The human world is extending. Through 1s and 0s, computer developers are building a parallel world housed in the screens we carry: the metaverse. This isn’t some fringe reality for computer geeks; Facebook rebranded as Meta, Justin Bieber has performed for thousands in a metaverse concert, and investors are spending millions on real estate in a virtual realm called Decentraland. The metaverse is real and it’s coming fast– full of shops, museums, offices, social experiences, and events that you can attend as a video-game-like avatar.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe taught that G-d reveals new technologies to humanity as opportunities to expand spirituality and to connect Jews around the world. In these footsteps, three friends are bringing Judaism into the metaverse. Rabbi Shmuli Nachlas, Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm, and Alex Gelbert have launched JewishVirtualReality.com and the MANA Jewish Center, located in the metaverse world called Decentraland.
Now, Jews around the world who—for various reasons including a global pandemic—cannot or prefer not to attend events in-person can build friendships, study Torah, and attend events in a virtual Jewish community. “The rationale is simple,” says Rabbi Wilhelm of Boulder, Colorado, “where there are people, there is Chabad.”
Alex, a tech enthusiast and owner of the digital advertising agency Let There Be, says, “Jewish culture, history, art, learning, and community now have another home. If you build a physical Jewish Center in Denver, you reach people within 20 miles. We’re building in cyberspace and anyone with an internet connection can participate.”
“Decentraland advertises Lose yourself in an amazing, evolving world,” says Rabbi Nachlas of Toronto. “We believe that a Jewish Center in the metaverse–just like a physical one in your home city–is a place in which you can find yourself. We look forward to welcoming all bold and pioneering Jewish organizations to join us as we develop Jewish experiences in virtual reality.”
Construction of MANA Jewish Center is soon to “break ground”. Current plans include a center conducive for community events, socializing, study, shopping, and more. To visit MANA Jewish Center, head into Decentraland (www.decentraland.org) and walk or teleport to coordinates “-57, -136”.
Like in the physical world, the metaverse has an economy and building costs money. Consider contributing to the growth of Judaism in the metaverse. All donations made in cryptocurrency or old fashioned earth dollars are tax-deductible.
For a list of early dedication opportunities or to learn more about this project please visit: JewishVirtualReality.com
For more information, contact:
Rabbi Shmuli Nachlas
jewishvirtualreality.com/contact – 905.889.7582