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:
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.


Anonymous said...

I knew a Jewish guy who had an indention in his chest at the sternum. He was frail overall too. Too much inbreeding.

Anonymous said...

After reading Weston Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, I am inclined to believe that frailness or deformity has nutritional rather than genetic causes.

Anonymous said...

Anecdotal, but Dennis Prager is a Polish Jew and is 6'4".

Anonymous said...

You don't see any Jews in the UFC do you, except commentator Mike Goldberg.

In the early days they had an Israeli "Krav Maga" super elite warrior enter the competition only to get thoroughly and quickly trounced. A few tried out for TUF and folded like a cheap suit, even the half-negro Jew.

You could use Bill Goldberg as a counter example, but it's funny because even other Jews don't believe he's Jewish, because of his size and build.

Anonymous said...

"Anecdotal, but Dennis Prager is a Polish Jew and is 6'4"."

There are few tall and muscular Jews. Prager might also have a pituitary disorder: we don't know.

Most of the tall, muscular, and athletic 'Jews' are probably barely Jewish in an ethnic sense -- they likely just had an ancestor or two who was an opportunistic convert to Judaism.

Anonymous said...

You're probably right there, a Google image search of Dennis Prager shows a guy who doesn't look very Jewish. Looks mostly white with a hint of Jewy-ness.

Anonymous said...

On average Ashkenazi Jews have significant European admixture.

Recently Larry David of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame found out he is 37% Native American according to a DNA test on Lopez Tonight.

The darker and more Semitic-looking Jews are the Sephardim and Mizrahim.

n/a said...

Larry David is of course not 37% Native American. Lopez uses a very shitty test.