Sports: Coaches and Management
Known as the “Mother of Women’s Basketball,” Senda Berenson pioneered women’s basketball as the director of the physical education department at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Many of the rules she developed for women’s basketball became the standard ones used for seventy years.
Charlotte “Eppy” Epstein helped popularize women’s swimming and coached Olympic athletes who broke more than fifty world records. Epstein also started the renowned Women’s Swimming Association of New York, which launched the national and international fame of American women swimmers in the early twentieth century.
Women have been involved in sports in Israel since the Yishuv period, participating as teams, as individuals, and as coaches. Though more women are now participating in competitive sports, the field still reflects a masculine culture of power struggle and a desire to defeat the enemy. More recent political efforts in Israel have attempted to achieve women's equality in athletics.
This article gives an overview of the participation of Jewish women in Austrian sport from the Habsburg monarchy to the present day. Drawing on selected biographies of sportswomen and functionaries, and with a regional focus on the capital city of Vienna, it explores the double relationship between female emancipation and Jewish self-assertion in an environment that had long been male-dominated and anti-Semitic.
Women’s participation in Jewish gymnastics clubs increased significantly during the first two decades of the twentieth century. The Jewish sports movement grew during the 1920s, allowing women to participate in cross-country running, swimming, and tennis. After German sports clubs annulled Jewish membership in 1933, women poured into these Jewish sports groups.