Jerusalem International YMCA
The Jerusalem International YMCA is a cultural, sports and educational center located in the heart of the city and is affiliated with the Young Men’s Christian Association worldwide. The Y strives to foster equality and friendship among members of all religions, with an emphasis on Judaism, Christianity and Islam, while serving as an oasis of multiculturalism and a space for coexistence among the residents of Jerusalem and beyond.
The YMCA building is one of the most beautiful landmarks in Jerusalem and has been declared a cultural heritage site. The place features a hotel and restaurant, concert hall, the Mary Nathaniel Auditorium, lecture hall, meeting room, a huge and innovative new sports complex, educational institutions and more.
The many cultural events that take place on site provide fertile ground for local and international encounters. The Y’s Preschool was the first bilingual school in Israel and the Youth Department was nominated in 1993 for the Nobel Peace Prize. There are also summer camps and various activities throughout the year.
The Three Arches Hotel is frequented by visitors and tourists from around the world including many famous personalities in the fields of art, music, culture, journalism, politics and diplomacy. Some of the guests take an active part in Y events, and the quaint restaurant is open to the public.
The YMCA has a long history that began at the end of the mid-19th century Industrial Revolution in London, where Sir George Williams and a group of evangelical clergymen established an organization to meet the needs of the local community. Currently, the organization is one of the largest NGOs in the world, with more than 3,000 branches spread over five continents and dozens of countries Activities vary from place to place according to the needs of the local community, but the emphasis on the following fields is universal:
The YMCA has a value system based on equality, human dignity, multiculturalism, and the aspiration to promote peace among nations. The organization makes no distinction between religion, race and gender and aims to embody these principles in its activities. Aware of the importance of every human being, the Y aims to develop a peaceful community in which the uniqueness of each ethnic group works together for the broader benefit of society.