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Converts Would Have 40-Year Cushion

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL ( — The Year 2000 computer crisis can be averted if every computer in the world converts to Judaism, Israeli scientists announced Wednesday.

The Y2K crisis is caused by old, or "legacy," computer systems that recognize only the last two digits of a year, such as 99 instead of 1999. When the clock strikes 2000, computer experts fear many systems will fail to recognize the year '00, wreaking havoc across industries. However, in Judaism, it is currently the year 5760, meaning Jewish computers could avoid a similar problem—the Y5.8K crisis—for another 40 years. Computers currently use the Gregorian Calendar, which begins with the approximate birth date of Christ.

To convert the built-in clocks on the world's estimated 2 billion computers, Tel Aviv-based Kosher Technologies has developed "PC Mitzvah," a program that searches for Gregorian Calendar dates and replaces them with Jewish Calendar dates, said CEO Eric Rimmkovsky. Currently, some Y2K repair programs send in a computer "mole" program to seek out and change all references to the date. PC Mitzvah sends in a computer "Mohel" program to snip out lines of code and replace them with Jewish Calendar dates, Rimmkovsky explained. When the program successfully completes the conversion, users see the message "Mazel tov!"

Kosher has already contracted with IBM, Deutsche Telekom and the U.S. Defense Department, and the Social Security Administration is "closely examining" the program, said SSA spokesperson Margaret Bryant.

The program is designed for users of any religion and does not otherwise affect systems, although it does automatically shut down on Saturdays.

Meanwhile, another Israeli firm, ShivaTech, has announced plans to launch an enterprise-wide Y2K conversion solution for large corporate clients. Called PC Passover, the program sends out an Information Systems Angel® which will simultaneously convert all computers on the company network. Modems or network cards connected to computers that are to remain Gregorian need only be smeared with goat blood to avoid conversion, said a ShivaTech spokesperson.


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