New York Knicks star Amar'e Stoudemire has officially decided to take his connection to Judaism
one step further. The power forward, who was in Israel
recently as the assistant coach of the Canadian basketball squad during the Maccabiah Games,
has applied for Israeli citizenship.
Stoudemire was raised with an awareness of his Jewish heritage, but over the past few years, his fascination for the religion and culture has grown substantially. At his wedding last year he wore a skullcap and prayer shawl, and during an interview with JTA last month he shared that he regularly speaks with New York rabbis, studies Torah and observes High Holidays.
"I’m not a religious person, I’m more of a spiritual person, so I follow the rules of the Bible that coordinate with and connect with the Hebrew culture," Stoudemire told JTA.
He also became part owner of the Israeli basketball club Hapoel Jerusalem last month.
Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walter, confirmed with New York Magazine that his client had applied for Israeli citizenship.
“He’s getting citizenship,” Walters said. "He applied, and he’s there now."
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life