Harold Haftel 92 of Tarpon Springs was born in Brooklyn January 31, 1926 and passed away March 13, 2018.
Harold’s parents and two sisters moved to Felmington, NJ, where they had a chicken farm. After studying agriculture in Pennsylvania, Harold was employed by the Department of Agriculture. In the 1960s he was sent to Dunedin to be the inspector of HP Hood & Son’s Orange Juice. Harold brought his parents to Florida and bought land in Tarpon Springs to build a chicken farm for his father, a double amputee, to have something to do. The 40 acres eventually became an orange grove.
Harold was one of the first members of Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater – when services took place in a storefront donated by Rubin Rutenberg – where he remains a member and supporter. Over the years, Harold also supported Temple B’nai Israel.
Harold spent time in Israel on a kibbutz and found his way to the Weitzman Institute of Science. He learned of the amazing new drip irrigation being developed in Israel and used the technology in his own orange grove. The Weizman Insti tute has remained Harold’s passion and he currently sits on the board of directors. The seven-figure financial contributions Harold has made to the Weizman Institute exemplify his passion for Israel and what he calls the world’s “brain power.”
Although he never married, he sowed deep roots within the community, volunteering for the Rotary Club for nearly 40 years. Harold supports theJewish Federation as a major donor and has been a member of B’nai B’rith and other local Jewish organizations. For the past five years Harold has picked up donated eyeglasses at local libraries to be distributed to people in need.
Graveside services will be 11:30 am Friday, March 16, 2018 at Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park, Clearwater.
David C. Gross Funeral Homes, Belcher Road Chapel in Clearwater is serving the family.