holiday, Siri thought I asked about “Simplot Torah.” (She also thought a separate mention of the “Torah” – or Hebrew Bible – was a reference to someone’s “toga.”)
- Giving Siri a second chance with Jewish holidays, I watched her render the fall holiday Shavuot, on two successive tries, as “Sure about” and “Should go out.”
- When I wanted to say, humorously, that I was so tired I could “plotz” (collapse), Siri – perhaps recalling my resolution to write more – told Debbie I was going to “plots.”
- Asking if I should wear a suit on Rosh Hashanah, Siri decided I was talking about the Celtic-Cyrillic beauty, “Russia Shawna.”
- Telling Debbie I hoped she’d bake ruggalach (braided cookies) for the holiday, Siri forwarded my request that she bake “Rogalia.”
- Asking if I should bring my prayer shawl, which I rendered in the old style as “Tallis,” Siri asked if I should bring my “Tallest.”
- When asking a friend to borrow his Haggadah as I prepared my Passover seder, Siri asked if I could borrow “the gutters.” (I’m still not sure if she was thinking roofs or bowling.)
- Also on Passover, when I texted my children to come downstairs for their mom’s “matzah brei,” Siri summoned them for a “matzah bride” (Jewish version of the Gingerbread Man?).
- Finally, curious how Siri would handle the central Jewish prayer, the Shemoneh Esrei (named for its”18” blessings), Siri captured this as the “Shamona x-ray” (how modern shamans view broken bones?).
Can anyone recommend a yeshiva bachur (young Jewish scholar) to tutor Siri? (By the way, she rendered that term in multiple ways, my favorite being “his sheep about whore” – definitely, Siri needs help with Hebrew and Yiddish.)