A Clean City with Lots of Shoe Stores

I remember my mother taking me from store to store trying to find a pair of shoes that fit. My own daughter is fairly easy to shop for, but we must have gone into fifteen stores over two days to find sandals for her rapidly enlarging feet. In most of the stores, she wouldn’t consider even a single pair. And of the ones she tried, none were comfortable.

I had asked her several times to look for girls in school with shoes that she liked, and find out where they got them. But she did not respond to this reasonable suggestion(!). In the second-to-last store the salesperson convinced her to try on half a dozen pairs. He offered one of the pairs, which she hated, about ten times. And we left empty-footed (figuratively speaking). I was about to give up when she mumbled something about Teva Naot. Lo and behold, a store selling that brand miraculously appeared, and we thankfully purchased the pair pictured above. Of all of the shoes she considered, this was the only pair I liked. We won’t say anything about the cost. Sephardi Lady, life is not simple with teenagers.

On the way home, we passed a line of cars waiting at a traffic light. We saw a passenger open the door of one of the cars and gently lay an empty soft drink can, upright, on the street. I stepped into the road and told him, with a smile, that the can belonged to him. He shrugged his shoulders. I picked it up, handed it to him, and told him to throw it away. He took it. I considered shouting my town’s slogan, Petach Tikva is a clean city, as I walked away, but I restrained myself. My son later said that I’m lucky the man didn’t stab me, and that he probably deposited his can at the next intersection. Maybe my son is wrong, and the man was worried about what I would do to him . . .

For more on local fashions, see also:

Burkas: The New Fashion

A Clean City with Lots of Shoe Stores

Official Haredi Guide to Modest Necklines

Winter Fashion Retrospective

Israeli Fashions for Religious Women


  1. You have my full sympathy if you had to take a teenage girl shoe shopping. It’s enough, even all these years later, to make me break into a cold sweat.

  2. Decades ago, when Ben Yehuda was a vehicle street, once at a red light at Zion Sq a driver threw out some garbage and a pedestrian threw it back in the car.
    I saw it!

  3. mother in israel says

    ProfK: Thanks for the sympathy. She needs clothes too, and another pair of shoes. I asked her whether she could wear those sandals on Shabbat. She said yes, and she could also wear the shoes she had on now. Gym shoes.
    Batya, I believe you.
    SR, I don’t believe I was in danger in the middle of town like that. A violent person wouldn’t have placed the can so gently–unless he was a psychopath.
    Robin, I’m so not a NYer. I could never do that.
    TNSPR, most boys are easier. My daughter can get to some of the stores without a car, but she’s not ready to go on her own yet. And I’m sure I could have gotten them cheaper, but the trip wouldn’t have been worth it.

  4. Your son is probably right, but you did the right thing anyway.

  5. Cute shoes! I think I’m as bad as your daughter though – it took me half of forever to find sandals this year.
    A few weeks ago I took on a group of teens that were playing “glass bottle basketball” (!!!) at my local playground – chucking bottles at garbage cans from miles away. I let them have it and then flatly refused to leave until they picked up every last piece with their bare hands. I’m still surprised they listened. Must have been that evil NYer glint in my eye LOL.

  6. tnspr569 says

    Taking ANY teenager shoe shopping can be quite an experience. I’m sure my parents and I were equally happy that I could go shopping by myself once I got my driver’s license.
    As far as the price of those NAOT sandals, the only place to get any sort of deal on them, aside from the factor, might be Ben Yehuda or Machane Yehuda…but I’m not sure if that holds true anymore.

  7. your son was probably right…and the guy probably was not too worried about what you would do…

  8. I love Naot. I could do sales for Naot. You do not want to know how much I paid for my most recent pair of Naot.
    Thank you, tnspr569, for recommending Ben Yehuda as a spot for buying some Naot sandals. I heard there was a Naot factory somewhere? Well, in my dreams I’m going there. I guess I’m a teenage girl at heart.
    As for your litterer, Mother in Israel, I recommend this humorous ditty, composed by my brother years ago:
    “Litter bug, shame on you,
    Litter bug, litter bug, boo, hoo, hoo.
    You have littered all the streets.
    You have littered at the door.
    And now you’re even littering the kitchen floor.”
    Well, maybe it’ll work with your kids.

  9. Mom in Israel,
    I don’t envy you and I’m sure I will someday soon enough discover the joys of shopping with teenagers.
    In the meantime can someone explain to me why my friends regularly spend $40-$60 on a pair of shoes for their children (Stride Rite). My kids get perfectly fine marked down shoes for $5-$10. I’ve never spent $40 on a pair of shoes for me (and I buy name brand athletic shoes at the end of the season). No way I will spend that for a kid who is going to wear them out and ruin them withing 6 months.

  10. Safranit says

    Good job with the garbage…I saw the movie “Medinat Zevel” and it really depressed me. I’ve started having my girls pick up all the recycleables and they get the money for the deposit bottles. (The other ones we put in the recycling bin) It might not be much, but it will help.

  11. Regular Anonymous says

    Shopping, what a thrill.
    Sephardi Lady, when my son was a toddler no cheap shoes fit him properly – I had to get him the Stride Rite wide ones. Unfortunately, he’s still attached to brand names.
    On the bright side, I just got fake Crocs for my daughter for 20 shekel a pair. Bought two pairs, they will both be destroyed in a few weeks.

  12. MIL, Naot may not be a bad investment. The leather uppers on mine are holding up beautifully for the third year now, and you can get a new foot-pad (the suede thing that your foot is on) to renew the sandals, if needed.
    SL, I am glad you can still find those bargain shoes for your children. I used to do that too, but there comes an age where $20 shoes are either no longer available in your child’s size or they are SO out of style that you take pity on your child and don’t buy them. Our own compromise was to allow the kids to add on from their own money, to purchase the shoes they wanted.

  13. MII: Cute sandals! There is a Naot factory outlet somewhere in the Gush at a Tzmoet near Bat Ayin I think?
    Also, I agree with your son, tochacha for strangers can be a bit risky.

  14. Sigh. I have one teenager, but the other two may as well be teenagers.
    Naot are expensive, but they do last and last and last. And are more comfortable than knock-offs.
    Try Kalifa on Rechov Yaffo right across from Kikar Tzion by Ben Yehuda (just ask someone if you don’t see it). I find all the stores that Naot to charge more or less the same prices, but they have a big selection.
    And if you are in the Golan, that is where the factory is and you can find bargains there.
    But I don’t think Naot are cheaper here than in America anymore.

  15. faith/emuna says

    from what i understand from you your daughter has sandals, gym shoes and now needs shabbat shoes. imo it makes sense to buy a good pair that she likes, even if its expensive. i wonder how many pairs of shoes the average american religious girl has?

  16. our shoe nightmare with my daughter is compounded by the width of her feet, which is greater than that of most men! Fortunately my mother decided to buy her sandals for her birthday and included the outing as part of the present. Even more fortunately, a kind salesman in one of the shops where they were unsuccessful pointed them to Birkenstock (they were in Covent Garden, London) where they were delighted to find one full price and one half price pair!
    I have never had the guts to tell a stranger to pick up their litter, but i think in London it would be dangerous to do that. yet another reason to make aliyah!

  17. Aaron Rosenberg says

    AMIT’s Mother-in-Israel
    AMIT’s Mother-in-Israel Campaign gives our donors the opportunity to share their joy and love for their own children with the more than 20,000 AMIT children in Israel.
    As Israel continues to experience a difficult economy, many of our AMIT students are lacking the resources to fulfill even their most basic needs. They are counting on the members and friends of AMIT for the funds to buy school supplies, text books, shoes and lunch, things that our own children and grandchildren take for granted. In some cases, AMIT is being called upon to supply even bus money for transportation to and from school.
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  18. mother in israel says

    How cool! Amit named their campaign after my blog.

  19. Aaron Rosenberg says

    Yes, of course. Actually AMIT’s Mother in Israel has been going on since at least 1960, perhaps earlier.
    Let’s work out a co-promotion, OK.

  20. Having to grudgingly pay respect where it’s due — I remember years ago that there was a box of trash on Palmach street in Jerusalem.
    Someone drove by, got out of his car, picked up the box and tossed it in the trash.
    That man was Ehud Olmert.

  21. your daughter sounds just like mine. one difference — my daughter is *six*! this does not bode well…

  22. mother in israel says

    My next post is up; I went from shoes to socks.
    Rafi and others who agree with my son: I told him the commenters support him and he wasn’t surprised.
    Leora, I heard there is an outlet factory in Kfar Etzion. My friend bought identical sandals for her daughter, but I wouldn’t let her tell me what she paid.
    Orthonomics, if I’m lucky I find last year’s styles on sale.
    Faith, why not compare to how many pairs I have? Not many.
    Baila, and you wanted shopping advice from me?
    Vicki, I was on a busy street.
    Aaron, my husband says he remembers the Mother-in-Israel from when his mother was in Mizrachi women.
    Jameel, leave it to you to insert politics into everything.
    Nikki, good luck! My daughter wasn’t like that at 6.

  23. Lion of Zion says

    “We saw a passenger open the door of one of the cars and gently lay an empty soft drink can, upright, on the street . . .”
    it’s not exactly like we live in the world’s cleanest city, but many israeli cities and tows and disgustingly dirty. when my wife was in israel for the first time a few years ago she was appalked when we drove around jerusalem. “this is a holy city?” she asked.
    “Teva Naot”
    my last 2 pairs fell apart pretty quickly. i wouldn’t buy another pair.
    i feel bad that i’ve just badmouthed israel on 2 counts. so to read something nice (and for some callous self-promotion), goto

  24. Lion of Zion says

    “tows and” = towns are

  25. MoI: Politics? It’s a slice of life comment 🙂

  26. I guess I never told you about my shoe shopping nightmare with Y.
    I should post about that!!
    A year and a half ago, we searched all over the place for Shabbat sandals for my eldest daughter. We found… NOTHING. I must have said something like “maybe we’ll look for shoes when we go to America (next month).” For, lo and behold, when we got to America (to visit family, not go shopping), she immediately began repeating “You promised me that we would go shoe shopping in America.” (I really hate shopping and would not promise to go shopping for anything… ever). But she said it so often, and with such intensity, that I believed her. So, we went shoe shopping.
    I’ll leave the longer version for my post…
    Suffice it to say that I bought many pairs of shoes and, in the absolute last store that we went, I literally forced my daughter to buy a pair of sandals. (i.e. I bought them and told her I wasn’t going shopping for any more shoes!)
    Over a year passed and we just went shoe shopping again.
    What a nightmare!!
    I also spent way more than I wanted, just to be finished with it!!
    (now the shoes broke, and I don’t think the store is going to fix them…)

  27. I adore Naot–comfy, pretty and those suckers stand up to a fair amount of abuse. And the inner thingy can be replaced.
    As for litter, a few weeks ago I saw a woman throw paper on the ground. I picked it up, and gave it back to her with a “you dropped this… b’pach b’vakashah”.
    She put it in the trash. 🙂

  28. I wish I had the guts to speak up to a litterer! All I do is gape dumbfounded at the gall of someone littering in Eretz Hakodesh! Ick! Way to go MIL! (and ya’ll who shared your trash buster tactics!) Don’t mess with Israel.
    Anyone want to take me shabbos shoe shopping? No one ever carries my size and I fervently daven my daughter grows normal sized feet by the time she is a teenager as to not compound our difficulties.

  29. Ok I now feel like a completely spoiled brat. I probably have around 200 pairs of shoes (including flip flops, sandals, boots, and high heels). Some of those pairs probably cost around $15 or less, but quite a few were upwards of $70. Granted, my feet haven’t grown since I was 12 (I’m 23) and I get shoes repaired/ re-soled so I can keep wearing them. Still, I am not difficult to go shoe shopping for. I often come home to my parents’ house and my mom has 2-3 pairs of shoes for me. I suppose we share the addiction to shoes because no matter how big or how thin one is, shoes, purses, and makeup always fit 😉 If you want/need fashion advice, I’m your girl. And yes, I do find bargain items quite often–I don’t own any Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos lol!

  30. Leah Peretz says

    I don’t think you would’ve got stabbed. He knows where the garbage can is, just being lazy… It’s making me angry every time I see someone throwing something on the floor with the garbage can only a few steps away. What’s important to them is at least not in the car/house. So selfish!