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Amar’e Stoudemire’s Excellent Adventure

Maybe-Jewish star returns from the Holy Land

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Amar’e Stoudemire, the sporting world’s most famous maybe-Jew, departed Israel yesterday after a week-long trip. The New York Knicks power forward’s Twitter feed lets us piece together his itinerary: Arrival in Jerusalem, where he hung out with “family and friends”; the necessary Dead Sea excursion, where he was “rejuvenated”; then up to Tel Aviv (“This city reminds me of Miami”—very perceptive, Amar’e, although Miami actually has more Jews); time for a work-out; and, finally, homeward-bound.

In the meantime, we learned that he may not, technically, be Jewish after all. “His mother says there’s some Jewish blood on her side, but Amar’e is just a total student of history and had been planning a trip to Israel for awhile,” his (Jewish) agent explained. “Is it possible [that he’s Jewish]? Maybe. We’re going to do some research.” Um, okay.

And then there was the interview he gave in Israel (after the jump): Amar’e Stoudemire pledging to fast on Yom Kippur, abstain from bread during Pesach, and even celebrate Shabbat (he does say that his basketball schedule may require breaches of these rituals—Tamir Goodman he ain’t). Does he come off as a bit over-earnest and out of his league? You bet. Does he seem like a fool? Absolutely not. Does one sense a Knicks-inspired publicity ploy? The cynic in me wants to, but honestly I don’t think the evidence is there. (And apparently, the Knicks are weirded out by the whole thing.) Is he, ultimately, likeable? Incredibly, and I would bet anything he is more likeable to Gentiles now, too. This is honestly one of the more quietly fascinating sports stories in some time.

Really, I don’t know exactly what to say about the whole thing except that you should read Bethlehem Shoals’s take (Shoals is the pen name of one Nathaniel Friedman, and his own background is an integral part to his essay); that keeping Amar’e Stoudemire in the Tribe is just one more reason to oppose the ultra-religious zealots currently attempting to seize control of Israeli Judaism; and that, um, well, you should really watch the interview after the jump, in which Stoudemire shows off the Star of David tattoo on his left hand and in which he has the definitive statement on LeBron James’s ditching the Cleveland Cavaliers: “There maybe could’ve been ways he could have made it a little more kosher.” OMG.

Amar’e Stoudemire Not So Jewish, Agent Happy Walters Clarifies [Fanhouse]
Amar’e Stoudemire and My Jewish Problem [The Awl]
Amar’e Stoudemire’s Quest to Israel [NYT]

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Ken Donow says:

Good for Amare. I don’t care a whit if he is not kosherly Jewish. I am happy for his efforts, happy for his having visited Israel. Gut gezukt, my brother.

Jeannie says:

As someone who converted to Judaism more than 17 years ago, I think it is wonderful that he is at least interested in his Jewish roots, something I wished I had. Although I am guessing that not many Zionists see the positive side of this as I do, but this brings Judaism a little more into the mainstream for many. I agree with Ken, happy for his efforts.

Proud of Amare for just taking the trip, being a curious-maybe Jew-maybe he is, maybe he isn’t-hope he takes the time to do a geneology study-if he were really curious, he would just do it…

victoria says:

As a Black Jew from Phoenix, Az it would be nice to have another reference than Sammy Davis, Jr. (lol)

Nelson says:

Is not only the jewish community who is proud of Amar’e
Stoudemire, Haitians are too.

The well-known hatian songswriter, Hugues Sanon was so happy to take some pictures with Amar’e Stoudemire in brooklyn new york Sundau october, 24, 2010.
The man is so tall, said the hatian-jazz singer who came from church when meet the Knicks new superstar.
i hope he will do well at the game against the Rapter wednesday night.

The 6’10” Amar’e who stopped by the “Late Show with David Letterman said “one of his top reasons on why he is excited about player in new york is because he will get a chance to use his Yiddish,” according to a source.
the $100 million worth Amar’e who finished 19 points (7-16) and 10 rebounds said his mindset was to take over.
we did not want to lose this game. you want to beats the teams you’re supposed to beat.

Nelson says:


Andrea says:

love to see the Knicks Superstar with The Haitian man Hugues Sanon. both are great singer and basketball player.

I am so glad that the Knicks got a top player.

Avrohom Wachs says:

I was fortunate to be part of a conversation that included an Ethiopian Jew, a Haitian preacher and myself a Ashkenazi Rabbi. The Ethiopian stated that the Haitians were descendants of the Hittite tribe of Africa. The word Hittites translates into “Mountain People”. Continuing, the Ethiopian asked the Haitian preacher, if he knew the French translation(French is the language of Haiti)of the word Haitians? A great big smile appeared on the face of the preacher.Yes,he replied, “Haitians,mean Mountain People”. The tree of knowledge continues to bear fruit.

e Social Network), filme actualmente en cartelera – y candidato de fuerza a “mejor película” para los premios Oscar -, es un acercamiento a un emprendimiento, a su gestación y maduración; además de aproximarnos al mundo universitario de élite en los EE.UU. Esta película – que se basa en una novela que es una biografía no autorizada por Zuckerberg -, puede ser

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Amar’e Stoudemire’s Excellent Adventure

Maybe-Jewish star returns from the Holy Land

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