NEW: Elie Kligman Drafted To MLB; Davens Three Times A Day, Will Not Play On Shabbos; Second Jewish Player Drafted In Two Days

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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.

(YWN World Headquarters – With reporting by Chabad.org)


17 COMMENTS

  1. Title says WILL NOT PLAY ON SHABBOS but in the article it says

    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 SHABBOS and on Jewish holidays – although he walks to games rather than taking transportation.

    Moderators Note: Read it again.

  2. I wish them well but don’t think this is a good thing. They will have many nisyanos in this profession and they are too young to understand.

  3. Great article and happy for both Elie and Jacob.

    In defense of Jacob, he too davens three times a day and we need to be fair to a teenager who obviously does not want to pitch on shabbos or YT. If in fact, he had to he would within the guidelines set out for him by competent authorities. I believe is what he meant when he said he would but I believe everyone should be “dan L’kav Zechus” and assume the best and not the worst of a teenager who has very special gifts and talents and who also is a wonderful G-d fearing Jew. Please be careful not to assume things and assume the worst of someone when his life testifies to the exact opposite.

  4. Google Elie Kligman, there are several podcasts that he appears on and he unequivocally says that he does not play on Shabbos, nor would he consider playing on Shabbos, period. Tremendous Kiddush Hashem that he publicly states that his religion is more important than anything else. Good luck Elie, we are rooting for you.

  5. Shimon Nodel – his comment was not a knock on his being a shomer torah umitzvis at all. The headline says second jew, so all anshuldix was saying is that other jews were drafted, but this was the second orthodox jew in two days.

  6. I won’t call it a “kiddush hashem” since that term gets diluted too frequently by mundane actions but I’m incredibly impressed by their accomplishments and commitment to their personal view of yiddeshkeit

  7. I fail to see the kiddush hashem in these decisions. The yeshivishe world has attacked the secular world on many levels and often rightfully so. Going to a secular college is considered tantamount to leaving the fold. Why is joining a professional organization better? It is worse, much worse. Will these boys be spending their time with other nice yeshiva boys in a Torah atmosphere? No. They will be with the lowest of low goyim. Who will influence whom?

    So wherefore the celebration? We should be crying.

  8. One mans nisayon is another mans joke. Clearly those knocking this kid dont have a fraction of the baseball talent and as a result have no idea what he is going through. Before making claims about him, lets encourage him and hope he passes every nisayon with flying colors.