Daniel Haas was born on December 9, 1955 in Cleveland, Ohio to Meyer and Shoshana. He studied in Jewish schools in his hometown and was active in Bnei Akiva.
From his childhood, Daniel displayed a rare talent in fine mechanics, and through this ability, he expressed himself. When he was 10 years old he built a talking robot. At the age of 14, he built a hang glider, which actually flew to the amazement of the folks watching. He taught himself martial arts (he even had his own hidden dojo on school grounds!) and was self-taught in guitar, both of which he mastered.
Everything Daniel did was meticulous and organized. Thanks to his skills, he learned to design gold jewelry and gemstones. Daniel made aliya in 1979 and began to study philosophy at Bar-Ilan University. He felt that he wanted to immerse himself fully in Israeli society, and to that end began studying in the ulpan in the Yishuv Ofra, where he worked half a day, and studied Ivrit intensely the other half. He had built a motorcycle out of spare parts before he made Aliyah, and he wanted it with him. Bringing a vehicle to Israel entailed heavy taxes, so instead he shipped it to Israel in pieces, and right there on Haifa port, he took out his tools and assembled it in front of the curious onlookers, and drove himself home!
Daniel joined the army and served in Nachal, and later became what is know in army terms as a "mefaked kita". As the commander for his group of soldiers, he took his job very seriously and saw it as a calling to help impart good values, which he learned at home.
All this time he was homesick as no immediate family yet lived in Israel. Daniel was a "lone soldier" before it became a common step to take.
His dream was to open his own jewelry shop in Ofra. Daniel designed a mechanical hand that would enable handicapped veterans to work in this shop. During the Peace for Galilee campaign in June 1982, Daniel was no longer in the active army. He was not among the first called up to fight, so he contacted his commanders and requested to be drafted to reserve duty (his first and only miluim). Leading his unit on July 21, 1982 on a morning patrol in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, he encountered an enemy ambush. Since he carried the Mag machine gun, his job was to give cover fire while his soldiers reloaded. He was killed in the exchange of fire on Rosh Chodesh Av, along with 4 other soldiers that day.
Daniel Haas was buried in Har Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem. He left behind parents (since deceased), 4 sisters and their families, and many nieces and nephews who are named for him, as well as many friends.
Daniel's friends from Ofra created a book of memories of Daniel and letters that he wrote. A Torah library was established in his name in Ofra, as well as a playground. Donations from Young Israel in Cleveland helped establish a fully-equipped mobile synagogue that travels from base to base as needed. In Jerusalem, the VCI Daniel Haas Center (Volunteer Clevelanders in Israel) was created, which assisted new olim from Cleveland.
May his memory forever shine and be a blessing for Am Yisrael.