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Stoudemire exploring family heritage in Israel

Amar'e Stoudemire has embarked on a trip to Israel. He is not Jewish, but he is embracing the faith because of a respect for history, religion and a long-known connection deep in his family lineage.

The new Knicks star took the extra free time afforded to him as a result of his departure from USA Basketball to embark on an adventure he had been planning for years.

"I'm studying history & want 2 learn about all religions," Stoudemire said via Twitter on Thursday. "I think I might have some Hebrew Roots & i'm researching it."

Stoudemire, who was born in Lake Wales, Fla., learned that his mother, Carrie Mae, might have a Jewish background. With that knowledge, he has wanted to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and learn more about the history of religion, among other things.

"He wants to see the birthplace of Christianity and the holy sites of Islam," said Stoudemire's agent, Happy Walters. "It's his summer vacation."

Walters said it is possible that Stoudemire could have Jewish roots and that his client has always wanted to research it further.

"Being open-minded toward other cultures is beautiful," Stoudemire wrote on Twitter. "Studying your heritage is very important. 'What's a Tree w/o Roots' Le'chayim, 1love."

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