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Jewish Dad Saves Teen’s Life

Jewish Dad Saves Teen’s Life

Coach Steven Greenberg’s quick actions saved the life of a visiting player who suddenly collapsed and was unresponsive.


The junior varsity basketball game had already begun. Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Skokie, Illinois, was hosting Luther North College Prep, a Christian school from Chicago’s northwest side.

Suddenly, a commotion erupted on the visiting team’s bench. Luther North’s coach started yelling for help; one of the players,15-year-old Maleek Allen, had collapsed and lay motionless on ground.

Two dads from Ida Crown Jewish Academy leapt into action. Elisha Rosenblum was in the gym selling snacks for a school fundraiser and waiting for his son to play in a varsity game later that night. “I heard a crash,” he recounted in an interview. “I looked over and saw a kid sprawled out on the floor.”

Elisha is familiar with automated external defibrillators (AED), having ensured that his synagogue acquired one of the life-saving machines. Elisha raced to get the school’s AED machine. “People told me they had never seen me run so fast.”

Meanwhile, Steven Greenberg, who was watching his son play, dialed 911 and reported an emergency. The dispatcher asked him about the patient and he ran over to the visiting team’s bench to put their coach on the phone.

Steven Greenberg

Steven Greenberg

When he got there, he saw the AED machine. “People were yelling, saying ‘stay with us,’” Greenberg explains in an exclusive interview. “I saw the machine sitting there unused. At that point nobody was doing anything to help the child other than asking if he’s breathing and he was unresponsive.”

Greenberg had never used an AED machine before but he knew what to do. As an assistant coach on the Ida Crown Jewish Academy’s baseball team, Greenberg was required to undergo first aid training.

Opening the AED machine, he quickly found the first paddle but couldn’t locate the lead for the second. As precious seconds went by, he examined the machine and with help from the Luther North coach, he located the second lead. He placed it on the player’s chest and administered a life-saving shock that restarted his heart. Within moments, Maleek Allen took a breath.

Maleek, right, with his parents

Maleek, right, with his parents

The AED machine indicated to start CPR, and Greenberg did, following the machine’s instructions. After a few minutes, an EMT and ambulance crew showed up and Greenberg returned to the stands, trying to answer other parents’ questions about what was happening. “I received a text from the EMT in the ambulance Maleek saying he was responsive, and if it wasn’t for the coach who performed CPR he wouldn’t have made it…. I had a moment to myself and broke down.”

“We’re very appreciative,” Maleek’s father Corey Miggins told reporters after his son’s collapse and surgery. “We’re very grateful and we just thank God that we have Maleek here.” Doctors discovered that Maleek has a serious condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Greenberg drove to the local hospital where Maleek Allen was taken and stayed until he was transferred to a larger medical center later that night. The next day Greenberg’s heroic role in saving Maleek Allen went viral.

“I don’t know why it’s resonated so much,” Greenberg reflects. “I don’t look at it as being hero. I look at it as something everyone would want to do.”

Greenberg feels that his story resonates with people looking for some good news in the world. “I think that with all the bad stuff going on right now, whether it’s shootings in Chicago or situations in our country with hatred and violence, I think people are very much looking for good news.”

Ida Crown Jewish Academy dedicated a “Day of Learning” to encourage Torah learning and good deeds in the merit of Maleek Allen’s complete recovery, and to thank Steven Greenberg.

The incident has reinforced Greenberg’s view that nothing in life is random. Elisha Rosenblum, who raced to get the AED, concurs. Noting that many things went right that fateful night in the gym, he realizes “God was watching over that kid.”

“God put me in that situation, and put Maleek in that situation so that something could be learned from it,” Greenberg explains. “So much is out of our control. It’s up to each of us to choose how we respond to the circumstances in which we find ourselves. We have a responsibility to save lives.”

January 31, 2017

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Visitor Comments: 4

(4) Helen Schwab (Chaiah), February 1, 2017 11:14 PM

The public needs to know that AED machines tell you exactly what to do!

The AED machine leads you thru' the steps you need to do; I took a refresher course in CPR and they also showed us the AED machine.

In my opinion, EVERYONE over the age of 14 should be shown how to perform CPR and how to use an AED. Just turn it on!

I had to learn CPR to work as an aid in a kindergarten, and I'm glad of it. It's been simplified over time, so today, they recommend you just do the chest pushes, not the mouth-to- mouth, for someone who is not breathing. HARD & FAST in the middle of the chest -- that's all you need to know. And as for the AED, just turn it on and do what it tells you!

Lives can be saved if the public is informed!!!

(3) Jewish Mom, February 1, 2017 12:29 PM

Don't be afraid to act!

Mr. Greenberg is a role model we need to learn from. We need to overcome the fear of insecurity - taking necessary action even when we don't have it all down pat in advance. Moving out of one's comfort zone is daunting for many people. When they're not 100% sure what need to be done, they freeze and do nothing, even though they'd really like to be there for someone. Steven Greenberg saw an AED machine with only a foggy idea of how to use it, but he knew that immediate action was required to save a life, so he took it! He acted like Nachshon ben Aminadav who jumped into the sea and then G-d split it. G-d split the sea for Mr. Greenberg as well - together with others, they found and attached the leads, shocked Maleek's heart into beating again and successfully administered CPR. Greenberg saved a life without waiting for more complete knowledge, a greater sense of security or for a bigger expert to come along. Let's think how we can act, not only in matters of life and death. Even if we think there are more qualified people around, we have what to offer, too. Don't be afraid to volunteer for a good cause! Don't be afraid to play matchmaker and introduce young Jews to each other! Step up to the pate - your efforts count!

(2) Sara, February 1, 2017 7:43 AM


we need more of this. it should just be revealed good though. not thru suffering, but thru rejoicing, and bridging the gap between the african american communities and the Jewish community.

(1) Anonymous, February 1, 2017 2:48 AM

A few words about heros and heroines.. everyday people.

ne can "train" or go into training to BECOME a HERO.
There is no B.A., MS or Ph.D programs that teach people who to be heroes. What makes a hero? Being informed, aware and caring about others in need or needing any kind of help.. They are everyday heroes and heroines..People who understand that we are all in this world together, and we do need each other, even though modern equipment also helps when we take the time to learn how it can be used. That makes it possible for everyone to learn how to become a hero.

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