Ma'ayan Yitzhak Rothenberg was born on December 7, 1988 on Kibbutz Beit HaEmek to Elaine and Mark. The youngest of three sons, Ma'ayan was the first of his family to be born in Israel. His family made aliya from the US in 1986 and settled in Beit HaEmek.
Ma'ayan attended the Ma'ayanot Elementary School in Kibbutz Cabri and went on to the Sulan Tzor High School in Kibbutz Gesher Haziv. He had a great love for the cinema, spending hours watching movies, and for sports, excelling in soccer, basketball and tennis. He served as a youth leader as part of the school's TALMA program
Before being drafted, Ma'ayan wrote to the Minister of Defense and the Army Chief of Staff in a vain attempt to raise his low medical profile and being accepted into Sayeret Matkal. Instead, on July 29, 2007 he was drafted into the Armored Corps.
After an initial period of difficult adjustment, Ma'ayan earned the outstanding cadet award. Then, on November 28, 2007, during a training course, Ma'ayan suffered a head injury from a tank cannon. He was rushed to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba but succumbed to his injuries two days later, on November 30, 2007. He donated his organs to seven people. Ma'ayan was buried in the Kibbutz Beit Haemek cemetery. He is survived by his parents and his brothers Dani and Ilan.