The students and staff in HANC’s Samuel and Elizabeth Bass Golding Elementary School were privileged to meet via Zoom, Major League Baseball hopeful, Elie Kligman. Elie is a high school senior from Las Vegas who plays as both an infielder and pitcher. Students in grades 4-6 had the opportunity to hear about Elie’s exciting baseball career. He talked about his love for baseball and all the hard work that has led him to be successful so far. After competing on many levels, Elie is ranked as one of Nevada’s top student baseball players. He was also one of only 175 high-schoolers from across the country, and the first Orthodox Jew, to take part in the Major League Baseball-scouted “Area Code Baseball Games.”
While many baseball fans recall when Sandy Koufax refused to pitch in game one of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur, Elie hopes to be the first Shabbat-observant, shomer mitzvot professional baseball player. Elie said that his teammates have been very understanding of his choice to not play on Shabbat. “When you are a proud Jew, people respect when I tell them I’m not going to play on Friday night and Saturday,” he explained.
Elie has a supportive family by his side, and he even had his father join in on the Zoom meeting to talk about the parent perspective. His father, Marc Kligman, is an attorney and professional sports agent who coached Elie and helped him to achieve his goals. He is so proud of Elie and said that he is an example of someone who is able to follow his dreams while still staying true to his Jewish identity and beliefs.
In addition to the support of his family, his school coach has been supportive as well. When scheduling games, the head coach is mindful of the fact that Elie won’t play on Shabbat, and does not schedule games for the team on Saturdays. When he needs to play in a game on Saturday night, he would make arrangements to spend Shabbat near the ball field, so that he could arrive as quickly as possible after Havdalah to play in the Motzaei Shabbat game.
Staying true to his Torah way of life is non-negotiable, and even at the young age of 18, Elie is serving as a tremendous role model for baseball fans. He is living proof that you can be Orthodox and participate in activities and careers of your choosing without compromising on your religious practices. HANC is so proud of this fine young man and wishes him great success in reaching his goal. We can’t wait to continue following Elie’s journey in baseball.