By Roseanne Tabachnik/TPS • 5 June, 2019
Israel’s First Lady Nechama Rivlin was laid to rest at Mt. Herzl Cemetery on Wednesday evening after hundreds of visitors paid their respects at the Jerusalem Theater earlier in the day.
Many people who did not know Nechama personally came to pay their respects, left flowers, and lit a candle. The president and his family also came to spend time with Nechama and to thank the many people who came for their kindness.
The funeral began with President Reuven Rivlin eulogizing his late wife’s, noting it would have been her 74th birthday today.
“My Nechama, our mother. I got up this morning, you know that I didn’t manage to sleep, I looked at the date that is so familiar [to me], June 5. Happy birthday, my dear. Sad birthday,” the president said.
Rivlin thanked his children and grandchildren for staying by his wife’s side over the course of the last few months, while she had “fought like a lion.”
The late first lady passed away on Tuesday following lung transplant complications, after she had undergone surgery in March. She suffered from pulmonary fibrosis and used an oxygen tank to help her breath for many years.
Her daughter Anat eulogized her at the funeral, noting her mother’s strength while battling the disease. “She was so strong, I don’t know how she did it,” Anat said. “She really suffered, but found this inner strength to continue,” she added.
The funeral service was led by Rabbi Benny Lau. IDF chief cantor Shai Abramson sung the El Male Rachamim prayer, poet and writer Haim Be’er, Nechama’s close friend, said some words in her memory, while Rona Kenan and Alon Eder led the musical performances.
The late first lady worked for many years as a researcher at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and retired in 2007.
Rivlin is survived by three children, Rivka, Anat, and Ran, and seven grandchildren.