Photo: Yonatan Blum
דויד גרוסמן לשימוש הכתבה בלבד
Photo: Yonatan Blum

I will miss my friend Nechama Rivlin very much

As the country says goodbye to its first lady, renowned author David Grossman remembers his dear friend, her simplicity and her smile, as she is laid to rest in Jerusalem

Let me tell you a story. Nechama liked to present books as gifts to visiting dignitaries, leaders from other countries: Donald Trump or the King of Spain.



She would call me up and ask me to write a nice dedication for the visitor.


Nechama Rivlin (Photo: GPO) (Photo: GPO)
Nechama Rivlin (Photo: GPO) (Photo: GPO)

"I am sending over a book," she would say.


"Don't bother," would be my response. "I have plenty of books, let me just write something and send it to you."


"No," would be the inevitable answer. "I pay for my books and my gifts. You can do the dedication and sign it."


Nechama refused to accept anything for free. I remember one time, I invited her to one of my children's plays. She said she would love to bring her grandchildren to see the play but on condition she bought her own tickets with her own money.


These little things show us what kind of a person she was. I've always believed she could show many the way, with her small and succinct gestures, and they admired her in spite of her modesty.


Nehama Rivlin shares a moment with Paddington Bear
Nehama Rivlin shares a moment with Paddington Bear


We would meet often at literary events, but like all Israelis, I would observe her from afar, noting her behavior was always appropriate. I was constantly impressed by her simplicity, her modesty and her resoluteness.


As I speak of her, I keep thinking that I should choose my words carefully. I can envision her somewhat skeptical, somewhat ironic smile, if I were to choose wrong.


Nechama Rivlin in her kitchen (Photo: GPO)
Nechama Rivlin in her kitchen (Photo: GPO)


It maybe that our public and political sphere are so full of unnecessary noise and drama. Nechama was, in that aspect, a place of calm, and that drew people to her. She was a living example of how people could and should behave - unblemished and modest.  


More than anything else, I will remember her warm, slightly cynical smile.


I will miss her very much.


פרסום ראשון: 06.05.19, 15:29
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