by Hezki Ezra, Gil Ronen
July 23, 2014
About 30,000 people attended the funeral of Sergeant Max Steinberg hy”d Wednesday. Max was a “lone soldier” who made aliyah on his own. He served in the Golani Brigade and was killed in Gaza.
Most of the participants in the funeral did not know Max. They were citizens who decided to honor him for his sacrifice, following requests to do so which circulated in the media.
He was eulogized by a friend who said: “I remember your smile, and instead of crying, I laugh. You are a legend. I have lost a brother and a dear friend.”
His sister said: “You are a hero for thousands of Jews today.” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said: “Over 30,000 people came to give you the honor of a hero. The strength of the Jewish people lies in people like you. This week, we buried soldiers from Morocco, Russia and Ethiopia here. Soldiers who fought for the Jewish nation. We will never forget the soldiers who are buried here at Har Herzl, which overlooks our capital, Jerusalem.”
MK Dov Lipman, himself an oleh (immigrant) from the US, read out the following eulogy:
“What could motivate a young American to leave the comforts and security of a loving home with a more familiar future ahead of him, to move to a land where he had no family, no friends, could not speak the language, was in greater danger, and had an uncertain future?
“Max made his decision to move back to Israel while on a Birthright trip to Israel in 2012, specifically while standing here, on this mountain, when he came across the grave of a fallen soldier who came from American to fight in the IDF. What sparked inside of Max when he had that experience?
“I think the answer can be found in words that Max’s mother related to the press in the United States – ‘He felt that if this was his calling, that being on the sidelines, or even in the backseat, was just not going to work,’ – Max heeded the call of Moses as we read in this past week’s Torah portion: ‘Will your brothers go to war while you remain here?’…..