Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe

Amar’e Stoudemire completes his conversion to Judaism

The Jews can always use a good power forward on our team. We now have a great one.

Realizing a years-long process of study and engagement with Judaism, Amar’e Stoudemire, the former NBA player now dribbling for Maccabi Tel Aviv, made his final full-court press into the faith on August 26, 2020. Stoudemire announced the completion of his conversion, including his Hebrew name, Yahoshafat Ben Avraham, on Instagram. Because he’s a mensch, he was wearing a mask in the photo.

Stoudemire originally moved to Israel in 2016 to play for Hapoel Jerusalem, a team he co-owns. Before the move Stoudemire had connections with various sects of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement. He began his conversion to Judaism in 2018, but has long claimed roots in the faith.

“I have been aware since my youth that I am a Hebrew through my mother,” Stoudemire, who was raised Baptist, told the Jerusalem Post in 2010. “And that is something that has played a subtle but important role in my development.”

As one of — if not the most — visible ballers with Jewish affinities, Stoudemire was at one time pegged to play himself in the Safdie brothers’ “Uncut Gems,” serving the role Kevin Garnett ultimately played, but adding an extra dimension to his attachment to those Ethiopian opals mined by Beta Israel.

While it didn’t work out (in part because Stoudemire’s Samsonian refusal to cut his dreadlocks), the talks did result in a Seder at Stoudemire’s home with Josh and Benny Safdie and Harvey Keitel — then wanted for the lead role of Howard — in attendance.

No word on who found the afikoman.

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]





    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.