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.
The year 1996 marked the centennial of the modern Olympic Games, and the anticipation of American women’s gold medal triumphs in swimming and diving continued a legacy of athletic excellence linked to the efforts of Jewish American Charlotte Epstein. Referred to as the “Mother of Women’s Swimming in America,” Charlotte Epstein was born to Morris and Sara (Rosenau) Epstein in New York City in September 1884. She demonstrated her love of swimming by influencing U.S. women’s swimming to reach prominence in the 1920s and 1930s. Known as “Eppie” by friends, colleagues, and swimming champions, Epstein started the renowned Women’s Swimming Association of New York, launching the national and international fame of American women swimmers in the early twentieth century.
Fanny “Bobbie” Rosenfeld was named Canada’s woman athlete of the first half- century in 1950. She was a consummate all-round athlete, coach, sports administrator, official, and journalist.
While it was no easy task for women to integrate successfully into the world of modern competitive sports, there is currently a marked increase in the number of competitive women athletes throughout the world. A similar development, though slower and with more modest achievements, has also occurred in Jewish sports.
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.