Eugene Ribakoff, a philanthropist and businessman who headed the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee for eight years, died last Friday at the age of 84.
Ribakoff served as chairman and president of the JDC from 2000 to 2008, during a period of rapid growth and change. He also served as chairman of the JDC’s Eastern Europe Committee, JDC’s Israel Committee, and the JDC Trans-Migrant Program.
He was awarded the Polish government’s highest presidential honor, the Star Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, in recognition of the JDC’s major contribution to Polish Jewry since World War I.
Ribakoff called his JDC tenure “the best job in the Jewish world,” according to the Palm Beach Post. Ribakoff died in Palm Beach, Fla.
He also served as deputy president of World ORT; president of the United Way of Palm Beach County; founder and president of Temple Sinai; chairman of the Florida-Israel Chamber of Commerce; and president of the Jewish Federations of both Palm Beach County and Worcester, Mass. Ribakoff was an active board member of several organizations nationwide, including the Boston Museum of Science, the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brandeis University.
A noted philanthropist, Ribakoff was also a successful businessman in the automotive business, serving for 55 years as chairman of Automotive Management Inc., a Worcester corporation that operates car and truck dealerships.