Haifa, March 8 – A new study has found that contrary to previous assumptions, one of the largest finds of natural gas in recent decades accumulated as a result of emissions from the digestion of traditional Jewish cuisine.

It had long been assumed, based on geological data, that the gas, mostly methane, accrued in a pocket of the earth’s crust through the decay and compression of organisms from the Mesozoic era, approximately 252 million through 66 million years ago. However, new data forced geologists to revise their assessment of the gas’s origins, and they confirmed today that the primary source for the gas has been the consumption and metabolism of the beef, grain, and bean stew for the Jewish Sabbath known as cholent.

In the upcoming issue of the journal Proceedings of the Educational Team of Academic Researchers and Doctors (PETARD), the scientists explain that they were troubled by the fact that only in recent years have there been any discoveries of such natural gas pockets in the Eastern Mediterranean, despite earlier exploration. Conventional explanations for the absence of gas until several years ago never proved satisfying, leading the researchers to look for an alternative process whereby the gas could have accumulated more recently.

cholentThe leading hypothesis, and the one best supported by the latest data, contends that only in recent decades have the cholent-eating Jews in Israel reached a concentration that could produce quantities and densities of cholent-gas that would not be diffused easily. The Haredi population, with its strict adherence to tradition, including the customary consumption of cholent at least once a week, has increased exponentially over the last several decades, adding their output to that of the smaller but also-growing “modern” orthodox community. Taken together, the synchronous production and emission of intestinal gases on Saturday afternoons has, in the last forty years or so, gradually settled into the crust of the earth and formed a pocket that became the Leviathan gas field.

Beyond the basic importance of understanding this important geological, biological, and cultural phenomenon, the revelation carries vast ramifications for Israel’s aspiration to become a net exporter of energy. The development of gas fields such as Tamar and Leviathan by themselves gives Israel a leg up in the regional energy market, but the discovery that the gas comes from a locally sourced, sustainable, and renewable process has the potential to revolutionize the energy industry as a whole.

“Time and time again it has been proven that a country welcoming and nurturing a Jewish community is good for the economy,” notes the article. “This has now been demonstrated once more, and on a previously unknown level. We do not expect nations to begin establishing large communities of traditional Jews within their borders overnight, but harnessing intestinal output need not be the exclusive province of one country or culture.”

The researchers did sound a note of caution, emphasizing that the production of such gases on a large scale could exacerbate the Outhouse Effect.

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