I read a short story a few years ago in a collection of science fiction stories. It may have been a "best of the year" type of collection, but I am not sure. It included stories from many different authors.

One story was written by a Jewish author about a Jewish man raising his daughter. His wife had died. He and his daughter were either the only Jews or the only religiously observant Jews in a small town. The girl became sick with a degenerative and terminal disease. He was a robotics engineer and built an android as a replacement for his daughter, including somehow copying the memories of the daughter into the android. When the girl first discovered the android she was (understandably) quite upset, but as she got closer to death she & the android came to terms with each other. The end of the story was that shortly after the girl passed away, on the day that would have been her Bat Mitzvah, the father had the android light Shabbat candles.

Does anyone know where I can find this story?

  • 14
    Don't you mean Bot Mitzvah? – Valorum Nov 17 at 23:47
  • 2
    We need to stop this madman. – B.fox Nov 18 at 0:55
up vote 25 down vote accepted

This is Grand Jeté (The Great Leap) by Rachel Swirsky. It was published in (amongst others) The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 9.

A Jewish father has already lost his wife; and now his daughter is dying of cancer. Distraught, he acquires restricted, experimental technology to create a duplicate of his daughter - a duplicate right down to her memories and brain function. Understandably, the daughter does not embrace her father's 'gift' with the enthusiasm he hoped.

You can read the story in full here, ending with the android daughter saying the traditional Shabbat candle blessing

When the light turned violet, abba came to the door, and she followed him into the kitchen. He lit the candles, and she waited for him to begin the prayers, but instead he stood aside.

It took her a moment to understand what he wanted.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“Please, Marale,” he answered.

Slowly, she moved into the space where he should have been standing. The candles burned on the table beneath her. She waved her hands through the heat and thickness of the smoke, and then lifted them to cover her eyes.

She said, “Barukh atah Adonai, Elohaynu, melekh ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu, l’had’lik neir shel Shabbat.

  • 5
    That is definitely the one! Thank you for the fast response. I told a Rabbi who is giving a talk on Artificial Intelligence about it and now I can send this to him. He said usually he gets stories about killer robots, so this is a very different take on the issue. – manassehkatz Nov 18 at 0:08
  • 2
    @manassehkatz - אין בעד מה – Valorum Nov 18 at 0:12
  • 1
    @manassehkatz You may like this question then. – Alex Nov 18 at 0:44

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