Contact Us

Israeli Flag to Serve as Fitting Tribute to Late Husband


“He was one in a million.” 

Ask Hortense Haith about her late husband today, and her eyes light up just as they did when the two first met at a Kansas City roller-skating rink nearly 70 years ago. Joseph and Hortense Haith were high school sweethearts. They married on Dec. 1, 1949 and shared more than 59 years together until Joseph passed away in August of 2009. 

On Aug. 9, nearly six years to the day since his passing, Hortense and the Haith family will honor Joseph’s memory by raising and dedicating a new Flag of Israel at Village Shalom.  

Hortense Haith holds a cherished pillow with a photo of her late husband, Joseph. Haith has funded a Flag of Israel project in Joseph’s memory at Village Shalom. 

Joseph and Hortense raised their three children in a strong Jewish household in Prairie Village, Kan. They were dedicated members of Kehilath Israel Synagogue and later Congregation B’nai Jehudah.  

“We visited Israel twice, and it has always had special place in our hearts because of that experience,” she recalled, “He [Joseph] loved it there.”  

One day Hortense looked out the window of her Village Shalom apartment and noticed there was an American flag, but not an Israeli flag. 

“I thought to myself, this building needs it,” Haith recollected.   

That day she approached Village Shalom President & CEO, Matt Lewis, with her intention to fund an Israeli flag project. 

“We had internal discussions about it before, but had not yet identified a source of funding,” said Lewis. “When approached about the project, we jumped at the opportunity – not only to serve as a proud symbol of our organization’s Jewish heritage, but also a chance to honor a great man and family.”      

The Israeli flag will be raised adjacent to the American flag currently flying in Village Shalom’s south circle drive – serving as a lasting tribute to the selfless husband and father. 

“He [Joseph] always thought about everyone but himself,” Hortense remembered fondly. “Everything he ever did was for other people. To look out my window and see it there [in his memory] – that will make me feel good.” 

The Joseph Haith Flag of Israel Dedication ceremony will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Aug. 9 at Village Shalom’s south entrance – located at 5500 West 123rd Street in Overland Park. The dedication will feature prayers and remarks by local rabbis, and the flag will be presented by the Jewish War Veterans Mo-Kan Post 605. Community members are welcome and encouraged to attend.