President and Chairwoman

Dr. Ariella Riva Ritvo-Slifka, PhD

Dr. Ariella Riva Ritvo-Slifka is Alan Slifka’s widow and a philanthropist in her own right. Alan was her life partner, mentor, closest friend and beloved husband. Their visions aligned closely and they complemented one another as they worked, alongside their board and staff, to heal the world.

Dr. Ritvo-Slifka has been the president of the Alan B. Slifka Foundation since 2007 and its chairwoman since 2011. She has been active in biomedical, coexistence and Jewish philanthropic organizations for over 20 years. Dr. Ritvo-Slifka’s professional background is in autism research, clinical practice and teaching. She is an assistant clinical professor at the Child Study Center at Yale University School of Medicine. Her rigorous scientific background and emphasis on data-oriented results, coupled with Mr. Slifka’s vision, were instrumental in fostering the Foundation’s strategic approach to its mission. 

Born in Jerusalem, and raised in Israel and the U.S., Dr. Ritvo-Slifka understands and appreciates the diversity of Jewish expression and experience. She is committed to the perpetuation of the Jewish people through programs that cultivate Jewish literacy, identity, belonging and pluralism. She believes that fostering a commitment to Israel among young adults in the US and Israel is key for a healthy future for the state and the global Jewish identity.

As a child in Israel Dr. Ritvo-Slifka witnessed the conflict between the State’s Arab and Jewish citizens firsthand. As a result, she shares Mr. Slifka’s vision of creating an equitable shared society in Israel based on mutual understanding, tolerance and an appreciation of the unique nature of the country.  

The Slifkas understood the importance of establishing coexistence as a field of study. To this end, they expanded their work of shared societies internationally. Ms. Silver, the Foundation’s Executive Director, has been extremely instrumental in implementing this important work and the Foundation's focus with Dr. Ritvo-Slifka.

The Slifkas began funding bio-medical research and novel treatments in 2006 and it is now one of the Foundation’s core goals.  Initially, their involvement was professionally driven. However, Dr. Ritvo-Slifka lost her husband to melanoma in 2011 and their son Max has been fighting recurrent metastatic Ewing Sarcoma since 2007. Current efforts to find cures and better treatment for cancer (especially sarcoma) have become a focal point of its efforts and strategic direction. The Foundation’s current focus is on basic and translational collaborative research projects as well as targeted therapies for Sarcoma. Consistent with her professional work and expertise, Dr. Ritvo-Slifka has also created several opportunities for funding in translational and clinical research for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

As the leader of the foundation, Dr. Ritvo-Slifka sets the pace for new expanded visions and empowers her board to co-create with her. She and Mr. Slifka hand-selected a small board of close friends with whom she is proud to work. She feels privileged to continue the family legacy of Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World). As a healer, she finds that there are many ways to make the impossible possible with creative strategies and perseverance. Dr. Ritvo-Slifka is grateful to her staff, whom she works with very closely.

Dr. Ritvo-Slifka is also on the board of The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, The American Friends of Israel Museum and The Um Al Fahem Gallery. She serves on the Leadership Council of The Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, and on the President’s Circle of The Club de Madrid. 

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