Basketball star Amar’e Stoudemire came straight from Miami to Israel and plays on the Hapoel Jerusalem team. But this is his side reason for coming to Israel. His inner reason is the spirituality he seeks and the bond to Judaism he has felt for many years which became central in his life recently. His aim in bringing his family, his wife and 4 children to Israel was to expose them to the Jewish Israeli life that he hopes to adapt.
These past few years Amar’e keeps a lot of Jewish laws including wearing Tzitizth (fringes) eating kosher and he also learns Torah. His family is actually following in his footsteps and after coming to see Israel chose to come live in Jerusalem.
In the Yedioth Acharonoth newspaper one of Amar’e’s friends said about him: “He loves Israel very much and even his family grew attached to the atmosphere here.” The family connection to Judaism makes their acclimating to living in Israel easier and they hope to stay here long term.
What about his basketball playing? His friends say that in spite of his great achievements in basketball (The media was debating if he’ll be in the Basketball Hall of Fame) he is very humble and doesn’t try to shine as a star. He prefers to be an integral part of the team and to feel personally part of it. “He’s an awesome person and everyone loves him” a fellow player says. “The team’s success is very important to him and he always pushes and tries to help. He doesn’t have even a drop of stardust which is not something self understood for a player of his stature to behave as humble as he does.”