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Bar-Ilan University

Bar-Ilan University
אוניברסיטת בר-אילן
Motto Tradition of Excellence
Established 1955
Type Public
President Daniel Hershkowitz
Rector Haim Taitelbaum
Principal Menachem Greenblum
Vice-Presidents Benjamin Ehrenberg
Judith Haimoff
Administrative staff
Students 26,367
Undergraduates 17,345
Postgraduates 6,806
Location Ramat Gan, Israel
Campus Urban
Colors Dark gray     
Campus of Bar Ilan University

Bar-Ilan University (BIU; Hebrew: אוניברסיטת בר-אילןUniversitat Bar-Ilan) is a public university in Ramat Gan of the Tel Aviv District, Israel.

Established in 1955, Bar Ilan is now Israel's second-largest academic institution. It has nearly 26,800 students (including 9,000 students in its affiliated regional colleges) and 1,350 faculty members. Bar-Ilan University has eight faculties: Exact Sciences, Life Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, Jewish Studies, Medicine, Engineering, and Law. There are also interdisciplinary studies.

The university aims to forge closer links between Torah and universal studies, "to blend tradition with modern technologies and scholarship, and teach the compelling ethics of Jewish heritage to all... to synthesize the ancient and modern, the sacred and the material, the spiritual and the scientific."[1]


  • History 1
  • Special programs 2
  • Awards and recognition 3
  • Notable alumni 4
  • Notable faculty 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


First Bar Ilan graduation, 1959

Bar-Ilan University has Jewish-American roots: it was conceived in Atlanta in a meeting of the American Mizrahi organization in 1950, and was founded by Prof. Pinkhos Churgin, an American rabbi and educator. When it was opened in 1955, it was described by The New York Times "as Cultural Link Between the [Israeli] Republic and America".[2] The university was named for Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan (originally Meir Berlin), a Religious Zionist leader who served as the inspiration for its establishment. Although he was trained in Orthodox seminaries in Berlin, he believed there was a need for an institution providing a dual curriculum of secular academic studies and religious Torah studies.

The founders of the university hoped to produce alumni committed to Jewish tradition, Zionist ideology and science. In 1965, the professors and lecturers were all religious Jews, as were the majority of students. Yosef Burg, one of the prominent leaders of the religious Zionist movement warned that admission of too many non-religious into the university could undermine its character: "If you spill too much water into a wine bottle, you will have no wine." Today, the student population includes secular and non-Jewish students, including Arabs. In the past, all Jewish male students were required to cover their heads, but this is no longer the case. Seven courses in Jewish studies are required for graduation. In hiring senior academic staff, the university gives preference to religious Jews, although the faculty includes many secular members.

Bar-Ilan operates a kollel for men and a midrasha for women. The kollel offers traditional yeshiva studies with an emphasis on Talmud, while the midrasha offers courses in Torah and Jewish philosophy. These programs are open to all students free of charge.

Yitzhak Rabin's convicted assassin, Yigal Amir, was a student of law at Bar-Ilan, prompting charges that the university had become a hotbed of political extremism. One of the steps taken by the university following the assassination was to encourage dialogue between Israeli left-wing politics and right-wing students.[3][4]

Under previous university president Moshe Kaveh, Bar-Ilan underwent a major expansion, with new buildings added on the northern side of the campus. New science programs have been introduced, including an interdisciplinary brain research center[5] and a center for nanotechnology.[6] The university has placed archaeology as one of its priorities, and this includes excavations such as the Tell es-Safi/Gath archaeological excavations[7] and the recently opened Bar-Ilan University/Weizmann Institute of Science joint program in Archaeological Sciences.[8]

Bar-Ilan's Faculty of Law made headlines in 2008 by achieving the highest average Israeli Bar Exam grade of 81.9 by its graduates.[9]

Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan University
Jacaranda Tree at Bar-Ilan University

Special programs

Bar-Ilan offers an International B.A. Program,[10] taught entirely in English, and is the first university in Israel to offer a full undergraduate program taught entirely in English. Currently students can choose between a B.A. degree in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences,[11] where students can choose between Macro Track in Economics, Political Sciences, and Sociology,[12] or the Micro Track in Criminology, Psychology, and Sociology,[12] or a Major in Communications,[13] with a minor in either English literature or political science. The degrees are internationally recognized and is open to students from around the world.[14]

In addition, Bar-Ilan offers a preparatory program that readies new immigrants for Israeli colleges. The university also runs a one-year overseas program called Tochnit Torah Im Derech Eretz, which combines traditional Kollel Torah studies in the morning, separate for men and women, as well as co-ed general university studies and Jewish history classes in the afternoon. Many American students enrolled in regular programs of study in the University also take these Jewish history classes to fulfill their Jewish studies requirements.

Awards and recognition

Bar-Ilan's on-line responsa project was awarded the Israel Prize in 2007.[15] The university's Bible project, in danger of being eliminated by continued budget cuts, was saved at the last minute by an anonymous donor.[16]

Bar-Ilan University, in its capacity as a business school, was placed as the 4th best business school in Africa and the Middle East in the 2010 QS Global 200 Business Schools Report.[17]

Pope Francis praised the university "for its commitment to fostering interfaith dialogue" and said "we are the sons of Abraham and we have the privilege and the responsibility to guide humankind on the path to peace." Bar Ilan gave the pope its highest honor, "Award of Distinction", for his commitment to interfaith dialogue, peace between nations and peoples, and human rights.[18]

Notable alumni

Elijah's M. Goldratt) Physicist and inventor of the Theory of Constraints (T.O.C) a management improvement process based on scientific principles.[21]

Notable faculty

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ [1] Archived August 29, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ [2]
  20. ^ Ethiopian-born Tsega Melaku joins Kahlon’s party Times of Israel 12 Jan 2015
  21. ^ WorldHeritage

External links

  • Official website
  • BIU History
  • Bar-Ilan University – Study Programs for International Students
  • Bar-Ilan Faculty of Jewish Studies
  • Bar-Ilan Faculty of Engineering
  • Bar-Ilan Faculty of Exact Sciences
  • Bar-Ilan Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Bar-Ilan Faculty of Humanities
  • Bar-Ilan Faculty of Life Sciences
  • Bar-Ilan Faculty of Medicine
  • Bar-Ilan Faculty of Law
  • Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA)
  • (Hebrew) Bar-Ilan Students Union

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