Amar’e Stoudemire has converted to Judaism, the former NBA star announced in an Instagram post on Wednesday from his adopted home in Jerusalem.
In the post, Stoudemire wrote, “I guess we broke the internet” and continued by noting he had his final meeting with the rabbinical court, and visited the mikvah, the ritual bath that converts immerse in before becoming officially Jewish.
The post was accompanied by a photo of Stoudemire in traditional Orthodox garb of black hat, black jacket and white shirt — and requisite black mask — against a backdrop of Jewish holy books.
He announced his Hebrew name as Yahoshafat Ben Avraham.
Stoudemire received Israeli citizenship in March 2019 while playing for Hapoel Jerusalem, a team he partly owns.
Stoudemire told Breitbart News in 2018 that converting to Judaism was the “top of my list” of things to do.
“It’s the most important thing right now,” he said.
Converting, he said, would allow him to immerse himself in Torah studies fulltime.
“Converting gives you an opportunity to truly take time out to become a student of the Torah, a biblical student, which is what I always wanted,” Stoudemire told Breitbart.
He said Israel was a “special place” for him and he had “embraced the culture.” He added his connection to the country began when he was a young boy hearing biblical stories from his mother.
Asked if his love for Israel surpasses his love of basketball, Stoudemire answered, “Basketball was my love since birth. Over time Israel developed to be the same, equal amount of love.”
On Thursday he posted a picture standing outside the Ohr Somayach Yeshiva in Jerusalem where he had been studying for his conversion, alongside fellow African-American convert, rapper Nissim Black.
“We have persevered through challenges to pave the way for the next generation. May the rewards be enjoyed both here and in the world to come,” Stoudemire wrote.
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Young Brothers in the Land of Israel . We’ve learned at the most prestigious Yahshiva 🏛 #ohrsomayach in the world 🌎. B”H We have persevered through challenges to pave the way for the next generation. “ May the rewards be enjoyed both here and in the world to come. “ #yehudi #Israelites #roadtotzadikim – Yahoshafat Ben Avraham P.S Missing my young Tzadik @mordechai_yosef_ben_avraham