UNC Professor Introduces Jewish Sports Class at Boulder Synagogue

Klyde-Allaman says they’re excited to teach others about Jews in sports.

From a young age, Eli Klyde-Allaman has been a big fan of sports. As a child, Klyde-Allaman, who uses they/them pronouns, played everything from basketball and floor hockey to tackle football. Though they do not play many sports now, their love for sports certainly has not faded.

Starting in November, Klyde-Allaman, associate professor of journalism at the University of Northern Colorado, will be teaching a class outside their usual realm. Rather than teaching students about news, writing and reporting, they will be leading a class on Jewish people in sports at the Har Hashem synagogue in Boulder.

The class will consist of five sessions, which will cover baseball, football, basketball, the Olympics in 1936 and 1972.

The idea for the class came to Klyde-Allaman after recovering from an illness early in 2023. They say that while talking to the rabbi at Har Hashem about feeling out of sorts after their illness, the rabbi recommended they teach a class.

Klyde-Allaman, who is Jewish, says that Jews are often the butt of the joke when it comes to how few of them are in sports. Many Jewish people are delighted to discover and watch Jewish players.


“I’ve always been fascinated by Jews in sports, like if I’m watching a game and one of the players is Jewish, I get all excited,” Klyde-Allaman said. “There’s so few Jews that make it in sports that it’s like a big deal because it’s not like every other player is Jewish. It’s a very small percentage.”

A Jews in sports class is not something that would fit into Klyde-Allaman’s normal curriculum, but they would love to teach it at UNC. They are unsure where a class like that would fit within the university and how many students would be interested in it. Although they work at UNC, Klyde-Allaman says it would be great to teach the class somewhere like CU Boulder, which has a Jewish Studies program. For now, they hope enough people at Har Hashem are interested in the class so they can teach it again in the future.

Klyde-Allaman recommends that anyone who is interested in Jewish sports should check out the Jewish Sports Stars Facebook page or the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. They say through the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, they’ve been able to learn about Jewish Sports players that they never would have guessed were Jewish. For more information on Klyde-Allaman’s class, visit the Har Hashem synagogue’s website, or email them at eli.klydeallaman@unco.edu.


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