Unity In Diversity

The seeds for the Jerusalem International YMCA were sown in the 1920s as the brainchild of Dr. Archibald Harte. Harte worked tirelessly for his vision of an international YMCA branch in Jerusalem that would serve as a bridge between faiths and cultures in the increasingly divided city.
The YMCA had been present in Jerusalem old city since 1878, then, less than a decade after harte’s dream was born, the ‘new’ international YMCA building was dedicated in 1933 by Lord Edmund Allenby.
Harte’s vision was captured in three inscriptions revealed at the dedication: “The Lord our God the Lord is One” in Hebrew, “I am the Way” in Aramaic and “There is no God but God” in Arabic. Indeed, the YMCA celebrates what unites us rather than what divides us.
The Jerusalem International YMCA has been serving the people of Jerusalem for over 133 years, facilitating peaceful coexistence between its communities. Our dedicated administration, staff, and community members reflect the diversity of the city, and live out our vision of “living together.” As politics wax and wane, the Jerusalem International YMCA is a place where all residents of the city can gather, and enjoy culture, education and fitness programs. In recognition of our efforts in promoting peace, understanding and the dignity of humankind, the Jerusalem International YMCA was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

In addition to these unique attributes, JIY is also part of a network of American YMCAs. Like our sister institutions, we focus on promoting a healthy mind, body, and spirit for all. To that end, we operate on four areas of focus: youth development, social responsibility, healthy living, and culture. Sound interesting? Come see for yourself!

Accepting Others

In 1933, Lord Edmund Allenby attended the dedication of the newly constructed Jerusalem International YMCA complex, and addressed the crowds with the words quoted on this plaque.
These words have greeted every visitor to the YMCA since then. Lord Allenby’s words defined the Jerusalem YMCAs legacy, and have guided our institution since their utterance until the present day.
For over eighty years the YMCA building has been a meeting ground and conference center for people from all backgrounds, and nationalities, coming together to discuss issues of shared concern.
We strive to expand and enrich our services to the local population in all its diversity, and to global seekers of peace and understanding.
Join us in our efforts to create a more peaceful reality in Jerusalem and the Middle East, let us be your home for physical, mental and spiritual development.



Amos Gil Joined the Leadership team of the Jerusalem International YMCA In May 2015. When introducing him, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jerusalem International YMCA (JIY), Mr. Elias Khouri, related to Amos by saying:

“When , the Search Committee of the Board, read Amos’ goal at the top of his resume -‘to use my extensive management, communications, public policy and fundraising skills to lead influential, non-profit organizations to greater impact’, the committee knew that he was the person to lead the JIY forward to greater things. Amos’s experience is extensive both in the non-profit field and in the area of business. His many accomplishments include troubleshooting and renewing organizations in crisis both in Israel and in the US. He has consulted major organizations on strategic planning, board growth and function, good communications and fundraising.”

“Amos brings with him a lot of knowledge as he has founded and directed major organizations and companies, such as:

  • EOI – Elder Options Israel: an organization based on an American model for providing services to the elderly.
  • Ir Amim (“City of Peoples”, or “City of Nations”): an Israeli, non-partisan organization focused on Jerusalem in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and working for an equitable and stable Jerusalem with an agreed-upon political future.
  • CBST – Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in New York City: one of NY’s prominent congregations, with a membership of over 1000, hundreds who attend educational activities and thousands who attend religious services.
  • ACRI- The Association for Civil Rights in Israel: the oldest, largest and leading human rights organization in Israel.”

Mr. Khouri went on to say that “ If all of this was not enough to convince the committee that Amos was the right person for the job, the deal got clinched when he (Amos) told its members that as a child, he has gone to the JIY summer camp and that he has learnt to swim at its pool. Amos grew up in the shadow of the JIY tower, living just a few blocks away.” Khouri went on to say “This certainly has made him one of us.”

Chairman Khouri closed by observing that the board is looking forward to working with Amos and the rest of the team in bringing the JIY to its next stage of pride in the life of the city of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Skyline

The Jerusalem International YMCA building, with its elegant arches, domes and 152-foot observation tower, is a historical landmark that has for decades been a center of cultural, athletic, social, and intellectual life in Jerusalem. In fact, it is the very embodiment of our vision of “living together,” with shared symbolism of the Abrahamic imbuing every corner of the building and calling us to recognize our shared history.

Designed by Arthur Loomis Harmon, the architect of the Empire State Building in New York, the JIY building has been called a “sermon in stone,” because of this very symbolism. The front facade of the building bears quotes in three languages – Hebrew, Arabic and Aramaic – each representing the creed of one of the Abrahamic religions.
The entrance plaza is graced with 12 Cyprus trees to recall the 12 tribes of Israel, the 12 disciples of Jesus, and the 12 friends and supporters of Mohammad. There are 40 pillars and pillars in the recall the 40 years Israelites spent in the desert, and the forty days of temptation. And the blinded angel, the woman with a cask of water carefully balancing her head, and the lamb carved into the tower of the YMCA point to a future messianic age of peace.
Visitors can learn more about the details throughout the building by arranging a tour in advance, guided by one of our knowledgeable staff members.
For a tour, please call Devorah at 054-685-4241.

advocacy & good will

Jerusalem International YMCA needs your help.

Learn how you can help us live our mission, and do our important work in Jerusalem.

To learn more about how you can be part of our legacy, please provide us with contact information and we will get back to you with more information.

Thank you for your generous support!

contact us directly


Fitness Is A Way Of Life

The Jerusalem International YMCA Athletic Department has something for everyone

Swim classes, zumba workouts, weight lifting, team-sports, the best trainers in town and much, much more.

Kids, teens, moms and dads, whatever your age, gender, religious affiliation or custom, we have a welcoming workout environment for you. A healthy body is crucial for a healthy mind & spirit – come try us out!

JIY taught Jerusalem how to swim! Indeed, our fitness center’s pool was the first and only indoor pool in Jerusalem until 1967, and at least once a day someone enters the Athletic Department with a look of nostalgia and stories of decades past. Our membership includes more than a few members who began working out at the YMCA as teenagers and who are now themselves the grandparents of teens.

Body & Mind

Our fitness programs cater to everyone from athletic professionals to those looking for a gentle workout.

Fitness Room – State-of-the-art strength training equipment and cardio machines with personal LCD screens. JIY’s certified, experienced, and professional trainers are here to develop and monitor a personalized workout routine just for you.

Group Exercise – Jerusalem YMCA’s group exercise classes are some of the most popular in Jerusalem, and include coed and unisex options. Never tried our famous Zumba or spinning? You should!


Something For Everyone
The aquatics program includes something for swimmers of every level and interest

Beginners & Advanced Swimmers, The YMCA pool is here for you. Whether you are a beginner, advanced swimmer, or exerciser, we offer classes, competitions, and  open pool times.

An Established Institution. Peering through the doors of the JIY indoor swimming pool with its beautiful mosaics and ceiling stencils you might see toddlers splashing, seniors relieved of arthritis, young children thrilled at their first unassisted swim strokes, handicapped persons liberated  from walkers, competitions, and free swim.

We are deeply invested in providing an opportunity for children and adults of all ages to learn, master and enjoy the ability to swim.

Join The Family

Join our diverse and supportive workout family, and enjoy the benefits:

  • Free parking at in the YMCA garage
  • certified trainers will design your personal exercise program
  • Access to all YMCA facilities, including basketball court, squash court, and pool

Live in Jerusalem? Come in for a Free tour and trial

When & Where

Here are our fitness room, pool and group exercise schedules.
Something for everything at the Jerusalem International YMCA Wellness center!

Visit our blog to check out
what’s new at the YMCA!

Get Healthy Be Happy

Live in Jerusalem? Come in for a tour and free class

No commitment, and no strings attached!
Just fill in the form and we’ll contact you to schedule
a tour of our facilities and free class at your convenience.


Jerusalem YMCA Culture
Despite its rich historical and spiritual legacy, Jerusalem remains the poorest large city in Israel. The result, in part, of years of conflict that have divided Jews and Arabs. This situation has left many communities under-served and in need of cultural, educational and sports programs.
The Jerusalem International YMCA strives to fill these gaps by providing a large spectrum of programs. While some programs are aimed at creating dialogue between groups, many simply provide a place for different people with similar interests to come together and meet as individuals in an atmosphere of mutual respect and tranquility.
Click here for updates on all events and activities YMCA Experience page.

Art and Exhibitions

The Jerusalem International YMCA itself is an internationally recognized landmark, distinctive and impressive in its architecture as well as the engravings and flourishes that adorn its physical essence and face.
Occasional walking tours and programming point out these architectural and artistic wonders.
So, too, on our walls and ceilings are exemplary paintings of various genres that provide a feast for the eyes and a delight to the artist within at every turn.
The rooms of the building also host special collections and exhibitions.
The JIY provides diverse artistic activities for its members and the general public.
Our programming helps develop aesthetic sensibilities and capabilities in people of all ages and varied backgrounds.

Holidays & Festivals

Christmas, Ramadan, & Rosh HaShana
Holidays form the basis of each religion’s culture and only by getting to know and understand each other’s holidays do we truly accept and become a part of the other’s culture.

The Jerusalem International YMCA takes every opportunity to celebrate the holidays of the three major religions, particularly when they happen to coincide.

We commemorated Nakba Day along with Israeli Memorial Day. We broke fast together at the end of Tisha B’av and Ramadan.

Our Christmas party for orphans brings together Jews, Muslims and Christians to adorn a festive tree and sing holiday songs.

In these intense moments, in solemnity and in joy, we may see and we may feel how much more we have in common rather than what separates us, recognizing shared humanity.

Event Venues

Located at the heart of Jerusalem, walking distance between east and west, The Jerusalem International YMCA provides the perfect location for conferences, concerts, weddings, workshops, receptions and more. Our facilities include the following meeting and recreational spaces:

Mary Nathaniel Golden Hall seating up to 600 people.
Lecture Hall with seating for up to 100 people.
Board Room small group meetings or workshops, 45 people.
Library for one large group or several round table discussions.
Front lawn for outdoor events in good weather.
Historic lobby for informal gatherings.
Sports Center including gym, pool, group exercise classes and fitness room.
World class restaurant warm ambiance inside, pleasant atmosphere outside.
Hotel facilities for out of town guests.

Event schedule

Join our newsletter and event calendar

We’ll send you only updates regarding planned events and festivities
at the Jerusalem YMCA, and nothing else.

Children & Youth

The Jerusalem International YMCA offers members between the ages of 1-30 a rich and diverse range of activities and experiences, led by the JIY’s professional and experienced staff.For information on

Children and Youth programs please contact:

Tel: +972-2-5692676
Email: youth@ymca.org.il
All of these activities take place within an environment of multiculturalism bringing together youth from East and West.The youngest members of our community, pre-schoolers and kindergarteners, can find their home at the Lier Peace Pre-School, a multicultural gan that employs anthroposophic pedagogy to empower children. In the summer and during holidays, the YMCA continues to provide excellent children’s programs  and summercamps to Jerusalem’s children age 5-14, 60 years after the first summer camp was held.All children and young adults are invited to our take part in our programming irrespective of religion, race, gender, or nationality. Our activities are administered in all languages, under the guidance of professional translators.

Peace Pre-School

Leir Family Peace Pre-School
The Jerusalem International YMCA Peace Pre-school was founded in 1981. Its educational philosophy is child-centered, emphasizing flexibility and freedom of choice, self-experience and self expression of the individual.Teachers respect each child’s needs and individuality and particularly encourage creativity.

The Pre-School is attended by 100 Muslim, Jewish and Christian children, ranging in age from 10 months to 5 years.

Mixed classes , each with two teachers, one Jewish and one Arab (Muslim or Christian), each speaking their own mother tongue. Stories are told alternatively in Arabic and Hebrew, songs are sung in each language, each culture is given equal place and weight in the classroom.

Each class includes children of many different nationalities who speak English and a variety of other languages.

Religious festivals and holidays of the three monotheistic faiths, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, are celebrated together. Emphasis is placed on strengthening each child’s religious identity while at the same time developing an understanding of the significance of the holidays and cultures of others.

Children enjoy music classes, swimming lessons and a variety of other extra activities.

Youth Groups

Our Youth Department offers so much, we really think you should check out all the different programs.
For details:
+972-2-5692676 | youth@ymca.org.il | REGISTER NOW!

ACTV Video Youth Group – Learn professional video and tell your story while making new friends.
YMCA Youth Leadership Club – Join talented, passionate teens that want to lead and influence.
Theatre Group – A unique performing youth ensemble!
Jerusalem Youth Chorus – Come sing your heart out. Artist collaborations, and concert tours!

Visit the Youth Chorus Website

Dialogue & Empathy

Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders
We are dedicated to contributing to the formation of ethical leaders for tomorrow by investing in our youth today. Our initiatives nurture a culture of peace in children and teens with a goal of changing mindsets and altering negative stereotypes.

These programs strengthen young people to inspire and guide. We seek out and invest in youngsters who show potential to lead their generation to change. We empower them to dedicate themselves to public service and commitment to effecting social change. We provide young Israelis and Palestinians with the tools to realize these dreams by training, experience and mentoring.

Peaceful Existence Through Dialogue 

Our dialogue groups enable Palestinians and Israelis to hear one another and to see the conflict through the other’s eyes. Empathy replaces hatred, biases laid to rest, knowledge erases prejudice, and dialogue carves the path to coexistence. These young people will make a difference, and that difference will start here at the Jerusalem International YMCA.

Disocver our programs

Register Now!

  • Preschool – Tel. +972-2-5692681
  • Youth Programs – Tel. +972-2-5692676 Email: youth@ymca.org.il
  • We will gladly answer any question you have, and invite you for a visit. Just Leave us your contact information and we will get back to you promptly.

    Jerusalem International YMCA

    Jerusalem International YMCA, 26 King David St. Jerusalem 91002 Israel


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