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Why Give to Bar-Ilan?

Simple: People give to Bar-Ilan because they have ambitious goals for Israeli society, and they see that we have the capacity for transformational impact.

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With more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students, Bar-Ilan is a critical vehicle for educating each generation in Israel’s founding ideals. It is also a purpose-driven powerhouse of research and innovation, uniquely positioned to address Israel’s challenges in effective, integrated, and long-term ways.

Home to a world-renowned Faculty of Jewish Studies—the largest such faculty in the world—we take as a central intellectual mission the promotion of Jewish culture and tradition through academic study. Unique among Israeli universities, Bar-Ilan features a mandatory core curriculum in Basic Jewish Studies intended to introduce students, regardless of their chosen area of study, with wide-ranging perspectives on Jewish values, history, and thought. We are also the only Israeli university to offer advanced Torah learning alongside the pursuit of an academic degree. Our curriculum ensures Jewish literacy among every generation of Israelis, and lays the basis for a common language—between students, among graduates, and with our Jewish brothers and sisters beyond our borders.

Finally, ours is a culture of ideals-driven innovation. Our scientific and scholarly research emphasizes collaborations across disciplines, maximizing the key strengths of each for greater results and bigger impact. As a Zionist institution, we are also committed to playing a role in the survival, security, and flourishing of the Jewish state. We prioritize scientific research in areas that align with the national interest, and act as a critical ally for the government of Israel in its quest to achieve sustainability, maintain its defensive edge, and spur economic growth by transforming health care.

We also connect with the community, striving to influence, learn from, and merge with the city and country around us. Musical dialogue projects, legal and  vision clinics, and our Azrieli Faculty of Medicine’s work to improve health inequities in the northern periphery are just some of the ways that we use the education and research taking place on campus to create and strengthen a shared social fabric.

Yet beyond mission, values, and culture, it is our strategy that sets us apart. Bar-Ilan’s leadership has articulated a comprehensive vision, the goal of whose activities is influence on the country’s most critical problems. Our dynamic educational programs, pioneering research initiatives and goal-oriented Impact Centers, novel partnerships with industry, and engagement in the local and national community position us to steward ideas to impact, and to make our campus an engine of technological advancement, economic growth, cultural vitality, and enhanced health and well-being—for Israel, for the Jewish people, and for the entire world.

 

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FAQ

If Bar-Ilan is a public university, why does it need outside support?

Additional sources of support help to finance projects and activities that our core funding can’t. They can help grow and strengthen our academic programs, improve the learning environment, and upgrade the physical and research infrastructure for innovation.

 

Most important, philanthropy allows us to be truly ambitious: To recruit the best academic talent, for example, and to fund the most groundbreaking projects. Projects, for example, like the Dangoor Center for Personalized Medicine, whose more than 40 researchers from across faculties and disciplines are creating a database that integrates laboratory findings with patients’ electronic health records to identify the most effective treatment. Or the Emerging Nanoscaled Integrated Circuits & Systems (EnICS) collaborative research center in the Alexander Kofkin Faculty of Engineering, whose System on Chip (SoC) Lab aims to become a center of expertise for the Israeli chip design industry and ensure that Israeli companies maintain their technological edge.

 

Finally, philanthropy can be used to leverage more funding from government sources for innovative research projects, broadening their scope and impact significantly.
 

How is Bar-Ilan a good fit for my core values?

Alongside its commitment to academic excellence, Bar-Ilan advances three core values intrinsic to Judaism: privilege, responsibility, and peoplehood.

 

Through our mandatory Basic Jewish Studies curriculum—the only one of its kind in Israeli universities—we grant Jewish students of every background and in every field of study a foundational literacy in their culture and tradition. We empower them to view Judaism as a personal asset, with the potential to enhance both personal and public life in a Jewish state.

 

Moreover, we recognize that our students will need to help balance their state’s dual, Jewish and democratic character. We believe that an understanding of their Jewish identity is the first, vital step in their ability to rise to the challenge—thoughtfully, respectfully, and with a sense of dedication. We are also a proudly Zionist university, and we prioritize areas of study and research that are critical to Israel’s security, prosperity, and well-being, aligning our goals with those at the top of the national agenda.

 

Finally, to ensure that our students play a role in preserving a united Jewish people, we make learning about, encounters with, and the presence of Diaspora Jewry a part of our curriculum and campus life.
 

Does your commitment to Jewish culture and tradition mean that you’re a religious institution?

Not at all. We are a public university, and we welcome students and faculty of all religious, national, and ideological backgrounds, from Israel and abroad. Our commitment to Jewish culture and tradition—through our core curriculum, our Center for Jewish and Democratic Law, the Lookstein Center for Jewish education, the Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Study, and our flagship Faculty of Jewish Studies, whose 14 teaching departments, 21 research institutes, almost 300 faculty members and more than 2,000 students makes it the largest such faculty in the world—takes place in a rigorously academic context. We do not advocate for religious observance of any kind.

How are you educating your students for the changing global reality? And how are you equipping them to meet Israel’s unique challenges?

We’re always developing new, interdisciplinary academic programs as part of our mission to teach for the future, and in an interconnected world. For example, our Environmental Regulation Policy Program, a joint master's degree in Bar-Ilan’s Faculty of Law and the Department of Geography and Environment, is the only program in Israel that brings together the fields of physical ecology, environmental economics, and law with the aim of granting graduates the tools required to address transboundary environmental challenges.

 

On the other hand, our degree in military and security studies with a major in cyber and strategy, or our major in pedagogical innovation as part of a second degree in Bible Studies, allows our students to pursue their intellectual interests at the highest level while simultaneously granting them skills and knowledge of special importance to their own society and state.

 

Finally, we are the only Israeli university to offer an undergraduate program in writing across disciplines, set to one day be a requirement for all freshmen. Designed to help students both think and express their ideas persuasively, the program is yet another way that Bar-Ilan enables its graduates to enrich the state’s intellectual and civil discourse, as well as to act effectively in international arenas.
 

What makes Bar-Ilan’s approach to research especially effective?

One word: Interdisciplinary.

 

Bar-Ilan is home to outstanding researchers in numerous disciplines, from STEM to the social sciences to education, humanities, and law. By bringing them together around a pressing problem, clearly defining goals, and working single-mindedly to achieve the desired outcome, we dramatically increase opportunities for innovative solutions. 

 

We are currently home to a network of 16 Impact Centers, most of which are interdisciplinary, and all of which harness the power of our university’s greatest minds to address the country’s—and the world’s—biggest challenges.
 

I prefer to give to research initiatives and activities that bring different campuses or sectors together for maximum impact. Does Bar-Ilan engage in these kinds of collaborations?

Absolutely. When, for example, in 2010, the Israeli government turned to Bar-Ilan for help in developing alternative energy solutions for the country’s transportation sector, we created an academic consortium made up of more than twenty research groups from all of Israel’s universities that worked with a network of corporate partners and leaders from the country’s hi-tech sector. To date, INREP (the Israel National Research Center for Electrochemical Propulsion) has developed advanced batteries and fuel cells for use as power sources in electric cars.

 

Other examples include our National Institute for Sustainable Energy (NISE), a first of its kind sustainable-energy research and development center, which was founded in partnership with the government of Israel, and a collaboration between scientists at the Quantum Entanglement Science and Technology Center (QUEST) and leading Israeli defense-technology company Elta Ltd., aimed at developing the theoretical groundwork for stealth-aircraft detection systems.
 

Apart from your research activities, how do you contribute to social change?

We believe that investing in the unique talents and potential of all Israel’s diverse populations is the key to the state’s economic prosperity and to its society’s flourishing and cohesion. To that end, we offer both our Arab and our ultra-Orthodox students special academic preparatory courses and ongoing academic assistance designed to ensure their success, both socially and in their studies. In partnership with the Council for Higher Education and the nonprofit Aluma, we offer students from Israel’s peripheries who lack a high-school diploma but have demonstrated educational abilities admittance to the fully funded “Hi-Tech Achievement” preparatory program, which grants the skills necessary for acceptance to the university’s faculties of exact sciences or engineering. And in cooperation with The Feuerstein in Academia Program of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation, we admit Ethiopian Israelis on the basis of an alternative diagnostic model for the assessment of learning potential, and offer tutoring and mentorships aimed at obtaining acceptance into our most challenging courses of study.

 

Finally, thanks to concerted efforts to reach out to idealistic young Jews who are considering a move to Israel, we are proud to call ourselves home to the second-largest community of student olim at an Israeli university, and to enable their successful integration into Israeli culture.
 

In what ways do you give back to the community, and how do you engage in community outreach?

We always strive to contribute to, learn from, and merge with both the city and country around us. Our musical dialogue projects, for instance, part of the Bar-Ilan’s pioneering community music therapy program, build trust between groups in mixed (religious/secular) communities, while the Otzmot (“Empowerment”) program of Bar-Ilan’s Churgin School of Education offers students with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to study at the university, strengthen their self-image, and help change attitudes towards intellectually disabled individuals in society.

 

We also run a network of legal clinics, including a Civil Legal Aid Clinic for disadvantaged populations, a Women’s Legal Aid Clinic that offers free legal aid, and a new Elderly Law Clinic to represent the rights of a frequently marginalized sector. And our Azrieli Faculty of Medicine’s Etgar program assists disadvantaged patients in their transition from hospital to home through, among other things, home visits by medical students.

 

These are just some of the ways that we harness the education and research taking place on campus for the benefit of a stronger social fabric.
 

Do you prefer that I support one of your campaign causes, or simply give to the university itself?

We always seek partners for strategic initiatives with the potential to advance shared goals. But naturally there are also benefits to unrestricted giving: They enable us to address our most pressing needs, whenever and wherever they arise. In short, we are grateful for either and any type of support.

I’m interested in making a gift. What should I do next?

First: Thank you. You can make a secure gift via our website, or contact Dr. Sharon Goldman, vice president of global resources, at sharon.goldman@biu.ac.il.