• Issue: July 1978
  • Designer: A. Kalderon
  • Stamp size: 30.8 x 30.8 mm
  • Plate no.: 545
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

On January 8th, 1878 a handwritten constitution of the YMCA was signed by the Reverend B. Canaan. The Rev Canaan and a few friends drew up a document which read 'The aim of this Association and its principles shall be exactly the same as those of the London YMCA and it shall be the duty of this Association to adopt fully the rules and regulations of the London Association". With this simple document the YMCA in Jerusalem was established. A handful of enthusiastic members commenced activities in a small religious bookshop on Jaffa Road and it was there that these founding members met for some ten years, suiting their activities to their differing nationalities.

Slowly but surely the Jerusalem Association began to expand, and larger premises were needed. The next few years were spent moving from place to place.

In 1914 the activities of the Association suffered a temporary set-back when the First World War broke out. In 1917, however, new fields of activity were opened up. The British-led Egyptian Expeditionary Force was moving across the Sinai desert to Gaza and a military railroad was built from Kantara to Dir-El-Balah. Troops were stationed all along the railway and YMCA centres were set up to serve them.

After the occupation of Jerusalem by the British, another and more challenging opportunity presented itself to the YMCA, as over 50,000 troops came on leave to the Holy City. The YMCA set to work, acting as host and guide, showing the soldiers around the city's historical and biblical sites. Huts, tents and marquees were erected to provide temporary accommodation.

By 1920, the "Y" had gained a firm foothold in Jerusalem. Dr. A.C. Harte was appointed General Secretary and the Association flourished. As its membership increased so did the scope of its activities and once again the need for larger premises became pressing.

Dr. Harte moved the YMCA 4 times in quick succession and succeeded in opening up a reading room and library. With the help of his associates he developed a fellowship among young men of all nationalities - the work of the YMCA had begun in earnest.

James Newbegin Jarvie, an American philanthropist on a visit to the Holy City became very friendly with Dr. Harte and was inspired to donate $ 1,000,000 for the construction of a permanent home for the Jerusalem YMCA.

It was on Christmas Eve, 1925, while Dr. Harte was visiting Mr. Jarvie at his home in New Jersey, that Mr. Jarvie made the momentous announcement. The future of the YMCA in Jerusalem was secure.

News of the munificent gift spread and enthusiasm for the project was world-wide. The International Committee of the Young Men's Christian Association of North America, with generous help from the British National Council and a group of Jewish friends in Manchester, England, supplied the funds for purchasing the land.

On August 23, 1926, construction began. The building took several years to complete and today it stands as the most beautiful YMCA building in the world.

On April 18, 1933, the building was officially opened by Field Marshall Lord Allenby.

Today the "Y" has 3,500 active members coming from over 50 different ethnic backgrounds, representing all the continents of the world. They participate in no less than 60 different cultural and sporting activities ranging from art, music and drama to tennis, basketball and Judo.

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Jerusalem international Y.M.C.A. centary