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The Coffee-Computer Catastrophe

By Baruch Gordon
4/3/2011, 12:00 AM

I am a heavy computer user and a light coffee drinker. Here's a story about how the two do not mix well:

I invited my friend and Israel tour guide Gershon Portnoy, who is now working part time with Bet El Tours, for a meeting in my office in Bet El. We were discussing some intensive, off-the-beaten-track tours of Israel for tourists who seek something beyond the regular bus tour of Israel.

I made us a both a cup of coffee and in the enthusiastic discourse which followed, I spun my laptop computer around to show him a document, and bumped into his coffee. The cup did not tilt over, but approximately one gulp of the black fluid spilt onto the 6 upper left keys of my laptop keyboard. A minute later, the computer blinked out.


I thought, "No prob," and hair-dried the wet area, sure that the computer would come back to life. This computer served me for some 5 years and still functioned fine.

Despite all resuscitation attempts, no heartbeat returned to my lifeless laptop. I sent it for a laboratory check, and later that day, psychologists and doctors showed up at my home. They asked me to make a cup of coffee and sit down in a comfortable chair next to my computer. It was then that they informed me that my computer would not return to life – ever.

I was wrecked and devastated. I've been using laptops for 15 years and never has anything like this happened to me – to take the precious life of my own.

I tell you this story for two reasons:
1) Beware dear friends of drinking coffee next to a laptop. It only takes a small amount of liquid to kill it.

And 2) the three institutions which I work for – the Bet El Yeshiva Center, Arutz Sheva, and the Bet El IDF Preparatory Academy - are getting me a new laptop to the tune of $1,400. If there are any fine, upstanding, southern-like ladies and gentlemen out there who want to pitch in to cover the unexpected cost, we'd all be much obliged.

Please send checks of $200 or more made out to: The American Friends of the Bet El Yeshiva Center (US tax deductible).
Mail to:
Baruch Gordon
c/o Simanowitz
68-27 Juno St.
Forest Hills, NY 11375

Send an email – - notifying me that you are sending a check so I can confirm receipt, make sure you get a receipt, and express my thanks. I will also be happy to recite psalms on behalf of the donors along with a prayer request at the ancient holy site where Yaakov (Jacob) has his dream in the book of Genesis, right here in Bet El.

If you happen to be a computer company and can donate a laptop, we could actually use a few.