Alan B. Slifka

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Alan Bruce Slifka
Born Alan Bruce Slifka
(1929-10-13)October 13, 1929
Manhattan, New York
United States
Died February 4, 2011(2011-02-04) (aged 81)
Manhattan, New York
United States
Residence Manhattan, New York
Nationality American
Education Harvard University, M.B.A.
Yale University
Occupation Securities analyst, investor, philanthropist
Years active 58 years
Employer Halcyon Asset Management, founder and co-chairman
L.F. Rothschild & Company
Known for The Abraham Fund Initiatives
Big Apple Circus
Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale University
Alan B. Slifka Foundation
Religion Judaism
Spouse(s) Riva Ritvo-Slifka
Children Michael Slifka
Randolph Slifka
David Slifka
Parent(s) Joseph Slifka
Sylvia Slifka
Awards Knesset Prize for Coexistence, 2000

Alan Bruce Slifka (October 13, 1929 – February 4, 2011) was a New York investor and philanthropist, a co-founder of the Abraham Fund and founding chairman of the Big Apple Circus. He was a native of Manhattan.[1]


Slifka and his sister were initially home schooled by their mother. This provided an opportunity for the twins to learn the importance of moral values and the basics of coexistence. In the fourth grade, the twins began studying at the Ethical Culture Society's Fieldston School.[2]

Slifka graduated from Yale University in 1951, where he worked on the business staff of campus humor magazine the Yale Record.[3] He then went on to earn a Master's degree in Business Administration at Harvard University in 1953.

Professional background[edit]

Following his graduation from Harvard, Slifka joined the financial firm L.F. Rothschild & Company, where he worked as a securities analyst for 32 years, rising to partner before leaving to start his own company, now Halcyon Asset Management.[2]


In 1977, Slifka became the founding chairman of the New York School for Circus Arts, a non-profit training school whose performing arm is the Big Apple Circus.[2][4] In 1993, he became founding chairman emeritus.[4] In 1995, in recognition of Slifka's lead gift to a successful capital campaign, the circus's new permanent creative center in Walden, NY was named the Slifka Family Creative Center.[5]

Together with sociologist Eugene Wiener, Slifka was a co-founder in 1989 of The Abraham Fund Initiatives, named for the common ancestor of Arabs and Jews, and served as chairman of the organization since its founding. This was the first nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering coexistence between Israel's Arab and Jewish citizens.[2] The Abraham Fund works to advance a shared society of inclusion and equality between Jews and Arabs in Israel.[6]

The Slifka Program on Intercommunal Coexistence at Brandeis University, create by Slifka in 2001, seeks to build professional expertise and creative leadership in the field of coexistence and offers a master’s degree in coexistence and conflict.[7] The Sylvia and Joseph Slifka Israeli Coexistence Scholarship at Brandeis, which Slifka funded in honor of his parents, is awarded each year to two citizens of Israel (one Jewish, one Arab) who are committed to fostering coexistence and harmony.[8]

In recognition of his work with The Abraham Fund Initiatives, Slifka was awarded the Knesset Prize for Coexistence in 2000.[6] Brandeis awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2003.[8]

Alan B. Slifka Foundation[edit]

The Alan B. Slifka Foundation was established in New York in 1965.[9] The foundation's goals include harmony not only among Jews and Arabs but also between religious and secular elements of Israeli society. In addition to fostering Jewish values and education, the foundation also promotes biomedical research on sarcoma, autism and Asperger's syndrome.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Alan Bruce Slifka was the son of Joseph and Sylvia Slifka. His twin sister is Barbara Slifka. His father owned successful textile and real estate businesses.

At the time of his death he was married to Riva Ritvo-Slifka. He had three sons, Michael, Randolph, and David.[8]


  1. ^ Hevesi, Dennis (February 9, 2011). "Alan Slifka, Who Promoted Arab-Jewish Ties, Is Dead at 81". NY Times. Archived from the original on 10 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d Young, Susan. "Alan Slifka: Venture Philanthropist". Harvard Business School. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  3. ^ The Yale Record. New Haven: Yale Record. May, 1949. p. 3.
  4. ^ a b "History of the Big Apple Circus" (PDF). Big Apple Circus. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "About us: Our history". Big Apple Circus. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Shefler, Gil (February 6, 2011). "Alan B. Slifka, 81, Abraham Fund founder dies". Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 11 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "Alan Slifka, Abraham Fund founder, dies". JTA. Archived from the original on 9 February 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Alan Slifka, philanthropist, coexistence advocate, dies". BrandeisNOW. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "Alan B. Slifka Foundation". GuideStar.