1,000 gather for Max Steinberg memorial service in LA

Ben Sales

(JTA) — A memorial service for fallen Israel Defense Forces soldier Max Steinberg, a California native, drew 1,000 people.

The service Tuesday night, held at Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, paid tribute to Steinberg’s American childhood and his service in the IDF, according to the Times of Israel. Steinberg, 24, a sharpshooter in the Golani brigade, joined the IDF two years ago and was killed on July 19 while fighting in Gaza.

Steinberg’s parents, community rabbis and U.S.-born Israeli Knesset Member Dov Lipman spoke at the service, where they praised Steinberg’s dedication to Israel — which he first visited on a 2012 Birthright trip before moving there later that year. Steinberg’s parents’ first trip to Israel was for his funeral in Jerusalem, which drew 35,000 people.

“Nothing can duplicate the love showered on our family by the people of Israel,” Steinberg’s mother, Evie, said at the event, according to the Times of Israel. “We have no regrets that Max made the choice to enlist in the IDF. Max was a Golani, a trained, expert sharpshooter and was determined to fulfill his service. On the way, Max found his inner peace.”

Due to fears of anti-Semitic attacks, the event was surrounded by heavy security.