Recycling and Deifying Donkey Dung in Israel

The Christmas season in Europe is often silly season for the world’s media outlets, when they outdo each other to find the strangest, weirdest and oddball news story to give people an extra sparkle to their celebrations.

Strange shaped vegetables, or bagels that bleed are the sort of stories that crop up. Despite the crisis in the South of Israel, the BBC managed to find its own silly and strange story in the Holy Land, close to the Galil. Dung, from horses, donkeys and cattle, has for many centuries and across many countries and cultures, been used both as a fuel for heat and as a fertiliser for agriculture.

This is one of the most basic, and successful, forms of recycling that there is. Reusing animal waste, which is generally made up of green plant matter, is extremely green. So green that many herders collect it as an essential item, and might look at you strangely if you commented on it!

Menachem Goldberg, who runs a visitors centre at Kedem, has come up with the extra-ordinary idea of preserving pieces of donkey dung within a plastic cube, that is inscribed with holy writings from the Talmud. Mr Goldberg says that the idea came to him from the Talmudic phrase: (and I quote) “Let the Messiah come…may I be worthy to sit in the shadow of his donkey’s dung”. Make of this what you will!

Comments welcome, and any visitors to Kedem, please confirm this craziness for us.

About James Murray-White

Growing up in a green village outside Cambridge, UK gave me an eye into the natural world, and years later, after being an actor, dramatist, weary traveller and anthropologist, the environment fires me up the most – and the need to save and nurture it… while we live within it. I now live in the UK, with partner Tania and 2 pesky cats – writing and filming the world (slowly making a documentary about the Bedouin situation) take up my creative time. I do this while growing things organically and composting profusely take up the remainder. James can be reached at james (at) greenprophet (dot) com.

5 thoughts on “Recycling and Deifying Donkey Dung in Israel

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    Just incredulous! Is it not enough that we refuse to bring down the asherim? Now we must have another? I suppose there is also a ritual associated with this “cubiform”. And yet, we “claim” to await the Moshiach.


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