August 20, 2019

Nechama Rivlin Was Us

“Almost every appreciation of Nechama Rivlin says the same thing, that she was humble in a way that elevated all of the rest of us. She had no airs, she was not fancy, she was direct.

A childhood friend said that when she would invite the old gang, women who were friends on the moshav almost 70 years earlier, to the President’s Residence, she served them cake she’d stayed up late the night before baking herself.

Shelly Yachimovich, the Knesset member and former head of the Labor Party, who was a close friend, said that she spoke to Nechama Rivlin on the phone just a few days before she died, and Nechama Rivlin told her she was reading David Grossman’s new book but it’s become hard for her to focus to read. Yachimovich offered to come to the hospital to read the book aloud to her. Nechama Rivlin said that David Grossman made the same offer but she couldn’t possibly trouble him that way.

Grossman himself told the paper how every so often, Nechama Rivlin would call to say that “she wanted to give one of my books as a present to a leader from another country, Trump or the King of Spain. She would phone and ask me to sign the book and write a dedication. She said, I’ll send you a book to sign. I said to her: No need, I have lots of copies. I’ll sign one and you can give it. She said, Absolutely not. I’m buying a book with my own money, and you’re signing it. And that is what happened.””

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