Scholarship endowed in memory of lone soldier Max Steinberg

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A scholarship endowment fund has been established in memory of Max Steinberg, an American lone soldier killed in Gaza during the summer’s Operation Protective Edge.

The Max Steinberg Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund was established by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in partnership with the fallen soldier’s parents, Stuart and Evelyn, and his siblings, Paige and Jake.

The fund was set to be formally launched Sunday in New York by American Associates Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Vice President Jessica Sillins at the Times of Israel Gala. The Steinberg family is one of three “Families of the Fallen” to be recognized Sunday evening. A portion of the gala’s profits will be donated to the fund.

The Steinberg endowment will provide scholarships to Golani and other combat reservists at the university in perpetuity, with first preference going to lone soldiers. The Steinberg family will be part of the decision process.

Max Steinberg, 24, a southern California native, was killed in July by Hamas explosives while riding in an armored vehicle in Gaza with six other members of the Golani Brigade during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. He was a sharpshooter in the elite brigade who had enlisted in the army several months after his first visit to Israel on Birthright.

“We are delighted to know that Max’s legacy will be connected to a university and scholarship program that grants opportunity and promise to the soldiers that have put their lives in harm’s way for the people of Israel,” Stuart Steinberg said in a statement. “We know that Max cared deeply for his fellow soldiers and that he would be whole-heartedly supportive of a program that allows soldiers to pursue their passions and create a great future.”

During Operation Protective Edge in July and August 2014, close to 2,000 Ben-Gurion University students were called to military reserve service, while the university was under continuous threat of rocket attacks and forced to close for more than 50 days. Every student who served in reserve duty received a scholarship in the fall.