Photo Credit: Mark Neiman / GPO
Nechama Rivlin, z'l, and President Reuven Rivlin

Nechama was born in 1945 in Moshav Herut in the Sharon region.

Her parents, Drora (Keila) and Mendy Shulman, immigrated from the Ukraine and were among the founders of the moshav. Nechama studied from kindergarten until the end of the elementary school in the area. She completed her high school studies at the Emek Hefer Ruppin Regional School, and due to back surgery, she received a postponement of her army service.

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In 1964 she began studying at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, studying natural sciences. She graduated with a BSc in botany and zoology and holds a teaching certificate in these departments.

In 1967 she began working at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a researcher in the Department of Zoology, and then moved to the Department of Ecology and the Department of Genetics. In addition, Nechama studied the history of art in the fields of modern, classical and ancient art.

Nechama Shulman Rivlin

In 1971 she married Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin and settled in Jerusalem. Nechama had three children – Rivi (Rivka), Anat and Ran. She was grandmother to Matan, Ziv, Shai, Karni, Maya, Daniela and Yahav, and sister to Varda.

In 2007 Nechama retired and then discovered that she had an incurable lung disease that required her to use a portable oxygen device. When Nechama moved to Beit HaNasi, she chose to focus on art, activities for children with special needs, the environment and nature, through compassion and love of people.

In a post she wrote about the book Paddington Bear Nechama wrote: “How often do we pass an injured animal or bird and look away, just so we do not have to take on the burden of caring for it?” Later, she even voiced a character in the film based on the book.

Nechama set up a community garden in the garden of the President’s Residence, where children from all over the country came to plant and plant plants, spices and flowers on a regular basis.

Nechama was a regular visitor to Israel’s cultural institutions, particularly those in Jerusalem, out of true love for art in all its forms. Nechama was particularly fond of the Cinematheque and Smadar cinemas in Jerusalem, where she used to watch films regularly.

Nechama’s fondness for Hebrew literature and art led her to write from time to time about writers and artists who particularly appreciated the posts she published on the official Facebook page of the president. She generally began her posts with the words “Hello everyone, Nechama here,” and signed them “Yours, Nechama.” They became especially beloved to followers of the page and to lovers of culture and art in Israel.

In 2018, Nechama established the President’s Award for Hebrew Poetry. On the committee’s announcement of the winner Amichai Hasson, Nechama said, “I congratulate the lovers of language and words, the writers and poets who make magic with them and wish that our world will always have people in it who make poetry from it.”

May her memory be a blessing

יהי זכרה ברוך

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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 Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.