Quick Click … From the William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History, Sept. 17, 2015
The Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv were only four years old when a young woman was Michigan’s only representative at the games in September 1953: Minna Weisenfeld. Indeed, not only the sole member of the U.S. team from Detroit, she was the first member ever from the city. And this was four years before the first male members from Michigan attended the games!
A recent high school graduate at that time, and about to start classes at the University of Michigan, Weisenfeld (later Mrs. Minna Kling) was a member of the prominent swimming teams from the Jewish Community Center as well as Central High. Her specialty was the backstroke, for which she held two state records at the time. Weisenfeld had also earned 25 medals in meets sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Union, which was then the dominant governing organization for non-professional athletes.
Weisenfeld did well, taking second place at the 1953 Maccabiah Games in her favorite race, the backstroke. Along the way, she broke a bit of new ground for Jewish women in Detroit. Minna is the swimmer on the left in this 1950s photo from the Nov. 20, 1992, issue of the JN. ■
Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.
By Mike Smith, DJN Foundation Archivist