The Chabad.org Blog

Hey Google, Ask Chabad How Many Candles Do We Light Tonight?

Chabad.org now on your Google Assistant

December 4, 2018 2:58 PM

It’s a familiar scenario for many Jews. Your hands are full as you’re rushing to bring in groceries before Shabbat ... but what time is Shabbat candle lighting anyway?

Now the answer is as easy as asking, “Hey, Google! Ask Chabad what time is Shabbat?”

Chabad.org’s wealth of Jewish knowledge and information is now available through the Google Assistant.

In addition to Shabbat candle lighting times, you can learn what night of Chanukah it is, check the Hebrew date, get location-specific halachic times and even listen to a short lesson on the weekly Torah portion.

These new features are available on more than 5,000 types of devices, including Android phones, Google Home smart speakers, cars, televisions, smartwatches, and even iPhones. All told, that represents over 400 million devices worldwide.

It can be accessed by simply saying, “Hey, Google! Ask Chabad!”

During development of the Chabad Assistant (which was built with assistance from Josh Grinberg), the Google team got involved, tweaking their AI to help it better understand and respond to the proper pronunciations of Hebrew terms like Chabad and Chanukah, which use the guttural “ch,” which has no parallel in spoken English.

This app is part of a new wave of virtual assistant applications that Chabad.org is in the process of developing for Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa.

Recently, Chabad.org was chosen as an early partner for Amazon’s Alexa Donations, allowing users to leverage the Alexa platform to fulfill the mitzvah of tzedakah.

Elan Karoll, an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been testing the app.

“I’ve been using it only recently, and it’s been great so far,“ says Karoll. “I am a busy college student, so having Jewish knowledge right at my fingertips is really important. I especially like the Shabbat times feature and plan on using that regularly!”

Learn more or enable Chabad on your Google Assistant.

Some questions you can now ask Chabad on your google assistant:

  • “Ask Chabad when is Shabbat candle lighting”
  • “Ask Chabad to play today’s Torah class”
  • “Ask Chabad what is the Hebrew date”
  • “Ask Chabad when is sundown”
  • “Ask Chabad when is the new month”
  • “Ask Chabad when is Shabbat candle lighting in Los Angeles on December 28th”

#ShareTheLights

November 15, 2018 11:53 AM
Chabad of Tasmania in Australia holds an annual public menorah-lighting outside the historic Launceston Synagogue, in addition to a car-menorah parade.
Chabad of Tasmania in Australia holds an annual public menorah-lighting outside the historic Launceston Synagogue, in addition to a car-menorah parade.

It’s been a rough few months for the Jewish people. Eleven congregants in Pittsburgh murdered by a virulent anti-Semite as they began Shabbat morning services. Jewish communities in Israel enduring a barrage of rockets from Gaza. Jews in Europe still facing spiking anti-Semitic attacks. Jewish students attacked on the streets of Toronto. It’s tempting to cower at home, waiting, praying, and hoping for things to turn out OK.

Or we can take a proactive approach. In 50 states and more than 100 countries, Jewish communities will be gathering for public menorah lightings, often in central locations. Find the menorah lighting near you, and attend with your family and friends.

What better answer can there be to those who want us to disappear? Taking a cue from the Maccabees, we will stand together, our proud presence declaring that with G‑d’s help, the Jewish nation is here today, tomorrow, and forever.

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