Sandy Rifkin passed away peacefully in her sleep on Saturday, September 11, 2021, two weeks before her 95th birthday.
Born Harriet Sandra August on September 27, 1926, she was the daughter of Frances and Benjamin August. Sandy grew up in Philadelphia, where she excelled in school. She graduated as Valedictorian from West Philadelphia High School in 1944. Sandy was a pre-med student at the University of Pennsylvania when she met fellow student, Arnold Rifkin. She graduated from Penn in 1948 and in 1949, married Arnold and moved to Wilkes-Barre.
Sandy joined Arnold in traveling the country selling products for A. Rifkin Company. They spent a year on the road before returning to Wilkes-Barre to raise a family.
Service to the community was an important part of Sandy’s life. Sandy served on the Board of Directors for The SPCA of Luzerne County, The Domestic Violence Service Center, The F.M. Kirby Center, The Ethics Institute of Northeast PA, Temple B’nai Brith, Hadassah, and Friends Hospital of Philadelphia. At the Jewish Community Center, she served on both the Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees.
Sandy served as President of the Temple B’nai Brith Sisterhood and the Jewish Family Service of WB. She was Chairman of the Women’s Division of the UJA. In 1991, Sandy received the first Rose Brader Award of the United Way.
Sandy and Arnold were married for 66 years. Together, they donated the residence known as Rifkin Hall, the lobby of Evans Hall and the Rifkin Café at the student center at Wilkes University. They were also responsible for a room at the Domestic Violence Service Center, a children’s corner at the Osterhout Library, an expansion for the SPCA pet cemetery, the 4 acres of land used to build the Children’s Service Center of Wyoming Valley and the original dialysis machines at WB General Hospital.
At the JCC, they created the Rifkin Resource Room and endowed the Ben August three mile run. Sandy and Arnold are Founders of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel. In 1986, Sandy and Arnold received the Community Service Award from the B’nai Brith Lodge.
Sandy is survived by children: Kathy and Paul Lantz, Michael and Margery Rifkin, Jody Brusilow and her fiancée, Jay Friedland. Grandchildren: Laura and Randy Rongione, David and Kiera Lantz, Julie and Jason Diperstein, Darcy and Chris Buck, Adam and Janette Rifkin, Daniel Lantz and fiancée, Rebecca McBride, Genevieve Brusilow and Thatcher Brusilow. Great-Grandchildren: Brady and Jack Rongione, Holden and Samuel Diperstein, Avery Lantz, and Lincoln and Jackson Buck. Sandy is also survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Mimi and Lewis August and many nieces and nephews.
The Rifkin Family will be forever grateful to Sandy and Arnold’s wonderful caregivers of eight years, Carol and Cheryl Laughlin.
Special thanks also to the excellent staff at Erwine Hospice.
Graveside services will be held Monday, September 13 at noon at the Temple B’nai Brith Cemetery on South Main St in Wilkes-Barre. The service will be available on Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/2445697344?pwd=ZGtHVFEyYlQ2TVVPVnh5NlMwWjlBUT09
Meeting ID: 244 569 7344
Vaccinated friends are welcome to call at The Woodlands from 2:00 - 5:00 pm following the service.
Shiva will be held at the home of Jody Brusilow, 80 North Ohio Drive , Beach Haven, NJ on Tuesday Sept 14th 2:00 – 4:00 pm and 7:00 – 9:00 pm and Wednesday Sept 15th 2:00 – 4:00 pm.
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