It's almost summer... close your "trisim"!

In the US, "blinds" were basically curtains, just not as pretty. They sat on the inside of windows a shielded us from views of neighbors. (And by "us," I don't mean my family in particular. We grew up on a farm and didn't even have curtains in our windows, which got tricky when clients of my parents showed up before my sister and I had woken up or showered in the morning...)

Israel's obsession with security, though, seems to extend to our windows here. The picture above are of "trisim," which cover the outside of the windows on all older apartments like ours. They crack open and closed, but luckily can be pulled aside by our panes of tinted, frosted glass on the windows. (Israelis also believe that everyone else is very nosy and has no business looking through their windows.) These old trisim are pretty annoying to clean and open with metal tabs that-- for me-- always get stuck when I slide open and shut our glass windows. Newer trisim are metal shades that raise up and down like mineature garage doors, sometimes with an electric switch. Trisim are really more like shutters than blinds, as they guard against inclement weather in addition to prying eyes.

It's finally getting hot here, and for many Israelis this means opening windows at night (to let in cool air) and then shutting up EVERYTHING during the day. I have a problem with this-- I LOVE fresh air, natural light, a breeze, even if this breeze is the dust-laden wind of a chamsin. I also don't like air conditioning (although done right, opening windows at night and shutting up during the day actually keeps apartments cool-- our entire buildings are built to chill, with cool tile floors underfoot). So I tend to sit sweating in the sunlight in the summer, a fan mimicking natural breeze.

Who cares. I love the heat, and I'm glad that summer is almost here! And my trisim will be open. For now.


  1. As a kid, I was told that these shutters are not only about personal security - but also, in case of an air-raid, all light from inside the home can be blocked out - so as to be hidden from the sky...

  2. Talking about security and air-raids....I am curious as to whether all housing units have a safe room and/or bomb shelter. If older apartments do not have this, how far does one have to go?

  3. Tamar,
    Not all apartments have security rooms, especially not older ones.
    How far you have to go depends on two things: 1. Your building (ie, what floor do you live on, where is the building boom shelter (usually, but not always, the basement), etc) and 2. Where you live as in distance from whichever boarder in ignited this time. If you live close to the boarder, chances are that you wont go to the building safe-area, but rather get into the stairwell of a windowless room in your apartment.
    If you are interested in finding out more, the Israeli "home front command" website is at http://www.oref.org.il/14-en/PAKAR.aspx

  4. Sorry... That's stairwell OR windowless room.

    Parenthetically, another good place to read:

  5. anyone know if they are available in the USA?


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