Howard Rifkin was born in the Bronx. His grandparents, both maternal and paternal, were Orthodox Jews. However, Rifkin and his parents were not, although he was bar mitzvahed in an Orthodox synagogue, the Mount Eden Jewish Center. While Rifkin’s mother was a homemaker, she eventually worked as a bookkeeper for Maurice Ratner. His father worked as a truck driver.
For his education, Rifkin attended PS 70, Wade Junior High School, and Taft High School, all of which were within several blocks of his childhood home. Rifkin attended university for a few years at Pace College. However, he dropped out and joined the army. After his time in the military, Rifkin went back to Pace but found it difficult to manage working full-time while also going to school and being married, so he left the university.
Rifkin remembers his childhood as being positive and enjoyed the plethora of street games he and his friends would play. He is still in contact with many of his friends from the Bronx and reminisces on their time playing in the school band together. Rifkin had polio as a child but was treated early on and recovered fully, so it never hindered him physically or otherwise.
As an adult, Rifkin and his wife moved to Co-Op City, where both of their children were born. They would often take trips to a bungalow colony on the weekends and enjoyed a typical American family life. After a work opportunity presented itself, Rifkin and his family moved to Houston, Texas, where he still resides today.
Orthodox, Yiddish, PS 70, Wade Junior High School, Taft High School, Mount Eden Jewish Center, Street games, Polio, Co-Op City, Bungalow colony, Gun Hill Road, Willard Parker Hospital, Mount Eden Jewish Hospital, Montefiore Hospital
Maier Garcia, Sophia, "Rifkin, Howard" (2023). Bronx Jewish History Project. 28.