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Things that are weird in Israel #2: Plastic Toilets

IMG_00002901I was astonished when I first saw it, but now I’m already starting to get used to seeing these everywhere we go, so I wanted to post before the novelty wore off…

Actually, there isn’t really much more to say.  There is a toilet, and it is plastic.  All the visible parts are plastic, including the seat, the bowl, the part that holds water.  I haven’t looked inside to see if everything inside is plastic, too.  Oh, and the brand name – which is ubiquitous here – is “Plasson.”

Some toilets have dual-flush handles (plastic), a little one inside a big one; ours has flush buttons, but the “large” flush gets stuck so I have taped over it.  (You can always use two small flushes if need be, but the truth is that small is always enough.)

This is actually what we call the “potty room,” given that the two functions of our former bathroom are divided into two different rooms, a pretty common design for Israeli homes.  It is literally, a potty, in a room.


Next door is the “shower room,” where the sink also lives.  You’d think it would make sense to divvy up the tasks this way, but in fact, I don’t like it very much.  You always have to wash your hands after using the potty room, and if somebody is using the shower room, you have to go all the way to the kitchen.  However, since this is a smallish apartment, that’s not much to complain about, I guess.  But the nice soap is in the shower room.

Some homes avoid this difficulty by having a “spare sink” just floating somewhere in the hallway; also useful for negel vasser (morning handwashing) on awakening, as well as netilas yadayim (washing before a meal with bread).  However, as one of our family members has already gleefully noted, the shower room, since it does not contain a toilet, can be used for handwashing and bracha-making anyway (which isn’t usually fitting to do in a room with a toilet, though some halachic authorities have ruled that a modern bathroom is nowhere near the same as the kind of toilet facilities that existed when the Talmud was being written and so a bracha might be able to be said in there… but we don’t anyway).

So enough of that.

Another weird feature worth mentioning about Israeli bathrooms is the window.  Ours, though tiny, has not one but TWO windows.  The first is on the door – almost every bathroom has this, for some reason.  It’s translucent; perhaps so you can see if somebody’s using the bathroom by the light coming through?


(notice the door handle, and taped-over lock – I had to put masking tape over both sides of this because of a peeking little boy)

The other window is above the toilet, and it’s huge – it’s the sole “ventilation” system for the bathroom – which opens up right into… the “utility porch,” a little sunroom just off the kitchen where I hang our laundry.

Here are the two windows, from the shower room (left) and potty room (right), opening, essentially, right into the kitchen:


Notice that you can see right in.  Comes in handy for passing stuff to somebody in the shower, like if they forgot their towel.  Not so handy when somebody in the shower hangs her towel over the window and it falls out into the kitchen.  Just saying.

Notice the little air freshener lurking in the corner, just to the right of the potty room window.  I have scrubbed and scrubbed the floors and other surfaces within an inch of their lives, but there is STILL a little bit of a smell if I let the air freshener expire.  I’m normally pretty offended by artificial scents like this, but frankly, the smell it’s covering up is worse.  Plus, there’s a huge open window right next to the air freshener, so most of its smell wafts away.

Okay, I seem to be blogging a lot about smells, and the downside of life here… so my next post will be (slightly) more uplifting, I promise.

Previously in this series…

1 comment:

  1. Plastic is rather "overused" in Israel.
    Early "laundry rooms" in Israel were open merpeset off of the kitchen or bathroom.


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