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 historic building, with its elegant arches, domes, and 152-foot observation tower overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City & New City, is a designated city landmark. Designed by Arthur Loomis Harmon, architect of the Empire State Building, the neo-Byzantine-style stone complex is covered with decorative elements that represent the three monotheistic faiths. But it is not only the architecture of the building that makes the JIY stand out on the city landscape. Since its inception in 1878 the JIY has actively striven to foster interfaith, intercommunity and intercultural understanding. The JIY has more than 133 years of experience in promoting peaceful coexistence among Palestinians, Israelis and the international community. As politics wax and wane, the JIY continues to work tirelessly on the grassroots level to create a place where all can gather, putting aside differences of religion, politics and culture. In 1933, at the inauguration of the building Lord Edmund Allenby captured the essence of all that was to follow in his words, “Here is a place whose atmosphere is peace, where political and religious jealousies can be forgotten, and international unity fostered and developed."