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Rivlin, Joseph Joel


RIVLIN, JOSEPH JOEL (1889–1971), Israeli educator and scholar of Arabic language and literature. Born in *Jerusalem, Rivlin was the son of Reuven Rivlin, the last secretary of the general council of Keneset Yisrael. His mother, a sister of Avraham *Shapira, died when he was a week old. From 1910 to 1914, he taught at schools in Jerusalem. Rivlin was one of the main protagonists of spoken Hebrew, and he opposed the Hilfsverein and its domination of education in Ereẓ Israel. When the network of national schools was established, he became its secretary in Jerusalem.

At the beginning of World War i, Rivlin was compelled to leave Jerusalem and hide with his mother's relatives in Petaḥ Tikvah. In 1917 he volunteered to teach in Kefar Sava the children of those who had been expelled from Jaffa and Tel Aviv. He was taken prisoner there by the Turkish government and imprisoned in Jerusalem and then in *Damascus. Freed through the efforts of the engineer Gedaliah Wilbushewitz, who managed factories in Damascus for the Turkish army, Rivlin acted as his secretary until the end of the war. He remained there and taught in the Hebrew school for a time.

After the war, he took charge of the Damascus Hebrew girls' school established by the Zionist Organization. He was elected to the communal council of Damascus, together with Yehuda *Burla, who headed the boys' school; they represented the Zionist Organization in the city. In 1922 he returned to Ereẓ Israel, then went to study Arabic language and Islamic literature at the University of Frankfurt. On his return to Jerusalem in 1927, he was appointed to the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Hebrew University, and was eventually promoted to professor. In 1928 he was elected to the central organization of Ereẓ Israel Hebrew teachers and from 1930 to 1941 was its chairman. He was also a member of the Academy for the Hebrew Language. Rivlin participated actively in communal work, and was a founder and leader of many organizations, including the B'nai B'rith

At an early age, Rivlin began publishing stories, essays, criticisms, accounts of the settlement of Ereẓ Israel and its personalities, etc. He translated the *Koran and A Thousand and One Nights into Hebrew and wrote on the culture of the Kurdish Jews. He published many articles and various books on Jerusalem and its personalities.

[Benjamin Rivlin]

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