23 March 2009

Rivlin family traces 450 years, 50,000 descendants

The Rivlin family, which traces more than 450 years of history, just welcomed its 50,000th member in Jerusalem on March 23, according to the Jerusalem Post. Some 35,000 of the baby's ancestors either previously or currently reside in Israel.

The family has its own website and its genealogy documents 22 generations. The first known family ancestor, Rabbi Yosef of Ovan, lived in Vienna around 1550 and was exiled to Prague.

Among prominent members: the Vilna Gaon (Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna); Yosef Yoel Rivlin, the author of the first Hebrew-edition Koran; the first female mayor of Israel; several actresses, political figures and TV presenters; and former Knesset speakers Avraham Burg and Reuven Rivlin.

The family also activated its application to the Guinness World Records and hopes to set the record for the world's largest tribe.

In October, the main family event will take place in Jerusalem, when some 5,000 Rivlin relatives will gather to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the family's immigration to Israel in 1809, encouraged by the Vilna Gaon.

The family's first genealogical project was created and maintained by Eliezer Rivlin, who died in 1940.

Family member Reuven Rivlin said:
"Family history is very important to me, and I was brought up knowing the origins of my family. They were the real Zionists at the beginning of the 19th century. I am a Rivlin from my mother and father's side, as they are seventh-generation cousins. My father is a descendent of the Gaon and the mitnagdim [opponents of Hassidism], and my mother is a descendent of the cousin of the Gaon, who was considered to have betrayed the Gaon."
The family continues its genealogical heritage commitment, and the website says.

"It is said that a people who are not acquainted with their past will not have a future. Our family's past history is an impressive one, and it is hoped that its future will be just as great and will not constitute a disappointment to its past."

Read the complete article at the link above.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:37 PM

    Reuven Rivlin's comment that he is descended from the Vilna Gaon is incorrect. He is descended both on his mother's and father's side from the Rivlins who are descended from the Gaon's great-uncle Tsvi-Hersh ben Eliyahu of Vilna.