The Best School in Jerusalem

Annie Landau’s School for Girls, 1900–1960

Laura S. Schor

Annie Edith (Hannah Judith) Landau (1873–1945), born in London to immigrant parents and educated as a teacher, moved to Jerusalem in 1899 to teach English at the Anglo-Jewish Association’s Evelina de Rothschild School for Girls. A year later she became its principal, a post she held for forty-five years. As a member of Jerusalem’s educated elite, Landau had considerable influence on the city’s cultural and social life, often hosting parties that included British Mandatory officials, Jewish dignitaries, Arab leaders, and important visitors. Her school, which provided girls of different backgrounds with both a Jewish and a secular education, was immensely popular and often had to reject candidates, for lack of space. A biography of both an extraordinary woman and a thriving institution, this book offers a lens through which to view the struggles of the nascent Zionist movement, World War I, poverty and unemployment in the Yishuv, and the relations between the religious and secular sectors and between Arabs and Jews, as well as Landau’s own dual loyalties to the British and to the evolving Jewish community.

Paper: $40 | E-book: $39.99
ISBN-13: 9781611684858
Pages: 320 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: December 3, 2013

“What emerges from Schor’s portrait of Landau is a woman with extremely modern, cosmopolitan values and a stubborn desire to have her way.”



  • Laura Schor provides fascinating insights into the history of education, of women, and of social life in the holy city in the late Ottoman, British Mandatory, and early Israeli periods of rule. This thoroughly researched and admirably readable book paints a vivid picture of half-forgotten aspects of life in Jerusalem a century ago.

  • Laura Schor's The Best School in Jerusalem is an excellent and original piece of scholarship. Schor enriches our understanding of the education of Jewish women in Jerusalem during the late Ottoman and British Mandate period, and the way that the Evelina de Rothschild School and especially headmistress Annie Landau shaped the identities of young Jewish girls. It is a welcomed contribution to the field of Jewish women's history, the history of education, and Jerusalem's social history.

    Ela Greenberg
  • Schor has written a book that, with its copious notes, index and extensive bibliography, will please academics; at the same time, her literate, yet easy and almost intimate style will delight the lay reader. Her use of contemporary letters, collections, reports, reminiscences and newspaper articles adds a feeling of immediacy to shocking events, such as the Arab riots of 1929, that disrupt life in Jerusalem.

    Jerusalem Post
  • With scope and delightful detail, Schor charts the educator Annie Landau’s determination to build communal strength and opportunities among Jews in Jerusalem by providing quality education for girls. Utilizing archival sources and myriad in-person interviews with ‘Evelina’ graduates, Schor chronicles the broad-reaching vision of Landau, who combined religious goals with secular reforms to foster generations of girls and left a long-lasting legacy upon the development of modern Jerusalem.

    Barbara Bair

About the Author

Laura S. Schor

Laura S. Schor, Professor of History at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center, received her PhD in Modern European History at the University of Rochester in 1974. Her early work focused on the women silk workers of Lyon, culminating in a book, Women and the Making of the Working Class: Lyon, 1830-1870, published in 1979. This was followed, in 1983, by a study of gender role education in French primary schools, published as What Were Little Girls and Boys Made Of? In …

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