As hard as it is to market an institution to both secular and religious Jews, it is even harder to market an institution to both gentiles and religious Jews. The gym is perhaps the hardest facility of the Y to keep closed, as the weekend is an obvious choice to get in a work out or two.
Since 1874, the 92nd Street Y has been closed on shabbes. Beginning in January, the gym will be open on shabbes. Religious Jewish programming will also be available for the first time.
Y spokeswoman Alix Friedman denied that opening the gym on shabbes was financially motivated in any way, but the Times did the math. “6,000 members at $925 a year works out to more than $5 million, a significant portion of the Y’s $50 million annual budget.”
The Times noted that the Upper West Side JCC keeps its fitness center open on shabbes as well.
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