About the project
The Jerusalem International YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association), founded in 1878, runs educational, cultural and recreational programs aimed at strengthening the city’s religious and cultural divides.The Y provides classes, social clubs, summer camps and more to approximately 3,000 members. The Y was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 “for its efforts in promoting peace, kinship and the dignity of humankind.” The Y is housed in a sprawling Byzantine-style complex, which includes an auditorium, restaurant, chapel, library, sports and fitness center and the Erna D. Leir Peace Kindergarten. The building was dedicated in 1933 and designed by Arthur Loomis Harmon, whose architectural firm also conceived the Empire State Building. The Jerusalem Foundation has supported many physical improvements projects at the Y over the years, beginning with support in honor of the institution’s 100th anniversary in 1978. It has supported the construction of tennis courts and the installation of lighting for the building’s tower. In 2001, it renovated the Y’s 600-seat auditorium designed to symbolize unity among the three monotheistic religions, transforming it into a major cultural facility named the Mary Nathaniel Golden Hall of Friendship. The hall hosts annual concert series and festivals, including the Harry Weinrebe Memorial Concert and the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival. The Jerusalem Foundation has supported an annual party for hundreds of disabled and orphaned Christian children, the Amateur Performing Arts Festival, a Jewish-Arab Young Leadership Program and Speaking Art, a professional conference at which Jewish-Arab performing arts troupes participate in master classes and public performances.