Photo Credit: Mark Neyman / GPO
President Reuven Rivlin, daughter Anat Rivlin and 2021 Hebrew Poetry Prize awardees in Jerusalem

The 2021 Hebrew Poetry Prize in memory of Nechama Rivlin ז”ל, the late wife of President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, was awarded Sunday (April 25 / 13 Iyyar) to poet Shlomit Appel for her book ‘Memories from the Swimsuit Factory’.

Commendations were awarded to poet Adi Wolfson for his book ‘In Body and Not Only’ and to poet Bacol Serlui for her book ‘Trembleth for Fear of Thee’, supported by the Dr. Gardner Simon Foundation. As part of the award ceremony, singer Noi Fadlon sang two of her songs, and performed Evyatar Banai’s song ‘Beautiful as the Moon’ in memory of Nechama.


The prize is awarded in memory of the president’s late wife Nechama Rivlin ז”ל, the founder of the prize who passed away in 2019. The prize was created as a joint initiative of Nechama Rivlin and the Custodian General, Sigal Yaakoby, to fulfil the legacy of Dr. Gardner Simon in promoting and encouraging writing in the Hebrew Language. Shlomit Appel wins 50,000NIS, and Adi Wolfson and Bacol Serlui each win 10,000NIS.

Congratulating the winners on behalf of the family, Anat Rivlin, daughter of the president and Nechama, said, “This is the third time that this wonderful prize is being awarded here at Beit HaNasi, the Hebrew Poetry Prize.

“This is what my mother wrote about it: ‘When I came to Beit HaNasi, I wanted to make use of my position to support and encourage artists, men and women. This year, I have the privilege of awarding a prize from the legacy of Dr. Gardner Simon, who earmarked the money for preserving writing in Hebrew. Since I love poetry, this collaboration brings me great joy.’”

“When my mother set out the outline of the prize, it was important to her that it would promote poets at the beginning of their journey. She stressed that the ‘beginning’ was not necessarily those who were young in years, but perhaps even more those whose lives had diverted them away from their passion to create and who were now fulfilling their destiny and that we could help.

“The members of this year’s committee, headed by Prof. Ariel Hirschfeld, identified with this intention of Nechama’s and did so in a fascinating and professional conversation that was truly inspiring. They read poems that they liked to each other, and I thought that my mother would have loved it.

“Shlomit, Bacol and Adi, heartfelt congratulations on winning the prize, awarded this year for the second time in memory of my mother, Nechama Rivlin. I feel that the committee’s choice of you, each one of you, would have made my mother very proud. And she would certainly have loved your poems and quoted them.”

Anat thanked Custodian General Sigal Yaakoby for her partnership, and all those who made sure the prize happened.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.