November 21, 2018

Dr. Ruth Spices Up Youth Summit

Amar’e Stoudemire and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Photo by Deborah Danan.

It’s mid-May at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit and the Tel Aviv weather is as unpredictable as the conference lineup. The morning opened with oversized hail that rocked the city and an equally stirring speech by pint-sized spitfire and sex therapist Ruth Westheimer.

In perhaps the strangest-ever confab panel, Westheimer, known as “Dr. Ruth,” doled out sex advice to startup co-founders.

“I promise you good sex for the rest of your life if you can adhere to my [advice],” she quipped.

The world-famous sex therapist yielded the floor to world-famous sex symbol Bar Refaeli, who spoke about her entrepreneurship and, in particular, her partnership with sunglasses chain Carolina Lemke. To Refaeli, being a pretty face isn’t enough to make it these days. The model and actress looks to Kim Kardashian as a role model who has managed to stay current in a fast-paced world.

“Kim Kardashian is the most successful businesswoman that I can appreciate,” Refaeli said, adding that the reality TV star is “super smart.”

“She got famous from a sex tape and managed to become a mega-millionaire,” Refaeli noted.

But, she said, “I never want to become Kim Kardashian,” since that level of fame “is too much for me.”

In a comic moment, 6-foot-10 former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire posed with 4-foot-7 Westheimer.

The summit also assembled a roster of major names from the venture capital world to mentor the participants.

Stoudemire, who said he might return to Israel next year to resume playing for Hapoel Jerusalem, a club in which he is part owner, told the Journal that he hoped to convert to Judaism, saying it’s on the “the top of my list of things” to do.

This is the first year the summit is global, with entrepreneurs from 38 countries taking part. It is the third year 30 Under 30 is being held in Israel, which according to Forbes’ Chief Content Officer Randall Lane, is the most fitting host country for a conference of this kind.

“We’ve got young entrepreneurs from across the entire world meeting here, in the crossroads to the entire world,” Lane said.

“[Israel] is a place where all worlds come together, so there’s a symbolism there,” he added.

The 700-person event is unique because the only unifying theme is entrepreneurship among millennials. The advantage to that, Lane said, is that participants aren’t in competition with one another. The cross-pollination means that you’ll have boutique doughnut store owners collaborating with developers of a meditation app.

“It’s a conference of people who are doers,” Lane said.

The summit also assembled a roster of major names from the venture capital world to mentor the participants, ranging from Midas List honoree David Fialkow of General Catalyst to Jerusalem Venture Partners founder Erel Margalit.

But it isn’t all work and no play. Festivities included a beach party in Tel Aviv, a bar crawl in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market, and an all-night music festival in a Bedouin tent in the desert with a performance by Kevin Olusola from a cappella sensation Pentatonix.

Olusola, whose band was one of the recipients of the 30 Under 30 award, was on his first visit to the country.

“It’s amazing to see what’s going on with the tech/startup world in Israel, and to meet such a diverse crowd of intellectuals who are trying to change the world with their creative capital,” he told the Journal.

Of course, the conflict is never far from anyone’s mind in this part of the world. On the last day of the summit, participants will visit the first Palestinian planned town and tech hub of Rawabi, where local problem-solving startups will compete for investment. According to Lane, the idea is to demonstrate that entrepreneurship is the ultimate bridge-building tool.

“There’s a reason a lot a great ideas come from people in their 20s,” Lane said.

“Young entrepreneurs are the ones who are going to solve the problems, not politicians,” he added.

Amar’e Stoudemire will not return for second season with Israeli team

Hapoel Jerusalem new basketball player Amare Stoudemire speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem on Aug. 8, 2016. Photo by Flash90

Amar’e Stoudemire announced that he will not be rejoining Hapoel Jerusalem to play a second season.

The 34-year-old former NBA All-Star did not indicate in his Instagram post Friday what his exact plans are for the upcoming basketball season, but he said he will become a shareholder in the Israeli team again.

“Although I would have liked to return for another season, the team, coach and I could not find a role that I felt would allow me to meaningfully contribute in the way I have always been accustomed to play,” Stoudemire wrote. “I feel it is my time now to return to the shareholder’s position and help make this team even better.”

Although he noted in his post that the team with his help won Israeli championships and reached the semifinals of the EuroCup tournament, the past season was at times tumultuous for the star forward. The Israeli media reported that he had a rocky relationship with the Hapoel Jerusalem coach and his son was barred from playing on a local team because he is not an Israeli citizen.

He also had to apologize for making a joke about what he would do if he had a gay teammate.

In June, Stoudemire said a return to the NBA for a team that needs “quality veteran leadership” was an “option” for him.

Stoudemire identifies with the Hebrew Israelites, African-Americans who believe they are connected to the biblical Israelites, and observes Jewish holidays.

Amar’e Stoudemire unsure if he will play basketball again in Israel next year

Amar’e Stoudemire playing for Hapoel Jerusalem in a game against Maccabi Tel Aviv in Jerusalem on Feb. 16. Photo from Flash90

Amar’e Stoudemire returned to Miami from Israel but does not know if he will be back to play basketball despite applying for citizenship.

Stoudemire and his Hapoel Jerusalem club won the Israel Premier League championship last week.

“It felt amazing after a long season to lift up the championship trophy,” the former NBA All-Star told the New York Post in an interview published Wednesday.

Stoudemire, 34, also told the Post he is weighing his options for next year, including retirement, returning to play for Hapoel Jerusalem or playing again in the NBA, perhaps with the New York Knicks, a former team.

The 6-10 forward said he would enjoy defending Hapoel’s title, but the Israeli media have reported that he did not see eye to eye with the Hapoel coach.

Stoudemire was a partial owner of Hapoel, which he had to suspend in order to play. He signed a two-year contract with the club last year.

“The fans have been amazing — at every game they’re cheering, ecstatic all game and positive,’’ Stoudemire told the Post.

Stoudemire —who isn’t Jewish but identifies with the Hebrew Israelites, African-Americans who believe they are connected to the biblical Israelites — told the Post of his religious observances.

“I follow all the laws of Moses, Passover with unleavened bread, Yom Kippur, the culture and law of the land,” he said. “It was perfect for me. I was able to adapt easily because we all followed the same laws of the Torah.’’

Stoudemire’s wife and children spent the year with him in Israel.

With Amar’e Stoudemire’s help, Jerusalem looks to overtake Tel Aviv as Israel’s basketball capital

Jerusalem basketball fans know that when the owner of their team tweets a smiley face, the signing of a new player is about to be announced.

The day before Amar’e Stoudemire made the surprise announcement that he would be leaving the NBA to play for Hapoel Jerusalem, Ori Allon tweeted a video of an active volcano that appears to be smiling. Rap music plays in the background: “Nothing can stop me. I’m all the way up.”

The signing of Stoudemire, a six-time NBA All-Star and the biggest name to ever play for the Israeli Basketball Premier League, instantly makes Hapoel Jerusalem the team to beat. It could also mean that Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv and its powerful Maccabi Tel Aviv team, will soon be the face of Israeli basketball worldwide.

“Amar’e Stoudemire can be the guy who overturns the pecking order of Israeli basketball,” Eran Soroka, an NBA analyst for Sport5 television channel and chief editor at the Nana10 news website, told JTA. “The increased competitiveness and exposure will make Hapoel Jerusalem, not Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel’s team for the first time in decades. Stoudemire just has to perform.”

Stoudemire, who claims Hebrew roots and has visited Israel many times, told reporters at his basketball camp for Jewish and Arab kids in Jerusalem on Monday that he had turned down offers from at least three NBA teams. He said he felt his best chance to win his first championship was in Israel.

“To be able to continue to play the game of basketball in Jerusalem is an opportunity that can only happen once in someone’s lifetime and, for me and my family, we want to take advantage of this opportunity while I still have good health,” he said. “The most important thing for me right now is to try and create a winning atmosphere around Hapoel Jerusalem.”

In 14 seasons in the NBA, during which he battled injuries, Stoudemire averaged 18.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He was drafted in the first round by the Phoenix Suns and later played for the New York Knicks for several years before finishing his NBA career with the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat. At 33 years old, the 6-foot-10 forward is thought to have some basketball left in him.

Stoudemire and his wife, Alexis, are shopping for a home and looking at schools for their four children.

Omri Casspi posing for photos with kids at Amare Stoudemire’s basketball camp in Jerusalem, Aug. 8, 2016.

The signing of Stoudemire will bring increased attention to the team and the league, but it won’t have a “dramatic” financial impact, according to a source in the Hapoel organization who requested anonymity to discuss internal matters. The key will be success on the court, the source said.

“When we travel abroad, I assume the local media is going to be much more interested than it used to be,” the source said. “At the end of the day, if we win basketball games and we win titles and were able to create on-the-court success behind Stoudemire, then the signing will have been a good move.” (Stoudemire’s salary was not disclosed.)

Though the source said Hapoel Jerusalem is not trying to “dethrone” Maccabi Tel Aviv, he acknowledged the team wants what its competitor has.

Maccabi Tel Aviv has been the undisputed king of Israeli basketball for decades. Between 1976 and 2008, it won all but one Israeli Basketball Premier League championship, and has won four of eight since. Maccabi Tel Aviv is the only Israeli team that plays in the EuroLeague, Europe’s top basketball division — which it has won six times, including three times between 2001 and 2005. David Blatt guided Maccabi to an improbable league title in 2014 before becoming the first coach to leap from the EuroLeague to an NBA head coaching position, with the Cleveland Cavaliers, later in the year.

Long a middling team, Hapoel Jerusalem has been on the rise since Allon, an Israeli high-tech magnate, took over ahead of the 2013 season. He led a group of investors, including Stoudemire, in buying the team after its previous owner, the American oil tycoon Guma Aguiar, disappeared in 2012 and his unoccupied boat landed off the coast of Florida. Stoudemire gave up his stake in the team as part of his signing.

In 2014, Hapoel Jerusalem moved into the new Jerusalem Payis Arena, just down the street from its previous home court, where Stoudemire’s basketball camp was held. The upgrade from about 2,500 to 12,000 seats meant the fan base — and revenue stream — could be expanded. Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Menora Mivtachim Arena, which opened in 1963, holds about 11,000 fans.

At the end of the 2014-15 season, Hapoel Jerusalem won its first Israeli championship. Last year it lost in the finals to Maccabi Rishon Lezion, which edged Maccabi Tel Aviv in the semifinals. Hapoel Jerusalem will compete this year in the EuroCup, Europe’s second division.

In the three seasons since Allon took over, Hapoel Jerusalem has seen its annual budget rise from less than $4 million to approximately $10 million — still well below Maccabi Tel Aviv’s budget of around $25 million, according to Israeli basketball league spokesman Shlomi Peri. In addition to Stoudemire, the team has signed several other former NBA players, though none warranting volcanic smiley face tweets.

Where Maccabi Tel Aviv has an entrenched advantage is in Europe. The team is among the 11 members of the European league that this year renewed 10-year contracts that guarantee a spot regardless of performance. This provides an edge in terms of attracting talent, exposure and revenue.

“I would imagine that just by participating in the EuroLeague you get a 4 million-5 million euro advantage,” the Hapoel source said. “We think we deserve a spot based on our performance over the past three years.”

At the moment, Hapoel Jerusalem can only qualify for the EuroLeague by winning the EuroCup. That’s a tall order given all the well-funded European squads in the way. But the team expects an opportunity to arise in the future, the source said, and until then it will keep building.

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s digital media manager, Omer Geva, said his team would not comment on the record about a competitor’s acquisition except to say that Stoudemire’s arrival was good for the league. Maccabi Tel Aviv has signed several former NBA players this offseason.

Soroka, the analyst, said Stoudemire could help bring more attention to the league and perhaps attract a few more NBA players. The success of Israeli Omri Casspi, the Sacramento Kings forward, and former NBA slam dunk artist Nate Robinson’s stint last season with Hapoel Tel Aviv also seem to have raised the country’s profile.

Casspi, Israel’s first player in the National Basketball Association, joined Stoudemire at Monday’s camp along with fellow NBAers Rudy Gay, Chris Copeland and Beno Udrih, who were on a mission for Casspi’s nonprofit foundation to promote Israel’s image internationally.

Well over a third of the players in the Israeli basketball league come from the United States. Many have either played in the NBA or hope to. The league caps the number of foreign players a team can have on its roster at eight, and requires that two Israeli players be on the court during games.

Though the Israeli league is average by European basketball standards as far as competitiveness and salary, the lifestyle and friendliness to Americans help attract NBA players despite the security problems, Soroka said.

“We have the beaches, we have the good-looking girls, we have the bars,” he said. “People speak English, people are very warm and welcoming. A lot of people consider Israel the 51st state for a reason.”

But the main factors for most players are money and competition — in other words, the quality of the league, Soroka said. What impact Stoudemire has on that remains to be seen.

Stoudemire says he turned down ‘a lot of money’ to play in Israel

Amar’e Stoudemire, the former NBA star whose two-year deal with the Israeli team Hapoel Jerusalem was announced last week, said he could have stayed in the NBA, but elected to play in the Jewish state instead.

“I turned down a lot of money in the NBA to play for Israel, so it’s not about the money at all, it’s about winning championships,” Stoudemire said in an interview published on the Walla website and cited by the Times of Israel.

Stoudemire arrived in Israel on Friday and headed immediately for Dimona, the southern city home to a large community of African Hebrew Israelites, African-American immigrants to Israel who believe they are descendants of the biblical tribe of Judah. The former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks star has long touted a connection to Judaism and his “Hebrew roots.” He has traveled to Israel several times, including a 2013 trip as the assistant coach of the Canadian basketball squad competing in the Maccabiah Games, and has a Star of David tattoo.

Stoudemire told Israeli media he would play for the national team if he received Israeli citizenship.

Amar’e Stoudemire signs two-year deal with Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team

Amar’e Stoudemire, who retired from the NBA last week, has signed a two-year deal with the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team.

The team announced the deal on its website on Monday. It did not disclose terms of the deal.

Stoudemire has been a minority owner of Hapoel Jerusalem since 2013.  As part of his contract with Hapoel Jerusalem, Stoudemire will sell his shares in the club to Dr. Ori Allon, president and majority owner of the team.

“I am looking forward to playing for Hapoel Jerusalem and helping the team compete for titles,” said Stoudemire. “My family and I are excited to start a new journey in Israel, a country I have grown to love.”

Currently led by coach Simone Pianigiani, Hapoel Jerusalem is one of the oldest and most successful teams in the Israeli Basketball League, according to its website. The club has won numerous Israeli State and League Cups, as well as one Israeli Championship and one EuroCup title.

“We are thrilled to have a player of Amar’e’s caliber join our team, solidifying our place among the top echelon of Israeli and European basketball,” Allon said in a statement. “More importantly, bringing Amar’e to Jerusalem raises the profile of the entire Israeli Basketball League, and we hope that his joining our team will lead to increased interest in our league from basketball fans around the world as well as talented international players.”

Stoudemire is scheduled to travel to Israel next week as part of a charity project of NBA Cares. The project is organized by the foundation of Omri Casspi of the Sacramento Kings, the first Israeli to play in the NBA.

In 2010, after joining the New York Knicks, Stoudemire told the New York Post that he had become “spiritually and culturally Jewish.” The All-Star said he was keeping kosher and would celebrate the High Holy Days. He traveled to Israel that year after discovering that his mother appeared to have Jewish ancestry.

Stoudemire, 33, is a six-time NBA All-Star who played in the league for 14 years, retiring last week as a Knick. His first eight seasons were with the Phoenix Suns. Stoudemire closed out his career playing a season each in Dallas and Miami.

Shalom, Amar’e Stoudemire: Goodbye to the NBA’s Jewish star

For those obsessed with the search for Jewish big-time athletes, Amar’e Stoudemire, 33, was an unexpected dream and predictable heartbreaker — in short, the perfect punchline for a Jewish jocks joke.

Finally, here was a bona fide NBA superstar who publicly identified with the Tribe — one of the most explosive, fiercest dunkers no less — and he suddenly turned into one of the zeydes shooting around at the Jewish Y.

Bad knees. Aching back. Eye problems.

Stoudemire’s up-and-down NBA career came to an end this week with his retirement announcement on Tuesday.

A first-round pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, Stoudemire — who was extremely athletic for his 6-10 frame — teamed with Steve Nash to turn the Phoenix Suns into the league’s most electrifying offense.

He missed virtually the entire 2005-06 season after undergoing knee surgery, but returned to peak form for several more campaigns. Stoudemire then signed a $99.7 million, five-year contract with the New York Knicks in 2010.

Soon after joining the Knicks, he excited the passions of Jewish sports fans when he told the New York Post that he had become “spiritually and culturally Jewish.” The All-Star said he was keeping kosher and would celebrate the High Holidays. (In 2013, he told JTA that he considered both of his parents “Hebrew.”)

Stoudemire delivered in his inaugural season as a Knick, leading the team to the playoffs for the first time in years and bringing the cool back to Madison Square Garden. But his final three seasons in New York were characterized by a slew of chronic injuries that often prevented him from playing and sapped the juice that had made him one of the best.

He would bounce to the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat. Stoudemire announced his retirement as a Knick, signing a symbolic contract with the club.

Reb Amar’e deserved better for exciting and embracing those who longed for a Jewish basketball star. But to be clear, this is not a takedown — it’s a lament.

We’re hoping those rumors about Stoudemire signing to play in Israel are for real. While we wait, let’s celebrate our favorite stories about him over the years.

Is the Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire Jewish? (2010)

Stoudemire went to Israel on a spiritual quest. In a TV interview with an Israeli sports network, he sported a large white yarmulke, spoke a few words of Hebrew and conditionally committed to fasting on Yom Kippur and avoiding chametz on Passover.

Knicks’ Stoudemire says he is practicing Jew (2010)

In addition to telling the Post that he is a Jew “spiritually and culturally,” he said his trip to Israel was inspired by his finding that his mother was ancestrally Jewish.

Stoudemire staying in U.S. after mulling Israel move (2011)

Amar’e considered playing for Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv team during the NBA lockout.

Is Amar’e Stoudemire opening a Hebrew school? (2011)

The New York Daily News reported that Stoudemire was interested in opening a Hebrew school that would “focus on teaching the language and Jewish history.”

King of the Hebrew: Shaq or Amar’e? (2012)

JTA compared the Hebrew speaking skills of Amar’e and fellow NBA great Shaquille O’Neal, who dropped some Jewish phrases on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart.

Amar’e Stoudemire ties the knot in yarmulke, tallit (2012)

The star was married, Jewish style, on the roof of his Manhattan apartment.

Knicks’ Stoudemire becomes part owner of Jerusalem basketball team (2013)

Stoudemire purchased a stake in the Hapoel Jerusalem team. ESPN reported Tuesday that he could potentially play for the team after retiring from the NBA.

Amar’e Stoudemire scoring for United Hatzalah (2014)

Stoudemire set up a campaign that helped children donate a certain amount of money to the volunteer Jewish ambulance service for each point he scored for the Knicks during the 2014-15 season.

Why are Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and other non-Jewish celebs buying real estate in Israel?

After Kanye West performed in Israel on Wednesday night, he presumably had to sleep in a bed that he didn’t own. The declared presidential candidate may not have to suffer that indignity on his next trip to the Holy Land.

The Kardashian family, into which he is married, is among a number of non-Jewish American celebrities reportedly shopping for real estate in the Holy Land. Others include Madonna, Ashton Kutcher and Mariah Carey.

What does Israel have to offer these stars? The answer, it seems, varies from spirituality to family and friendship to money-making opportunities.

The Kardashian sisters, of reality TV fame, reportedly entered talks in January to buy two apartments for $30 million in a beachfront buildingin Tel Aviv. A spokesman for Kim Kardashian denied that report, but entertainment news website E!Online later reported that Kourtney Kardashian’s husband Scott Disick was in fact ready to buy a $5-6 million penthouse in Tel Aviv as a real estate investment.

Just three months later, Kim Kardashian and husband, West, visited Jerusalem for the baptism of their daughter, North, in the Cathedral of St. James, located in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Madonna, center, with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and his wife Sara Netanyahu, left, at the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem on Sept. 4, 2009. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty Images

Also this year, pop legend Madonna entered negotiations to buy a $20 million penthouse under construction on Tel Aviv’s trendy Rothschild Boulevard, according to Hollywood celebrity gossip website TMZ. The project developer later said that the negotiations fell through.

Still, the Material Girl has been visiting Israel on semi-regular trips for over a decade to get spiritual guidance from her teachers in the Jewish mystical tradition of kabbalah.

Madonna clearly has an affinity for Jewish-Israeli culture. In her 2005 kabbalah-infused club song “Isaac,” she sampled a rabbi chanting the Hebrew poem “Im Ninalu” – written by 17th-century Yemenite rabbi Shalom Shabazi and made famous by Israeli singer Ofra Haza.

And in 2012, she launched her MDNA global concert tour in Israel.

Ashton Kutcher onstage during the Teen Choice Awards at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California. on Aug. 11, 2013. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Madonna isn’t the only kabbalah-curious Hollywood celebrity thinking of putting down roots in Israel. Actor Ashton Kutcher reportedly spent part of a business trip two years ago looking for office space on Rothschild Boulevard.

Kutcher has visited Israel for kabbalistic learning, marriage counseling and the funeral of spiritual mentorRabbi Philip Berg with Jewish “That ‘70s Show” co-star and now-wife Mila Kunis.

He’s also an investor in Israeli companies focused on developing new communications technology. Having consulted with Yossi Vardi about investing in Silicon Wadi, he appeared with the noted Israeli venture capitalist at a local high-tech event in 2013.

Mariah Carey and James Packer attending the New York City premiere of “The Intern” at the Ziegfeld Theater on Sept. 21. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Pop singer Mariah Carey and her billionaire Australian boyfriend, James Packer, aren’t known to be investors in Start Up Nation. But they’re pals with its first family, the Netanyahus. The Australian press reported in August that Packer was renovating a multimillion-dollar home he purchased last year next-door to the Netanyahu family’s private residence in the Israeli town of Caesarea.

The Israeli press has reported extensively on Sarah Netanyahu’s troubles with the help, but she apparently got along famously with the pop diva when they met backstage after Carey’s August show in Israel. Carey shrugged off efforts to boycott Israel at the time, saying, “I do what I want to do … I don’t care what other people’s political agendas are.”

For his part, Packer attended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech to Congress opposing the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran — at the prime minister’s invitation.

NBA player Amar’e Stoudemire, left, with former Israeli President Shimon Peres at the President’s residence in Jerusalem on July 18, 2013. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Basketball fans and anyone who saw the recent hit Amy Schumer movie, “Trainwreck,” are sure to be familiar with Miami Heat power forward Amar’e Stoudemire. But few probably know that he is also part-owner of Jerusalem Hapoel and has openly mulled playing for the Israeli team after retiring from the NBA — which would seem to require that he buy a home in the country.

Then-Israeli President Shimon reportedly even asked Stoudemire to play for the Israeli national team in 2013.

Stoudemire has said that his mother was a Black Hebrew, an African-American religious group that claims descent from the biblical Israelites. Some of the members of the religious group have lived in Israel since 1969and were the subject of 2014 documentary “The Village of Peace,” executive produced by Stoudemire.

Is all this celebrity investment good for Israel’s already overheated housing market? That’s unclear. But at least Kanye West can now claim Middle East experience in his 2020 presidential campaign.

Amar’e Stoudemire leaving New York Knicks

New York Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire is leaving New York after five seasons with the team to play for the Dallas Mavericks. The Hapoel Jerusalem part-owner, who is reportedly in the process of obtaining Israeli citizenship, negotiated a buyout with the Knicks and then signed a $477,150 deal with the Mavs, starting immediately. 

“Although I leave the Knicks with a heavy heart, I wish the organization the best of luck,” Stoudemire said in a statement. “Once a Knick always a Knick.”

Read more at Tablet.

Amar’e Stoudemire scoring for United Hatzalah

In this season of good deeds, Amar’e Stoudemire is making a point.

In the upcoming NBA season, United Hatzalah is hoping the New York Knicks’ standout scores plenty of them.

Stoudemire, 31, has launched Amar’e Saves to promote a campaign that encourages youngsters to contribute to the Israeli ambulance service he has adopted as a cause.

A day before Sukkot began, Stoudemire filmed a video in his Manhattan apartment for the effort.

The campaign urges pledges by kids, individually or as a group, notably by tying donations to every point Stoudemire scores during the 2014-15 season. The Knicks will open Oct. 29 at home against the Chicago Bulls.

By Sunday, the campaign had 117 donors and $534 pledged per point.

Those raising the most funds will qualify for such prizes as Knicks’ tickets and a meet-and-greet with Stoudemire.

“Helping save lives is always a beautiful thing,” Stoudemire told JTA after filming with several New York-area Jewish teenagers. “It’s obviously something we all want to think about doing more of, but the fact that United Hatzalah has a much quicker rate for responding to emergencies is also very important.

“In today’s society, which is so fast, we need to be doing something about saving lives quicker, and United Hatzalah is doing that.”

Stoudemire became involved in the organization through his friendship with New York financier David Kleinhandler, like Stoudemire a co-owner of Israel’s Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team.

In an exclusive interview with JTA last year, Stoudemire discussed his spiritual connection to Judaism and his belief that he’s a member of the “Hebrew tribe.”

Stoudemire, a six-time all-star, is hoping to overcome the rash of injuries that relegated him to the bench last season.

After all, more playing time means more points — and more charitable contributions.


Stoudemire seeking Israeli citizenship

Amar’e Stoudemire, the New York Knicks star who claims Hebrew roots and is currently touring Israel, is seeking Israeli citizenship.

Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters, told New York magazine that the Knicks’ power forward is in the process of becoming an Israeli.

“He’s getting citizenship,” Walters said. ”He applied, and he’s there now.”

Stoudemire went to Israel for the Maccabiah Games as the assistant coach of the Canadian basketball squad. The games ended earlier this week.

Stoudemire’s Jewish connections have been the source of much media fascination in recent months. At hiswedding last year to Alexis Welch, Stoudemire donned a yarmulke and prayer shawl for the “Hebraic” ceremony. In July, he announced he had become a part owner in the Israeli basketball club Hapoel Jerusalem. And in an exclusive interview in Jerusalem last month with JTA, Stoudemire said he is in regular dialogue with New York rabbis, studies Torah and observes the 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.

Knicks’ Stoudemire becomes part owner of Jerusalem basketball team

New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire has purchased a stake in the Israeli basketball team Hapoel Jerusalem.

Stoudemire said Friday on his Twitter feed that he joined an ownership group led by businessman Ori Allon that purchased the team, which participated this season in the Eurocup.

“Excited to join the partnership that is giving back to the city of Jerusalem by offering the Hapoel basketball team a fresh start,” Stoudemire tweeted.

“Proud to partner with @Amareisreal & others on building a promising future for the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball club,” Allon tweeted.

Stoudemire is serving as an assistant coach for the Canadian basketball team at the Maccabiah Games in Israel that start Thursday.

Since finding out his mother is Jewish, Stoudemire has taken a high-profile trip to Israel in 2010 and expressed his Jewish roots.

Aly Raisman, Amar’e Stoudemire to participate in upcoming Maccabiah Games

The 19th Maccabiah Games begin this week. Of the 8,000 athletes from around the world descending on Israel for what some call the “Jewish Olympics,” 1,100 will hail from America.

At the head of the pack is none other than American Jewish gymnast extraordinnaire, Aly Raisman. Another big-name American to look out for at the games, which run July 18-30, is Amar’e Stoudemire. The New York Knicks star surprised fans the first time he traveled to Israel to explore his Jewish roots.  This time the big surprise is that he isn’t representing the United States, but instead will be coaching the Canadian basketball team.

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Amar’e Stoudemire thinking about opening a Hebrew school

According to the New York Daily News gossip page, Amar’e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks “is interested in opening a Hebrew school, which would focus on teaching the language and Jewish history. The insider says the idea appears to be on the back burner for the time being but that Stoudemire has discussed it seriously.”

Another source told the Daily News that Amar’e is “always looking for ways to improve education and resources for all children,” but “no school of any kind is currently in the works.”

A Stoudemire Hebrew school wouldn’t be as surprising as it sounds. Amar’e visited Israel last summer, has a Star of David tattoo and dressed up as King Solomon for Halloween this year.

Knicks’ Stoudemire says he is practicing Jew

Amare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks reportedly said he is a practicing Jew “spiritually and culturally.”

Stoudemire, who last month visited Israel on a spiritual journey to explore his Jewish roots, made the comments in an interview with Page Six of The New York Post. He also said that he is keeping kosher.

The NBA All-Star joined the Knicks this summer as a free agent. He formerly played for the Phoenix Suns. Stoudemire reportedly decided to visit Israel after learning that his mother was Jewish.

Stoudemire told the newspaper that he is continuing his Jewish studies. “I figure, what the scriptures speak about, that’s what I celebrate,” he said. He has reportedly been studying the Bible since he was young.

Some have suggested that Stoudemire is exploring Judaism as a way to help the Knicks sell more tickets, a charge that the star player denies.

Stoudemire told Page Six that he will celebrate the High Holidays, but will not miss any games for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. “Playing the games are my livelihood,” he said. “But I’m still going to celebrate the holidays.”