Alternative lifestyle

Sir, – With regard to your June 13 cover and the related story (“Pride 2014: Marching toward equality”), today’s political correctness is yesterday’s perversion.

The Torah, the holy writ of the Jewish people, expressly forbids homosexuality. Your magazine, in flaunting an “alternative lifestyle,” stands in opposition to sacred Jewish tradition and values.

SHOSHANA FOX
Jerusalem

Miss Landau

Sir, – I was very interested in “‘Miss Landau,’ educator extraordinary” (Books, June 13).

I grew up knowing about Miss Landau because my mother often spoke about missing out on her school.

The rabbis in Jerusalem had made an edict against sending girls to any school that taught a foreign language; this was because the girls who went to the Alliance Francaise all came out irreligious. Miss Landau aimed to break that edict and promised the girls would get a religious education, as well as learn English. So my mother’s friends and cousins were sent there and chattered away in English, while she was left out.

My grandfather did not agree with the edict but could not go against the rabbis, since he was a leading member of the community.

My mother’s niece did go to the school; her English was so good that she became Golda Meir’s secretary for a number of years.

LEAH GROSS
Petah Tikva

Sir, – I did a double take when I saw “‘Miss Landau,’ educator extraordinary.” I immediately thought it was “my” Miss Landau, also an educator extraordinaire.

Helena Landau was headmistress of the Jewish Fresh Air Home and School in Delamere, in the UK.

When I was a little girl growing up in Manchester in the late 1940s and ’50s, I suffered very badly from bronchitis every winter. I didn’t have a garden to play in; it was a heavily polluted industrial town in those days and housing was damp and cold. It was suggested by the doctor that I might benefit from going to Delamere, a home for sickly and deprived children set in the Cheshire countryside in the heart of the pine forests.

There were 40 children there, 20 girls and 20 boys, and the accent wasn’t so much on schooling but on walks in the forests, plenty of fresh air and nourishing food. The children’s ages ranged from six to 13; I was seven when I went.

Miss Landau devoted her life to looking after the welfare of the children at the school. We boarded there and were visited once a month by our parents, who arrived on a bus from the center of Manchester.

No one had a car or a phone in those days. Can you imagine now, leaving your child, visiting once a month and not phoning? But my parents and all those other parents did. There was no other way. They trusted that their children would be returned to them healthy, and we were.

Some children arrived with only the clothes they stood up in, and just like the girls described in your article, I too arrived at Delamere with a camphor bag around my neck, put there by my Ashkenazi grandma! My late mother went there in 1930, having contracted scarlet fever as a child, which left her with a weakened heart. The same matron who was there in my mother’s day was still there 20 years later, and used to mix my name up with that of my mother! I have photos of my mother and I sitting on the same sundial in the garden, me 20 years after her.

There are many old “Delamere- ites,” as we are called, who are scattered around Israel.

Some have good memories of the place, and some have bad ones. I was one of the lucky ones – I have good memories.

LINDA SIVERSTONE
Herzliya Pituah

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