Throughout their history, said the speaker, the Jews had always considered the mind as of prime importance, and had developed it at the expense of their bodies. He continued:
"We all remember with what disdain the average Eastern European Jew looks upon anything which may tend to develop his muscular system. From the study of physicians and anthropologists we find that the Jews in Eastern Europe are short of stature; in some countries, like Galicia and Poland, they are only 5 feet 3 3/4 inches in height. In countries where their economic and social conditions are better, they are about one inch taller, but it is a matter of fact that they never reach the height of their non-Jewish neighbors.
"The average circumference of the chest of the Jews in Eastern Europe is about 32 to 34 inches, and is less than half their body height. As you probably know, the girth of the chest in a healthy man usually exceeds half his stature. [. . .]
"It is remarkable that while the stature of the Jews born in the United States is much superior to that of the foreign Jews, this is not true of the girth of the chest. [. . .]
"In order to assure a muscular Judaism you must encourage physical culture among the younger generation of American Jews.
Physical condition of the Jews (1904)
From a New York Times article reporting on "an address delivered before the annual convention of the American Federation of Zionists" by Dr. Maurice Fishberg: