Faith, family and how Syracuse’s Judah Jah Mintz got his name

Fort Washington, Md. – Growing up, Judah Mintz was most likely found in a basketball gym. But if he wasn’t there, he could usually be found with family. And family meant church.

Mintz grew up outside of Washington, DC, in Fort Washington, where he was surrounded by family and immersed in the church.

“We are very, very close,” said Mintz’s mother, Rachael, of Judah’s family. “He’s had both sets of his grandparents very integral in his life. He’s very close to his grandparents and he has one great-grandmother. She’s a big cheerleader for him as well. ”

Mintz’s parents, Rachael and Camara, met in high school. Camara, who played college basketball at both Radford (Virginia) University and Division II Gannon (Erie, Pennsylvania), is a criminal defense attorney. Rachael works in the FBI’s human resources department.

Rachael’s parents, James and Gwenith Holcomb, have been pastors at the Spirit of Elijah Kingdom Church in Fort Washington for the past 32 years.

Mintz’s name shows the family’s faith. The name Judah means “praise” and his middle name, Jah, translates to God.

Judah said he spent most of his Sundays listening to his grandparents deliver sermons in church. He missed them over the past year, which he spent at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia.

“My family is very important to me,” Judah said. “It’s a team effort.”

When Mintz decided to attend Gonzaga High School in Washington, DC, his mother would drive him to school most days. It was a 25-minute commute that could last an hour, depending on traffic. His maternal grandfather often picked him up and drove him home.

“He’s very close to my father,” Rachael said. “They were always in the car together. They have a very tight bond. ”

When Camara decided to leave his job as a sheriff in Fairfax County about 12 years ago to pursue a law degree, the Mintzes moved in with Rachael’s parents for a year. Today, Camara’s mother lives with the family.

“The support system is always there,” Rachael said.

Now that he can drive, Judah finds himself in the role of chauffeur, taking his younger brother, Wisdom, who will be a high school freshman this fall, to their workouts.

“Judah’s a family person,” his mom said. “He loves family.”

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