Peace prevails here,
political and religious rivalry will be forgotten,
international unity will be nurtured and developed “
(Lord Allenby, from his remarks at the opening ceremony of YMCA Jerusalem, April 1933)
More than eight decades have passed since the founding of the YMCA in Jerusalem, and it seems that Lord Allenby’s words still echo within the walls of this impressive building.
The organization (or as it is officially known, the Jerusalem International YMCA), which has strived since its establishment to promote solidarity, fellowship and human connection, opens its doors to the residents of Jerusalem and the surrounding area, providing a rich environment for a wealth of educational, cultural and sports activities.
The organization’s roots can be traced to London in the mid-19th century. A number of Evangelical priests (led by Sir George Williams) noticed that the community in which they lived needed support and development on a variety of levels – and decided to establish what later became the first branch of the YMCA. Over the years, the organization grew and expanded, and today it operates in dozens of countries around the world and has more than 3,000 branches, including the Jerusalem branch.
The YMCA Jerusalem Sports Complex is just one of the attractions in the famous building. The structure itself is spectacularly beautiful. It has even been declared a protected building and has been crowned as one of the most beautiful architectural sites in the city. There is also a concert hall (the Mary Nathaniel Auditorium), a lecture hall, a meeting room and more.
The famous Three Arches Hotel, which serves tourists and visitors from all over the world – including key figures in politics, diplomacy, media, music, culture and art – has become a prominent feature of the place over the years and its name preceeds it in Israel and abroad.
The kindergarten, which is operated on site is well renowned and highly acclaimed and is known as the “Peace Kindergarten”. Inaugurated in 1933, it was the first bilingual kindergarten in Israel – and was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The kindergarten is an important component of the YMCA educational framework, which also has programs taking place on an informal basis with children, youth, residents and communities throughout the city.
Thanks to tireless efforts to realize the organization’s vision and instill its values and the bold ambition to establish true coexistence between members of all faiths, every activity, every class and every event held in the Jerusalem YMCA will contribute to bringing about long-awaited change.