The Maccabiah Games, also known as the ‘Jewish Olympics’, is the world’s largest Jewish athletic competition, which takes place every four years in Israel. These will be the largest Games ever, with over 9,000 athletes, from 78 countries around the world!
The Canadian delegation is also its largest on record, with over 500 athletes and an additional 120 coaches and support staff.
The Games officially kicked off last night, with a spectacular opening ceremony in Jerusalem, in front of Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (SDM’s favourite Canadian-Israeli singer, Kathleen Reiter, also headlined the entertainment!)
As for Stoudemire, he is certainly no stranger to the Holy Land, having visited the country a number of times now, since finding out he has Jewish roots three years ago!
Never one to miss an opportunity, during a private meeting with Shimon Peres before the Games, the President of Israel even invited Stoudemire to play for the country’s national basketball team because of his ties to Judaism!
Amar’e Stoudemire is certainly most welcome to ‘the clan’ to help increase our athletic stock and would no doubt make a very welcome addition to the national team, if he decided to make aliyah (hint hint, wink wink!)
While in town, Stoudemire also conducted a coaching workshop in Tel Aviv for some of the most promising Israeli youth players and recently even became part owner in local basketball team Hapoel Jerusalem, cementing his already close ties to Israel, even further.
At a press conference after the coaching clinic today, SDM asked Amar’e what draws him to the Holy Land and why he loves Israel so much. His simple reply was “It’s a great honor to be here. Israel is a beautiful country.” Now that’s what we call a slam-dunk!