The Best School in Jerusalem: Annie Landau’s School for Girls, 1900–1960
Laura S. Schor
"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.
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.
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.
LAURA S. SCHOR is professor of history at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate School. She is the author of several books, including The Life and Legacy of the Baroness Betty de Rothschild.