For decades, Jewish baseball fans have looked to Sandy Koufax as a role model for refusing to pitch in game one of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. While that stood out as an example for Jews everywhere, one Nevada teen is hoping to take it a step further and become the first Shomer Shabbos, kosher-food-eating professional baseball player.
In the final round of the MLB draft, the Washington Nationals selected Elie Kligman, from Nevada, who has said he won’t play on Shabbos.
On Monday, Jacob Steinmetz was drafted to the Arizona Diamondbacks. As YWN reported, Steinmetz recently told the New York Post he keeps Shabbos and eats only Kosher food, but plays during the Shabbos and on Jewish holidays – although he walks to games rather than taking transportation.
Guiding him in his life and career has been his father, Marc Kligman, an attorney and professional sports agent who has coached Elie and younger brother Ari in the finer points of baseball over the years. He has also worked hard to provide his boys with opportunities to compete at a high level.
“We’ve had a lot of help along the way,” he says. “People have been kind and helpful. Our head coach at the high school makes sure we don’t schedule any games on Saturday.”
But there have been plenty of times that the Kligman boys have had to sprint out of the house right after Shabbat ended to make a Saturday-night game, as well as “plenty of Shabbats alone in a hotel so we could be local” for a game, say their dad.
The Kligmans, including mom Laura and Elie’s twin sister, Tova, are members of Chabad of Summerlin, a suburb of Las Vegas. Their involvement with Chabad has made things easier over the years, as wherever they find themselves traveling to for a ball game, they make sure to visit the local Chabad House, where they can find kosher food or catch a prayer service.
— Marc J. Kligman (@MLBAgent) July 13, 2021
(YWN World Headquarters – With reporting by Chabad.org)