Friday, August 20, 2010
Knicks star Amar'e Stoudemire keeps things kosher
is Jewish -- sorta.
The $100 million New York Knick, who recently traveled to Israel to research his Jewish roots, told Page Six yesterday that he's a practicing Jew "spiritually and culturally" -- and he's even keeping kosher, he says.
"I'm not a religious person, so it's not from a religious standpoint," he said.
Stoudemire sat with Page Six after traveling with 30 kids on a double-decker bus from Madison Square Garden to Times Square, where a billboard for the Garden of Dreams Foundation was unveiled.
The NBA All-Star said he was pointed toward Judaism by his "very spiritual" mother, and by his reading of scriptures since he was young. "I didn't grow up in a Jewish home. I never had a bar mitzvah, never celebrated the holy days growing up," Stoudemire said.
since returning from Israel, where he toured Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Dead Sea, Stoudemire is keeping up with his studies: "I figure, what the scriptures speak about, that's what I celebrate."
When told that some cynics suggest his new faith may help sell more Knicks tickets, Amar'e responded, "This has nothing to do with New York." For the past 2½ years, he's had a large "12 Tribes" tattoo -- referring to the 12 Tribes of Israel -- on his left bicep.
Stoudemire was inked with a Star of David tattoo on his left hand about "four or five months" ago, and has been tweeting in Hebrew for more than a year. He said he won't miss any games during the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur -- "Playing the games are my livelihood. But I'm still going to celebrate the holidays."
The 6-10 forward recently visited Midtown kosher steakhouse Prime Grill, where he received an after-dinner blessing with Rabbi Joshua Metzger (see photo, opposite page). At The Lion on West Ninth Street, he requested a kosher meal -- fish and grilled tomatoes. Mazel tov!