Even though A J was in Israel not long ago to celebrate his marriage in Jerusalem, our interview finally happened on Zoom, once he was already back in Miami. I had heard his entire life story and was so inspired we decided we must do a Zoom call and not wait until he comes back to Israel, for his story cannot wait any longer, to be out there for all to hear.

Allen Avraham J Steigman was born in Orlando, Florida, and grew up in Coral Springs, Florida. He learned chess at the age of 4, and played in his first tournament at age 5.

Steigman went on to be ranked #1 in the U.S. for his age group for 8 years in a row (1993–2001), and was awarded the title of Chess Master at age 13, being the first Floridian ever to make the All-America Chess Team, of which he was a member for 8 years. Steigman was selected by the United States Chess Federation to represent the U.S. in international competitions. Steigman's highest international performance was tying for 12th in the world in Cannes, France.

AJ as a child
AJ as a childRobin Frey

In high school, Steigman contracted lyme disease and took a year off from school. Suddenly his whole life was on pause. His parents had been warned that he might not survive the terrible infections that had spread across his body and even if he did, he probably would not be able to walk and talk.

A J, though, is a fighter and wanted to make it through it with all his power. He credits chess with helping his mind recover from the disease. From being a genius in chess and mathematics, he found himself starting over from zero, not even knowing how to do a simple math calculation. But that didn't stop him from trying again to make a comeback and be again at the top of his game, Steigman went on to win in the 2002 US Junior Open one year after being diagnosed.

He found his strength and inspiration from learning Torah and becoming close to religion and understanding that no matter what, G-d runs the show in this world we are just mere players, just like chess. But A J is a champion so he started playing his moves against his destiny that seemed suddenly so harsh against him, and won. Thank G-d.

AJ as a child
AJ as a childRobin Frey

After college, Steigman worked as an investment banker for Merrill Lynch in New York City before deciding to become an entrepreneur. He opened a sneaker store at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, and established one of the top Nike Tier 0 accounts in the U.S.

In 2010 he founded Soletron, a digital platform catering to streetwear consumers and sneakerheads, designed to facilitate a more direct interaction between consumers and independent brands. Soletron was acquired in July 2014 by the world's largest global streetwear retailer Karmaloop, for an undisclosed amount.

In 2017, Steigman founded Steignet.com while attending Wharton School of Business. In May 2022, The Wall Street Journal reported that in the state of Georgia, the Steignet technology platform had closed over $86MM in residential property transactions on behalf of clients in the previous year. The Atlanta Realtor Association named Steigman the #1 top producing residential real estate broker in Atlanta for 2022.

When you listen to a man who keeps on fighting and wanting to succeed and make it in every field and project he undertakes, it is simply inspiring and amazing. His belief in G-d, his love for Israel, his passion for reinventing himself every day, creating and studying new adventures is an incredible example of life living at its fullest. Like A J says: "You never know when your last day might be."

Lchaim to life and this incredible man.

Allen Avraham J Steigman
Allen Avraham J SteigmanBryan Cereijo