The solution, Brenner stressed, lay in the YWHA. To compete with Sisterhood, the YMHA must take up girl work: "We dare not separate the YMHA and YWHA in the minds of the people whose influence is needed." Brenner's strategy was simple.
In February 1917 Sisterhood went to the YWHA and urged a break with the YMHA.
The women proposed a facility large enough to house all the city's Jewish organizations, from the YWHA and YMHA to the Talmud Torah.
She began to get "the sense [that the] YMHA was offer[ing] to assume [the] burden of recreational activities among girls as well as among boys." Finally the YMHA was acting on Brenner's advice: the men asked Sisterhood to sever its ties to the YWHA and allow the young women to return to the YMHA.
When YWHA members learned their fate, 90 percent of them quit rather than return to the YMHA.
26, 1914,7; [Brenner], "Report of Survey"; YWHA, Board of Directors Minutes (YWHA, Minutes hereafter), 1914-1917, July 17,1914, JCC collection, box 2, folder 21,20.
The New York City YWHA offered a wide range of sporting pursuits for women and girls.
The staff of the YWHA and Jewish female residents commended the sports facilities.
The YWHA's indoor swimming pool, opened in October 1916 at 31 West 110th Street, became a popular site for Jewish American women to enjoy sport and physical recreation.
The Young Women's Hebrew Athletic League hosted its swimming meets at this YWHA pool.(34)
The excellent swimming pool of the New York City YWHA hosted not only swimming classes but also national competitive swimming championships featuring such outstanding national and Olympic champions as Aileen Riggin, Gertrude Ederle, and Helen Meaney in the 1920s.
for their generosity in allowing us the use of their handsome natatorium for our swimming meet of March 12th."(36) The WSA held National Swimming Championships in the early 1920s governed by the Amateur Athletic Union rules at the YWHA pool; this highly competitive swimming meet included prizes for the champions.