UPDATE: Amar’e Stoudemire conceded today that, although he suspects that he may have Jewish heritage, it is by no means a certainty. Stoudemire tweeted today:
“2 clear everything up: I’m studying history & want 2 learn about all religions. I think I might have some Hebrew Roots & i’m researching it.”
Again, we commend Stoudemire for taking an active approach toward discovering his heritage, and, moreover, it is nice to see that Amar’e wants to be a true citizen of the world. But, if you had any suspicions over Amar’e’s newfound Judaic background, it seems your suspicions were not unfounded.
ORIGINAL: Amar’e Stoudemire is in Israel right now. Why?
Wait for it…Wait for it…
To learn about his Jewish roots.
The forward learned recently (according to Army Radio) that his mother, the only party that truly matters in defining Jewish heritage, is of Jewish blood, and this revelation–one that is undoubtedly shocking both to Stoudemire and the general population–prompted the Knicks’ new $100 million man to want to, in his own words, “2 study Hebrew…2 get a better understanding on who we R.”
The journey, about which Stoudemire stated, “ze ha’halom sheli,” (which according to Haaretz means, “This is my dream”) is actually very similar to that provided to so many American Jews by the Birthright program, which, according to its website, is meant “to strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry; and to strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people.”
According to Stoudemire, this is exactly what his trip is doing, as he says to be loving Jerusalem and as he claims to be “learning Hebrew by the min.”
We can’t be sure how reliable this latter statement is; if you’ve ever tried to learn a language, after all–especially one with a different alphabet–you would know that such a process takes a little bit longer than this.
Even still, we’re impressed by Amar’e’s initiative to connect with his roots (even if it turns out just to be a big ploy for publicity), and we will, as Amar’e’s twitter page urges his followers, “keep up!!” with his journey to the “Holy Land.”