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"Recommend this entertaining and highly informative book both for learning about this time in history and the strong woman it describes."
“I started reading your book yesterday and I simply couldn't put it down! Quite a fascinating story.”
The story of Rae landy
On a brisk winter day in 1913, Rae Landy boarded a ship headed to Palestine. Her final destination was Jerusalem, a desolate city filled with disease and poverty, languishing under the indifferent rule of the Ottoman Empire. Along with nursing partner Rose Kaplan, her mandate was to set up a district nursing system under the auspices of a new Zionist women’s organization called Hadassah.
The two nurses braved tremendous hardships to bring hope and better health to the people of that ancient city. Arriving in Palestine full of high aspirations and ideals, the nurses were rapidly jolted to reality when faced with the people’s deplorable living conditions and mistrust of their work. They were shocked to see that many diseases were treated with magical spells and amulets. As the nurses slowly carved out a place for themselves in the city, gaining the loyalty and then the love of their patients, they enjoyed a lively social life with the many colorful personalities that lived in and visited Jerusalem.
The sudden eruption of World War I was catastrophic for Palestine, particularly in Jerusalem, and brought a dramatic halt to their way of life. When Rose had to leave the country at the end of 1914, Rae was all alone, facing the onslaught of famine, starvation, and the never-ending misery of the people.
Winds Over Jerusalem: The story of Rae Landy, pioneer nurse of Hadassah provides a rare, eyewitness account of this critical time in history through the lens of two American Jewish women. It adds insight to and understanding of the complex relationship that still exists today between American Jews and Israel and the United States government.
the story behind the story
Rae Landy kept a journal while she was in Jerusalem, but due to her fear of being arrested by the Ottoman authorities, she destroyed it right before she left the city. She later wrote that she always regretted this action, and even reflected on several solutions she could have employed to save this important reservoir of information. Because of her actions, the only firsthand accounts we have of Rae's time in Ottoman Jerusalem are preserved in the Hadassah newsletters, which contain excerpts of Rae's and her partner nurse Rose Kaplan's letters they sent to Henrietta Szold. Their original letters were lost or destroyed.
To write this book, I relied on these excerpts, found in the Hadassah archives, which provide fascinating details of life in Jerusalem, and which are heavily excerpted in this book. But I also had to find other sources that documented life during 1913-1915 Palestine, the last years of the Ottoman Empire. It was a fascinating journey, where every day new treasures were revealed. I encourage anyone who is interested in historical research to pursue this passion. Archived newspapers that are now digitized were a tremendous source of information. The website forgottenbooks.com gave me access to original writings of that time period, which presented additional invaluable insight into the stories that I found to be just hinted at in published books about this time period. And digitized archives, such as those of the Library of Congress and the Joint Distribution Committee were fantastic.
I felt like a detective as I pieced together my great-great-great aunt's story, taking one sentence she wrote and then finding others' documentation to fill in the blanks. My hope is that this book will fill in a large gap of knowledge of this time in history, and of course, to reveal the story of Rae, a brave, strong woman of her time, that until now, history has largely forgotten.
Rae Landy's Life in Pictures
Rae before and after Jerusalem
Jerusalem 1913-1915: Hadassah Nurses' Settlement
Jerusalem 1913-1915 Events and People
1. Winds Over Jerusalem is now available on Kindle! So, please tell your friends and family that prefer to read e-books. Now they can also enjoy the story of Rae Landy.
2. Winds Over Jerusalem was featured in Hadassah magazine. Check it out here:
3. I thank everyone who has written a review on Amazon. I’ve reached over 13 reviews and I’m looking to hit 20 now. So, if you’ve read my book, and you like it, please post a review on Amazon.com. It helps my book get more visibility!