Amar’e the Jew

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As I write this, professional basketball player Amar’e Stoudemire is hanging out in Jerusalem trying to improve his Hebrew. Amar’e has been tweeting the past couple of weeks about his intentions to go to Israel, and this week he put his money where his 140 characters were.

Now a lot of Jewish blogs and news organizations have been covering this story over the past couple of days (though I’d like to remind everyone that I wrote about Amar’e and his Jewish tweets on this very blog almost three months ago). Here are some snippets of his best tweets:

I’m the new Reggie White. (RIP) I’m going 2 Israel 2 study Hebrew. It’s time 2 get a better understanding on who we R. Follow me !! Shalom

- On the flight to Israel. This is going to be a great trip. The holy land. Learn about it. This ze ha’halom sheli. Shalom.

- Boker Tov !! People. Have a great day. I’m done with a weight lift, next stop Basketball Court. All ways working. Shalom.

And of course, this one…

-Yes Indeed !! RT @Shims11: @Amareisreal Whats up w the hebrew? Are you jewish?

If you aren’t fluid in Twitter-speak, that last tweet has Amar’e claiming that he is Jewish. This might confuse people who follow both Jews and basketball, mainly because this comes out of absolutely nowhere.

All this is totally nuts and totally amazing. There is all this mystery as to why Amar’e now believes he is Jewish. According to Ha’aretz (and others), Amar’e “recently learned that he has a Jewish mother.” Wait, what? I don’t doubt the sincerity in Amar’e’s (amazing double apostrophe use!) beliefs about his heritage, but how can a writer so nonchalantly mention that he found out he has a Jewish mother? Like, it’s not like he didn’t know who is mother is. How has no one asked the quite obvious question:

How did his mother just find out she was Jewish? Was it like some weird Holocaust survivor story where a girl finds out in her 40s that her parents hid from the Nazis and pretended to be Christian? In other words, is Amar’e Stoudemire actually Madeleine Albright?

This video might help shed some light on this issue, but many questions remain unanswered. Details will follow in the upcoming weeks.