Lilly Rivlin has used her skills as a historian and documentary filmmaker to capture Jewish history in the making. Rivlin was born in Jerusalem, but because her American-born father was drafted into the American army in 1943 and wounded in battle, the family moved to Washington, DC after the war. There, Rivlin became a Labor Zionist and headed Washington’s Habonim chapter as a teenager. She was also suspended from high school for protesting racism in the DAR. In 1960, while studying at Berkeley, she was arrested for protesting the House Un-American Activities Committee. She returned to Israel intermittently from 1963–1970, spent two years as principal researcher for Larry Collins’s and Dominic LaPierre’s acclaimed book O Jerusalem, and went on to research a TV documentary miniseries, The Jews. She settled in New York in 1972, writing journalism for periodicals from Lilith to the Washington Post and her 1990 book When Will the Fighting Stop: A Child’s View of Jerusalem. In 1984 she directed and produced her first documentary, The Tribe, about her extended family’s long history and complicated present. Her most recent film is 2013’s Esther Broner: A Weave of Women, about the Jewish feminist who created the modern feminist Seder.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Lilly Rivlin." (Viewed on March 4, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/rivlin-lilly>.