We are a family living in Jerusalem, trying to be shomer Mitsvos, and concerned about problems of resource management and pollution control. Our directives are founded on Torah wisdom. Our purpose is to heighten awareness of environmental issues in religious circles.


To avoid Bal Tashchis- Do not destroy

* Food- check your fridge daily- it's so easy to forget food in there! (Left overs can be pureed, put in soups, etc. Dry bread can be made into breadcrumbs.)

-If you have the facilities, compost food waste, peels etc, in a metal drum- to make into garden fertilizer.

* water- (not critical now, but in a usually arid country conservation is wise) -Wash dishes under a slow or intermittant flow, or use Israeli method- separate soap & rinse.

-Take navy showers- get wet- turn off water -soap- scrub- rinse.

Before the water gets warm enough for the shower- you could store it in buckets, plastic wine barrels- (the advantage of these is the lid and the shape- not so easy to knock over and spill!) for sponga, laundry etc. ) -

You don't have to flush the toilet every time! i.e. not after every katanim - and please don't use your toilet as a litter bin! You can put a bottle of water into the water cabinet to reduce the number of liters you use to flush. You can also get special handles which control water use.

Please fix all leaks as soon as possible. Please report public leaks and try to follow up on them until the appropriate action is taken.

In summer, please water garden plants when the sun is not shining on them. Grass develops a better root system if it is only watered every few days. Lawns sprinkled every day are therefore more vulnerable to water shortages. Grow plants natural to the region. Complain to the Municipality if you see they are flouting these common sense rules. Tell them where and when you see water waste.

Encourage your neighbours to conserve water.

* PAPER--Conserve half used sheets for scrap, lists, children, gans. -

Thoroughly used, but not soiled paper, old telephone directories- pass on to Amnir for recycling. Ask me for "Newsuggestions" for ideas of how to use old newspapers.

* PLASTIC--Keep a shelf for cleaned used containers and a bag for used plastic bags.

Used plastic bags can be re-used many times till they're torn- I use them clean for children's snacks at school, dirtier bags I use to wrap soiled diapers, garbage etc.

Take the larger still clean bags to the makolet with you for your next groceries.

Used plastic containers can be re-used for plant pots, sprouting seeds, flower vases (cut the tops of can-cal bottles for a simple, broad vase) or give to a local gan.

* CANS-- Buy fresh vegetables rather than canned- healthier! Cheese, tofu, fresh fish etc. are cheaper than canned tuna. Try to re-use cans creatively. Israel does not yet have much plastic recycling and no metal recycling- but this should change in the not too distant future.


*Please, please report all sewage breaks and leaks to the Municipality. They may not seem to affect you directly but they can easily cause epidemics of dysentery, dangerous especially for our young children and elderly neighbours.

*Don't use aerosols with CFCs that damage the ozone layer. This can increase the incidence of skin cancer in the long term. Don't explode bubbly plastic packaging, or break up plastic foams- many of these were inflated with CFCs. Make sure old fridges, air conditioners are disposed of safely!

Switch to "environmentally friendly" cleaners in the home- vinegar, ammonia, baking soda and the like- see our leaflet "Cleaning your house without pollution." This will greatly reduce poisonous fumes in the home and our waste water. Use the natural pest control methods given in the same pamphlet instead of highly toxic sprays.

Never combine chlorine containing cleaners with ammonia! This causes a chemical reaction producing dangerous Chlorine gas.

BOIL YOUR DRINKING WATER! (Especially if you live in Kiryat Kamenitz Mizrach or if you have a sensitive stomach.) Even better, also filter through active charcoal first to remove chlorine).

To avoid Salmonella (Common food poisoning); be extremely careful with high protein food. Cook chicken well (At least an hour) If you have to re-heat chicken soup- let it boil for at least 10 minutes. Don't chop fresh salads on the same cutting board used for raw chicken. (Or scrub with bleach first!) Eggs can also carry salmonella. Make sure they are cooked well. Avoid food and drinks made with raw eggs.

Please don't incinerate your garbage if there is any plastic in it! -(At Lag be Omer please prevent children adding foam, fabrics and plastics to the bonfires. The fumes are toxic and add to the pollution burden of our atmosphere even if no-one is immediately overwhelmed.

Report any industrial toxic waste disposal or garbage incineration. Complain to municipality about factories which cause unpleasant smells.

Copyright © 1999 Gila Atwood

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