By Ira Winderman

The Miami Heat’s best-known offseason addition feels a deep connection with Israel and wears a Star of David tattoo near his left thumb. The former NBA All-Star wants to be referred to as a “Jew” but not as “Jewish.”

Amar’e Stoudemire arrives in South Florida as a contradiction but also spiritually connected to a significant portion of the population. It is why, with Sunday evening’s start of the Jewish High Holy Days, this time of year is important to him.

“I’m not technically Jewish,” he says. “It just happened organically.”

He is, in his words, “culturally Jewish,” an immersion that included a “Hebraic wedding” in 2012, observance of Jewish holy days and ongoing plans for Israeli citizenship.

“It comes from my upbringing,” he says. “I was raised this way.”

To continue reading, please visit Sun-Sentinel.