Stoudemire Wants Slice of Israeli Hoops Team

I am a big NBA fan, but never knew Amare was Jewish! Love it. With Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry being traded to the Brooklyn Nets, I’m rooting for the Knicks all the way! …until they play the Celts of course 🙂

Truth, Praise and Help

This post first appeared on the Forward.

Amar’e Stoudemire is showing that he really owns his connection to Judaism.

The Knicks player with Jewish roots announced on his Twitter account that he has joined a group that is trying to purchase the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team.

“Excited to join the partnership that is giving back to the city of Jerusalem by offering the Hapoel basketball team a fresh start,” he tweeted Friday morning.

Stoudemire, whose Twitter handle is @amareisrael, joins entrepreneur Ori Allon and others in the bid to buy the troubled team. Hapoel Jerusalem has had a chronic underachievement problem, which has been attributed in the Israeli media to poor management. Overshadowed by powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Jerusalem has failed in recent decades to win any championships. (Stoudemire had actually considered playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv during the 2011 NBA lockout.)

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Dead Sea Scrolls in Boston

The library’s recent trip to view the Dead Sea Scrolls at Boston’s Museum of Science was a great success! We had more than 40 community members come together to explore our heritage and history, looking at artifacts ranging from 408 BCE to 318 CE. The low humidity and low light in caves in Qumran, near the Dead Sea, helped preserve these works of psalms, manuscripts, and biblical text for us to view thousands of years later.

The exhibit provided the original documents, with a blown-up copy to view more closely, along with a translation and contextual explanation. I highly recommend visiting– some of the items have never before come to North America!

Congregation members viewing artifacts

Congregation members viewing artifacts

To continue our Jewish heritage exploration, we then stopped over in Brookline to eat and shop at Jewish establishments along Harvard Street. Many of us visited Zaftigs Delicatessen, the Israel Book Shop, and Kolbo Fine Judaica Gallery, where we browsed for treasures and looked for inspiration. It was amazing to walk down a street with my son, seeing Hebrew on each awning, Stars of David in each window, and religious men straightening up after kids on the school playground.

African Burying Ground

I recently attended a gathering at Temple Israel, where African American and Jewish community leaders spoke, celebrating the fundraising project that will support the Portsmouth African Burying Ground. The Chestnut Street memorial park will honor the 200 unnamed African slaves buried on that site, whose remains were discovered in 2003.

Akan Sankofa

Akan Sankofa

African American speakers included Rev. Lauren Smith, who spoke about the projects logo, the sankofa of Akan origin, a people of Ghana. She described the origin of this symbol as a bird reaching to retrieve an egg from its back, representing the phrase, “it is not wrong to go back for which you have forgotten.” This phrase, she explained, exemplifies the burying ground project. She says the people of Portsmouth and New Hampshire have embraced this discovery of people long forgotten. Governor Hassan signed a bill posthumously freeing of the former slaves, a gesture that represents New Hampshire’s sorrow in this aspect of its history.
Plan for Memorial Park

Plan for Memorial Park

Dr. Hilson, pastor at New Hope Baptist Church in Portsmouth, also spoke, focusing on the image of a bridge connecting the past and the present, as well as connecting different members of the Portsmouth community.

Vernis Jackson, chair of the African Burying Ground committee, spoke of the fundraising efforts, stating that the organization is on its way to raising the $1.2 million it needs to move forward with the ground breaking.

Artist Jerome Meadows designed a sculpture for the memorial parkway. Pictured is the half that represents Mother Africa, reaching around trying to touch the hand of the young slave on the opposite side. Please visit the organization’s website for more information about his art and to make a donation to help this project along.

Model of Meadows' sculpture

Model of Mother Africa– One Side of Meadows’ sculpture