In a city of conflict and strife, there is a place of peace. A place where people of all faiths can find common ground. A place where hope and friendship flourish.  

This place is the Jerusalem International YMCA.


“Here is a place whose atmosphere is peace, where political and religious jealousies can be forgotten, and international unity be fostered and developed.”


Edmund Lord Allenby at the April 18, 1933 dedication of the Jerusalem YMCA

Make a difference, and give to FJIY today

Your tax-deductible gift to the Friends of JIY
supports the work of the Jerusalem International YMCA by helping to fund programs, outreach and operations.

Contact us about making a planned gift or gift of stock or securities.


Become an Advocate for the JIY

You can be an ambassador for the extraordinary work of the Jerusalem International YMCA. We’ve created resources to help you share the JIY story and engage others in creating common ground.



The Jerusalem International YMCA’s iconic building is said to be “a sermon in stone.” Each part of the facility holds space for and draws inspiration from the three faiths that make up Jerusalem. Whatever your faith tradition, pray for peace throughout Jerusalem and the whole world.

The Jerusalem International YMCA has been serving the people of Jerusalem for over 133 years, facilitating peaceful coexistence between its communities.


From its beginning in 1878, the YMCA in Jerusalem has opened its doors to people of all faiths and nationalities. For its first 55 years, YMCA activities were held in a variety of locations in Jerusalem’s Old City, changing with the needs of the Association and the changing times.

In 1933, the Jerusalem YMCA’s landmark facility was opened. A striking work of architecture, this facility is also deeply ingrained in the history of the city itself. Until 1991, the YMCA’s soccer stadium was the only one in the city. Until the 1960s, its pool was the only one in the city. The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra made the Y its first home. The YMCA’s hostel has evolved into a four-star hotel, and the snack bar that served troops during World War II and other conflicts is now a renowned restaurant.

Despite the repeated conflicts that have ravaged this city over the years, the YMCA has remained a consistent beacon of hope, peace and friendship.

“It is often said that form follows function. The function of the Jerusalem International YMCA is peace. Its form is to create common ground where all are welcome.”

Michael Bussey, FJIY Board Member and former Executive Director of the Jerusalem International YMCA


Friends of the Jerusalem International YMCA (FJIY) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of (and support for) the critical work of the Jerusalem International YMCA. Led by former JIY executive directors and volunteers, FJIY works to developing donor and advocate relationships in the US, and provides an easy way for US donors to support this international mission.

Meet the Team

The Friends of the Jerusalem International YMCA are led by a volunteer board of directors.

Mike Bussey, Chairman of the Board. Mike is a career YMCA professional who has served as a YMCA World Service Worker for two years with the YMCA in Nazareth, Israel, and who returned later in his career to serve as Director General of the JIY for ten years. Mike’s YMCA career also included 20 years with the YMCA of Greater St. Paul (Minnesota), where he served in several capacities, including as the Director of Camp St. Croix, Vice President for Financial Development and Vice President of Operations. Following his retirement from the YMCA in 2009, Mike has worked as a Senior Consultant for Donor By Design Group LLC, working with YMCA clients throughout the US on financial development projects.

Email: mbussey@friendsofjiy.org

Norris Lineweaver, Secretary of the Board.  Norris retired in 2009 from the YMCA after 42 years at home and abroad beginning as a World Service Worker with the YMCA of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa and concluding as Director General of JIY. Prior to Jerusalem, he was CEO & President of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis for eleven years after stints in executive positions with YMCAs in Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles. Norris received an honorary doctorate from Aurora University and the F. William Stahl Award. He serves currently as the Chair of the World Fellowship of YMCA Retirees.

Email: nlineweaver@friendsofjiy.org

Richard N. Bernstein  Mr. Richard N. Bernstein is a senior of counsel with the international law firm of Greenberg Traurig, PA in Miami, Florida, specializing in business transactional law, mergers and acquisitions, international law and private and public finance. Mr. Bernstein was listed in the prestigious The Best Lawyers in America, 2005-2015 editions. He served from 2012-2015 as the chairman of United Israel Appeal (UIA) and is a current member of the UIA Board of Directors and member of the boards of the Jewish Federations of North American, the Jewish Agency for Israel (since 1998), the Greater Miami Jewish Federation (since 1989), the American Associates of Ben Gurion University (since 2009) , the Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund (since 1998) and the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute (since 2013). He is a member of the Board of Directors, Jerusalem International YMCA, in Israel; and the Board of Directors of Friends of Jerusalem International YMCA in the USA.

Good News

An Update from JIY

The staff and board of JIY are pleased to share a report of activities at the Jerusalem International YMCA for the first half of 2016. It is through these shared moments that the JIY significantly and positively impacts  local communities - Christian, Jewish and Muslim alike. Click on the image to the right to download the report and read it for yourself!


Photo Credit: Block News Alliance/Larry Roberts

Mideast film project striving to bridge divide:

As Jerusalem teens Nadav and Anan set out to guide each other across the Israeli-Palestinian divide a few years ago, they faced a question: Whose language should they speak?

Nadav, a Jew, knew little Arabic. Anan, an Arab, could get by just fine in Hebrew but faced risks if he was seen in Palestinian neighborhoods chatting away in the language of “the occupier.”

read more

Two Worlds, One Sound:

These past weeks saw many Yale students celebrating the Jewish high holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as the harvest festival of Sukkot. As someone distinctly not Jewish, what information I have about these holidays comes from my friends’ celebrations and complaints. As I listen to friends remark on their growling bellies during Yom Kippur, or watch them walk back from services carrying pillows under their arms, I feel like I’m looking through a window at a world defined by traditions and history that I will always respect but never quite understand.

read more

Photo Credit: Yanna Lee

Photo Credit: Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette

Ripples of Jerusalem violence are everywhere:

At a school in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pat, Amir Parkeh, 12, wore his soccer shirt today. He played a game Tuesday night, but when asked what he likes about his team, he didn't provide its won-lost record. "We are one group, we are Jews and Arabs, but we're together," he said.

read more

JIY Feels Like an Oasis:

I’d like to share a brief update after today’s very distressing news from the streets of Jerusalem and Israel.

In a striking contrast to the events and atmosphere in the streets of Jerusalem, the JIY feels almost like an oasis. Our work goes on (almost) as usual, and everyone is very calm and respectful.

However, the streets around the Y today were filled with police and security forces, and sirens have been heard thorough the day.

read more


The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

Performance By YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus and St. Jean Baptiste Choir


For any donations to the Jerusalem Youth Chorus (formerly the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus), please click on this link.  The Jerusalem Youth Chorus is now independent, though still meets at and partners with the YMCA. 

YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus:

Empowering young singers to become leaders for peace. This Israeli-Palestinian ensemble of high school singers of the Jerusalem International YMCA believes in “transcending conflict through song.” “Jerusalem is a place historically if there is something different about us, let’s fight about it. That’s basically the vibe. And so we and the chorus are trying to create an alternate reality,” says Micah Hendler, who founded the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus.

go to article

For any donations to the Jerusalem Youth Chorus (formerly the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus), please click on this link.  The Jerusalem Youth Chorus is now independent, though still meets at and partners with the YMCA.  Any donations made through this site could be subjected to funds being reassigned to the YMCA, so please click on this link if you wish to donate to the Jerusalem Youth Chorus.

Contact Us

We would love to hear from you. Please email us and we will respond as quickly as possible.

Email: info@friendsofJIY.org

Mailing Address:
Friends of the Jerusalem International YMCA
9956 Wellington Lane
Woodbury, MN 55125