Max Donald Steinberg was born on November 27, 1989, in Tarzana, California in the U.S.A. He displayed his strength just hours after he was born, by lifting his head, opening his eyes and looking straight at me. I was shocked, as I had always been under the impression that a newborn baby could not lift his head up high. This was proven to not be true. This was just the beginning of how strong our son would truly become. He was born to become a Golanchik.
Staff Sergeant Max Steinberg z”l was raised in Woodland Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles. Until the age of 22, Max had never been to Israel; however in 2012, Max and his siblings, Jake and Paige, attended a Birthright trip. It was during this trip, on a visit to the Mt. Herzl military cemetery that Max decided to change the course of his life.
Max returned to the U.S. filled with a new sense of purpose – idealism for the State of Israel, its people, and the country’s right to defend itself. Strong and resolute, Max made aliyah to Israel on September 11, 2012. Just three months later, he began his service as a lone soldier with the elite Golani 13 brigade. Max, completely dedicated to his mission as a soldier in the IDF, successfully completed an advanced training course to become a sharpshooter in his unit.
As tensions rose in the summer of 2014 with the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, Max was stationed with his Golani 13 brigade near the Syrian border. With an escalation in rocket fire from Hamas, and the discovery of attack tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel, it was time for the IDF to take action in defense of its citizens.
Operation Protective Edge began in mid-July, and within hours, Max’s unit was brought from the Syrian border and repositioned on the front line of the war in Gaza. Max, who had chosen to uproot his life and commit himself to fight for Israel, lost his life in combat on July 20, 2014 at the age of 24.
Inspired by Max’s dedication to defend the State of Israel, the Jeff Seidel Student Center at Hebrew University now offers participants a new opportunity. The Max Steinberg Israel Public Diplomacy Program serves to educate and inform overseas students in Israel advocacy, arming them with the information and perspective needed to serve as ambassadors for Israel upon their return to their respective universities.