Rivlin, Yosef Yiẓḥak

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RIVLIN, YOSEF YIẒḤAK (1837–1896), leader of the Jewish community in Jerusalem. Born in Jerusalem, Rivlin was a fourth-generation descendant of Hillel Rivlin (see *Rivlin), family the leader of the disciples of the Vilna Gaon who settled in Ereẓ Israel in the early 19th century. He entered public life at an early age, and from 1863 until his death was secretary – and, in fact, director – of Ha-Va'ad ha-Kelali Keneset Yisrael (General Committee of Keneset Yisrael), the central body of the Ashkenazi community in Jerusalem. As such he was instrumental in unifying the Ashkenazi community. Rivlin initiated the building of the first Jewish quarters in Jerusalem outside the Old City walls, e.g., Naḥalat Shiv'ah (1869), Me'ah She'arim (1874), and other housing centers in the west and northwest of the city. He took an active part in founding the first Jewish agricultural settlement, Petaḥ Tikvah. Rivlin's writings are mostly confined to publicistic commentary. His articles in Hebrew newspapers in Ereẓ Israel and abroad described Jewish life in the Holy Land. He argued with those who criticized the social and economic conditions of the old yishuv and especially the Ḥalukkah system, for he favored gradual reform, rather than major changes. Rivlin also wrote some poetry about the redemption of Israel and the upbuilding of Jerusalem. A selection of his articles and essays appeared in book form as Megillat Yosef (1966), edited with an introduction by N. Katzburg.


P. Grajewski, Ha-Rav Yosef Rivlin (1926); Y. Rivlin, in: H.Z. Hirschberg (ed.), Yad Yosef Yiẓḥak Rivlin (1964).

[Nathaniel Katzburg]