Lily Haber

Obituary of Lily Haber

Lily Haber, 101 years young, passed away on May 1, 2020. She died peacefully, and despite Covid restrictions, her daughters were able to be with her through her last days. Predeceased by her beloved husband Kalman and daughter Ruth Haber Rifkin. Survived by daughters Dr. Suzanne Haber (William Thomson) and Deborah Haber (Michael Taylor), (son-in-law Robert Rifkin), granddaughters Danielle Weksler (Juan), Lisa Haber-Thomson (Ted Paxton), Rachele Haber-Thomson (Prat Panda), grandson Jordan Rifkin, great grandchildren Kalman and Owen Rifkin, Isabella, Gabriel & Eve Weksler, Io Jehanne Haber-Paxton, Remy Shaya Thomson-Panda, step-grandchildren Eric, Nathan, and Austyn Taylor, and much loved nieces and nephews.


Funeral services to be held privately.

Donations may be made in Lily’s memory at The Relief and Recovery Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester CLICK TO VISIT WEBSITE


Born in Vienna, Austria on September 22, 1918 to Ernestina and Johann Juffy, Lily entered the world on the eve of the First World War. As the chaos of a world in turmoiled settled, Lily and her sister Gisela and brother Freddie grew up with the elegance of Vienna combined with the traditions of Judaism.  


She met her husband Kalman Haber, the leader of Hashomer Hatzair at age 13. The Socialist-Zionist youth group embraced youth self-reliance, independence, and creativity with the ideology to build a homeland in Palestine (Israel) based on social justice and equality.


In 1938 the streets of Vienna became increasingly dangerous and with the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany combined with Kalman’s arrest and interrogation by Adolf Eichmann, the young couple hastily married and fled Austria. Their nine-year journey of displacement took them to Italy, Switzerland, Cyprus, Palestine and Africa. During their five years in Africa daughter Ruth was born in Zomba, Nyasaland (Malawi) and daughter Suzanne was born in Durban, South Africa. Their entire journey can be found at


Upon arriving as refugees to America in 1947, Lily and Kalman joined Lily’s sister and Kalman’s brother Joseph (the two brothers married two sisters), and settled in Rochester, NY. Daughter Deborah was born in Rochester.


Together with her beloved husband Kalman, Lily instilled in her family the principled traditions of the world in which she grew up, the flexibility of the world she had to navigate, and the new world she met with new explorations. She was the family’s matriarch, the last of her generation, the quiet pillar of strength. She will be deeply and profoundly missed by all she touched with her elegant grace.  



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