Dude! (Shemesh, that is.)

On the roof of every Israeli apartment building you find water heaters and solar panels-- the solar water heater is known (in one of the most fabulous Israeli appliance names) as a dude shemesh. In a country with this much sun, it only makes sense for us to heat our water using solar energy.

In the summer, this means that we have hot water all day long without paying a dime for heating. In the winter, you have to plan your showers carefully-- you can usually shower with hot water in the middle of the day, but in the evening you often need to heat the water using electricity (via a special switch in everyone's home-- if you flip a switch in your new Israeli apartment and nothing appears to happen, you may be heating your water). It takes about a half hour for the water in our dude shemesh to heat. Some people even use timers to insure hot water at specific times during the summer.

Don't forget to clean off your solar panels every so often! Dusty solar panels can't collect sunlight.

Are you a heat-at-specific-times or a flip-the-switch-and-wait kind of winter showerer?


  1. Not all apartments have solar boilers. Mine only has an electric boiler.

  2. Really? That's the first I've heard of that in Israel.

  3. I am mostly a lurker here. But I want to tell you how I love your blog, your sense of humor, the way you handle quirky Israelisms with affection, rather than derision. This is a great resource for new olim. We made aliyah around the same time; but I sure wish you'd been writing back when I was figuring out what a dood shemesh was! I spent my first several visits to Israel thinking I was a special kind of moron who could never figure out the secret to getting a hot shower!

  4. ng is actually right, a lot of bigger building projects (remember: projects are GOOD things in Israel) don't have enough space on their roofs for solar heaters for all the apartments, so they resort to having just electric heating. In the states I've seen buildings with shared central water heaters for the whole building (like one building Maya and I lived in) but in a country where water (and power) consumption is always an issue, these things will always be individual.

  5. Thank you, Ruti! I'm glad that my blog comes across the way I hope it does... I make fun of Israeli quirks a lot, but I love this country and would never want to be anywhere else. (I've had plenty of my own "moron" moments, too!)

  6. It's nice being able to take a boiling hot shower at 6:30 a.m. on a winter day before heading off to work.

    The trick now is a family of 6 taking showers on 'short' Fridays for Shabbat... while you're also washing dishes and floors... we generally start showering at noon.


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