Former NBA Star Amar’e Stoudemire Talks Passover Prep, Daily Talmud Study in GQ Interview
Six-time NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire shared his Passover eve preparations and details of his daily study of Jewish texts in a photo-packed interview with GQ magazine, published Tuesday.
“The only thing I have left to do is some more searching under the couch and vacuuming,” the former NBA forward told writer Yaron Weitzman, as the Stoudemire family prepared Friday for the upcoming holiday. “And then tomorrow is the actual last day to get rid of all the chametz,” or the leavened food products prohibited during Passover.
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Stoudemire spent 14 seasons in the NBA, and later played professionally in Israel as he grew closer to his Jewish roots and became more observant — ultimately completing an Orthodox conversion and becoming an Israeli citizen. He detailed his daily religious practice to GQ, which usually includes a 6:45 am Talmud lesson before morning prayers, an 11 am prayer study, a 1 pm study of the Shabbat laws, a second Talmud lesson at 2 pm and a Hebrew language session at 3 pm.
Stoudemire, who now serves as a player development assistant for the the high-flying Brooklyn Nets, said he sticks to that rigorous routine even if it means missing the latest NBA news. When the team recently traded for former MVP James Harden from the Houston Rockets, Stoudemire said he first found out about the deal from his own rabbi.
The five-time All-NBA forward — whose friends now call him by the Hebrew name Yehoshafat — also discussed his personal connection to the Passover holiday, during which Jews recount the Biblical exodus from Egypt.
“I think the notion of just leaving Mitzrayim speaks to me,” Stoudemire told the magazine, using the Hebrew word for Egypt. “It allows you to understand, like, whenever you decide to change as a person and become a better person, it’s OK to change and it’s OK not to look back, and if you embrace that change and move forward, then you go to your promised land.”