Alan Slifka, Abraham Fund founder, dies


NEW YORK (JTA) — Philanthropist Alan Slifka, founder of the Abraham Fund, has died.

Slifka died Feb. 4 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 81. 

Slifka founded the Abraham Fund in 1989. The fund, which he ran with the late Haifa University professor Eugene Weiner, is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing coexistence and equality between Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens.

In 2000 he was awarded with Israel’s Knesset Prize for Coexistence for his work as chairman of the fund.

Slifka established the Slifka Program on Intercommunal Coexistence at Brandeis University in 2001. The program established a master’s degree in coexistence and conflict, and sought to develop greater professional expertise and creative leadership in the field of coexistence.

In 2010, Slifka expanded the master’s program with the establishment of the Alan B. Slifka Chair in Coexistence and Conflict at the Heller School of Social Policy at Brandeis.

Slifka served as a member of the board of the American Jewish Congress, and as a leading supporter of the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York, whose building is named in memory of his parents. In 1995 he established The Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale University.

He was among the founders of the Big Apple Circus in New York.

Slifka graduated from Yale University in 1951 and earned a master’s degree from the Harvard Business School in 1953. He received honorary degrees from Brandeis and Haifa universities.

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