President and Chairwoman

Dr. Riva Ariella Ritvo-Slifka, PhD

Dr. Riva Ariella Ritvo-Slifka is a philanthropist. She is Alan Slifka’s widow. 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 Foundation’s mission of diverse Jewish living, including providing opportunities for interfaith couples and perpetuating the Jewish People in the US and Israel.

Cultivating a world safe for difference is one of ABSF’s primary goals. The concept of shared societies, engaging in civil dialogue and believing in each human voice is something Riva Ariella Ritvo- Slifka is passionate about and pursues with her board and staff. The Slifkas understood the importance of establishing coexistence as a field of study. To this end, they expanded their work of shared societies internationally.

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 Ritvo succumbed to a 9-plus year fight with recurrent metastatic Ewing Sarcoma in 2016.  Current efforts to find cures and better treatment for cancer (especially sarcoma) have become a focal point of its efforts and strategic direction.  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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