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History of YMCA Jerusalem
Established in 1878 and operated by YMCA of the USA since 1920, the Jerusalem International YMCA (JIY) is a safe haven for religious, cultural and intellectual freedom for the people of Jerusalem. Jewish, Muslim and Christian people of all ages come to JIY to enjoy the atmosphere of understanding and unity. For its efforts in promoting the dignity of humankind and peace in the region, JIY was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
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The YMCA has a deep and colorful history. Numerous well known dignitaries have visited the property including Madaline Albright, Hillary Clinton, Warren Christopher. The kindergarten is world renown and unites Jewish, Christian and Moslem children together for daily school activities.
With its elegant arches, domes and 152-foot observation tower overlooking Jerusalem's Old City, JIY is a designated city landmark. JIY is acknowledged as a center of cultural, athletic, social and intellectual life in Jerusalem and is visited by more than 500,000 people annually. In addition to offering amenities such as fitness, dining and hotel facilities, JIY's auditorium often hosts the most socially and culturally significant events in the region. JIY's presence serves as a foundation of optimism and offers a message of hope and reconciliation for all in the Holy Land.
Like YMCAs in the United States, JIY serves the needs of its local community through programs focused on the holistic development of children and youth, health and well-being for all and family strengthening. A key difference, however, is that JIY must face the daily challenges of serving a community where divisions between belief systems pose a threat to the well-being of children, youth and adults.
In an effort to end the cycle of prejudice and violence, JIY offers a variety of programs designed to stimulate positive connections among people of all faiths and backgrounds. From the integrated Peace Preschool to coexistence programs for young adults, JIY is helping to impact a generation of future leaders who will have the tools to advocate for and secure peace in the region. Financial support from U.S. YMCAs and the international community has played an invaluable role in the continuation and success of JIY's unique programs which foster harmony and the building of spirit, mind and body.
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