Getting Acquainted With Israel - 07/03/2018
Sometimes, there are things in Israel that simply take a while to get used to. We created this list so you know what to expect as some of these differences.
The most important reminder is to be adaptable. Approach everything with an open mind and be open to change and new ideas. Things are going to be different in Israel, but we are sure you’ll become accustomed to it.
Take shorter showers. In Israel there’s a shortage of water, and Israelis take quick showers. With that being said, the showers often don’t have ledges or dividers from the rest of the bathroom, so you need to clean out the drain and squeegee the floor after each use to avoid flooding.
The water heater
Many living areas in Israel heat their water up with solar energy. In order to conserve the amount of hot water used, Israel has a water heater switch,called a Dood, to turn on the hot water. This switch must be turned on, usually indicated by a light, in order for the water to become hot. It takes a few minutes for the water heater to work its magic, but once on it works extremely well using the hot Israeli sun! After your shower, you must to turn off the heater.
In Israel, it is custom and expected that you turn off the air conditioning when you are not in the building. It is necessary to do so to save energy. Although it can be difficult to walk back into your place not completely cool, once you turn it back on, the room should be chilled in no time. Don’t forget to turn off the A/C when you leave.
Israeli kitchens often do not have an oven, but rather they have a hot plate or toaster oven. Although this may seem odd, it is the norm for almost all kitchens. Generally speaking, anything you can cook on a stove in a pot, you can make on a hot plate. It operates in the same way as an electric stove burner. Some ideas of food you can make using a hot plate include french toast, shakshuka, pasta, chicken, etc. Don’t underestimate the toaster oven, as you can make a variety of meals with it including roasted chicken, salmon, vegetables, etc.
In Israel, it is expected that you clean your dishes by hand. Pro Tip: it’s much easier to clean a dish as soon as you are done with it. Don’t leave dirty dishes out (for the sake of cleanliness and others you are living with.) For pans, if you pour hot soapy water in them while you are eating, it will make it much easier to clean after you are done.
Tap water in Israel is safe to drink in your place. This past summer, we often refilled our big reusable water bottles and kept it cool in the fridge for a refreshing drink. Try adding cucumber or lemon for added taste.
Washing machines take longer to wash and dry your materials. Most likely, you will have to wash your clothes at the local laundromat near your place. There are usually a variety of options, such as dropping off your clothes and picking it up, having someone pick up the clothes from your place, or doing it yourself (probably the cheapest way).
Moovit, the app for transit in Israel will be your new best friend! Through there, you can view schedules for transportation and the routes. Due to traffic, sometimes the buses will be late, so make sure to leave enough time. On Shabbat, public transportation takes a break or runs less often. There are other ways to get around however, such as ordering a Sherut, a taxi that runs on routes similar to normal transportation.
Enjoy your time in Israel and we hope you make the most of this amazing opportunity!