Photo by Mark Philbrick
Photo by Mark Philbrick
The Jerusalem Center is Brigham Young University’s center for study in Jerusalem. Students enroll through the BYU campus in Provo, Utah, travel to the Holy Land, and live in the center for programs that last for approximately four months. Students study a core curriculum that focuses on Old and New Testament, ancient and modern Near Eastern studies, and language (Hebrew and Arabic). Classroom study is built around field trips that cover the length and breadth of the Holy Land, as well as travel to Jordan and Turkey.
The Center itself is a beautiful building on Mount Scopus overlooking the Mount of Olives, the Kidron Valley, and the Old City. The 125,000-square-foot, eight-level structure is set amid five acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. The first five levels (moving up from the lowest level) provide dormitory and apartment space for up to 160 students. Dormitory rooms accommodate four people with ample study space and a private bath. Each of these rooms has a patio overlooking the Old City. The sixth level houses a cafeteria, classrooms, computer facilities, and a gymnasium. Administrative and faculty offices are located on the seventh level, as is a 250-seat auditorium. The main entry is on the eighth level, which also contains a spectacular recital and special events auditorium with organ, lecture rooms, general and reserve libraries, offices, a domed theater, and a learning resource area.
The facilities at the Jerusalem Center are available only to full-time students formally enrolled in a BYU Jerusalem Center program. The following is information for those who would like to visit the Center:
Individuals of any faith, whether permanent residents of Israel, expatriate residents, or visitors to the area, are invited to visit the Jerusalem Center. Tours of the building and grounds are provided to visitors Wednesday through Friday every half hour from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and again from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. The tour includes a brief video, a short organ recital in the Center's magnificent Upper Auditorium, and a tour of public areas and the Jerusalem Center gardens. To schedule a tour, or to obtain information on tour availability, please contact the hosting staff at the Jerusalem Center by calling 011 (international dialing), 972 (country code), 2 (city code), 626-5666 (local number).
Because of the intensity of the student program and the amount of field trip travel, students and faculty are not available to conduct private tours. In addition, Center personnel, including those on assignment from BYU, cannot compete with local tour guides and tourist agencies.
LDS Church services are held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays at the BYU Jerusalem Center, Church members visiting the area are welcome to attend, but services are restricted to members of the Church and tourists who are members of the Church should not invite non-members to attend Church services. The Center is located on Mt. Scopus in East Jerusalem and is easily accessible by car or taxi (public transportation is not available on the Sabbath). Please note the following: In an agreement with the State of Israel, the Church has given assurances that no efforts would be made by it or its members to induce, encourage or lead individuals in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza to take an interest in the Church or its doctrines. This agreement applies to all Church members, whether permanent residents, expatriates living the in area, or individuals on short term visits, including tourists. It applies to discussions or other efforts that might be construed to be proselytizing with anyone who is not a member of the Church, whether a resident, expatriate living in the area, tourist or other short term visitor. A simple answer to questions regarding Church doctrines or practices is: "By agreement with the Government of Israel, we do not discuss the Church's doctrines or personal religious beliefs." If asked specifically, it is appropriate to indicate that "Mormons" are Christians.