Bar-Ilan University

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Bar-Ilan University
אוניברסיטת בר-אילן
Bar Ilan seal.svg
Motto Tradition of Excellence
Type Public
Established 1955
President Daniel Hershkowitz
Rector Miriam Faust
Principal Menachem Greenblum
Vice-Presidents Arie Zaban
Judith Haimoff
Administrative staff
1,250
Students 26,367
Undergraduates 17,345
Postgraduates 6,806
1,852
Location Ramat Gan, Israel
Campus Urban
Website www.biu.ac.il
Bar Ilan logo2.svg

Bar-Ilan University (BIU; Hebrew: אוניברסיטת בר-אילן‎‎ Universitat Bar-Ilan) is a public research university in the city of Ramat Gan in the Tel Aviv District, Israel. Established in 1955, Bar Ilan is 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[edit]

First Bar Ilan graduation, 1959
Bar-Ilan Faculty of engineering
Psychology building in Bar-Ilan University
Bar-Ilan Faculty of Medicine
Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan University


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 left 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 multidisciplinary 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]

In 2016 the university became the center of controversy over women's rights. The university announced it would allow women to read passages of text and play musical instruments at its Holocaust Remembrance Day, but would bar women from singing in order not to offend Orthodox Jewish males. Other organizations, such as Ne’emanei Torah V’Avodah (NTA), protested that it is an Israeli custom to sing at national ceremonies and that extreme Jewish religious law should not be imposed on the general public.[10]

Special programs[edit]

Bar-Ilan offers an International B.A. Program,[11] 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,[12] where students can choose between Macro Track in Economics, Political Sciences, and Sociology,[13] or the Micro Track in Criminology, Psychology, and Sociology,[13] or a Major in Communications,[14] with a minor in either English Literature or Political Science. The degrees are internationally recognized and is open to students from all over the world.[15]

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[edit]

Bar-Ilan's on-line responsa project was awarded the Israel Prize in 2007.[16] The university's Bible project, in danger of being eliminated by continued budget cuts, was saved at the last minute by an anonymous donor.[17]

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.[18]

Leslie and Susan Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center[edit]

The Leslie and Susan Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center is a research center at the Bar-Ilan University (Hebrew: המרכז הרב תחומי לחקר המוח ע″ש לסלי וסוזן גונדה), focusing on a multidisciplinary approach to neuroscience. It houses over 30 laboratories investigating brain complexity at multiple levels, from single neurons, through information processing and computations in neural networks to cognition, behavior and human mind. The center's core members and affiliates combine multiple fields that are crucial for brain understanding, including molecular and systems neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, psychology, psychiatry, linguistics, mathematics, computer sciences, engineering and physics. Numerous research approaches are employed by the Center’s scientists, such as brain stimulation techniques, neuroimaging, electrophysiology, molecular techniques, computational methods, mathematical modeling and behavioral and cognitive paradigms. The center was founded in 2002 thanks to the contribution of three main figures: the generous Gonda family, the president of Bar-Ilan University, Moshe Kaveh, whose vision and commitment to the center’s success have been instrumental, and Moshe Abeles, a pioneer of Israel’s neuroscience research, Emet Prizelaureate (2004) and the founding director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Neural Computation at the Hebrew University (1992–1999), has led the Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center for nearly a decade. Since 2011 the center is headed by Moshe Bar, a cognitive neuroscientist and an expert in brain imaging technologies. Bar returned to Israel to head the Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center as its new director after thirteen years at Harvard University.

Programs of study[edit]

The center's mission is to cultivate a new generation of truly interdisciplinary scientists who integrate knowledge from different fields. The center offers several graduate level tracks, including a direct PhD program, an MSc program and a combined program. Candidates are accepted from a variety of backgrounds, including biology, psychology, mathematics, physics and computer science. Accepted students are exempt from tuition and receive a full scholarship during the course of their studies, allowing to fully concentrate on the research.

The PhD training program builds on six single-semester required core courses, a set of preparatory courses, and a variety of elective courses. Students have to complete 8 credits in advanced courses. Additionally, students participate in a number of multidisciplinary activities including a weekly research seminar and two hands-on short-term research projects. Several advanced optional courses are available, allowing students to specialize in one of the three sub-fields:

1. Computational Neuroscience

2. Neurobiology and Behavior

3. Language and Cognition

The Center also offers an undergraduate Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience providing a solid knowledge base in wide range of neuroscience related disciplines, such as life sciences, psychology, linguistics, mathematics and computer sciences, physics etc., with a specialization in the field of choice.

The Center takes part in the summer Science Research Internship Program, where undergraduate science majors from US universities perform research internship in the labs under the mentorship of the faculty members.

MEG[edit]

The Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center hosts the only Magnetoencephalography (MEG) facility in Israel, operated by the Electromagnetic Brain Imaging Unit established in 2008. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a brain imaging technique that allows studying human brain responses by measuring the magnetic fields produced by electrical brain activity at superb (millisecond) temporal resolution. The unit is headed by Prof. Abraham Goldstein. It is equipped with a 248 magnetometer sensors whole-head MEG system, positioned inside a double-wall magnetically shielded room by IMEDCO. Once a week, MEG is dedicated to serving the community by providing clinical and diagnostic services, such as localization of epileptic foci, via BrainMap, LTD.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bar-Ilan Mission". Biu.ac.il. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Bar-Ilan University". Biu.ac.il. May 10, 1955. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  3. ^ Wagner, Matthew. "Bar-Ilan again forced to deal with the extremists in its midst". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Kalman, Matthew. "A Bitter Return to Politics at Israel's Bar-Ilan U.". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, Bar Ilan University". Biu.ac.il. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. Bar-Ilan University". Nanocenter.biu.ac.il. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  7. ^ "The Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project". Dig-gath.org. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  8. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20070829161256/http://www.weizmann.ac.il/kimmel-arch/iuprogram.html. Archived from the original on August 29, 2007. Retrieved February 9, 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Results of the Bar Exam 5.5.08 (Hebrew)" (PDF). Israelbar.org.il. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  10. ^ Bar-Ilan Univ. bans women singing in memorial ceremony The Jerusalem Post, May 4, 2016
  11. ^ "International B.A. Programs: Bar-Ilan University | Israel's premier university for Olim and Overseas students!International B.A. Programs: Bar-Ilan University | Israel's premier university for Olim and Overseas students!". Biuinternational.com. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  12. ^ "Interdisciplinary Social Sciences - BIU InternationalInternational B.A. Programs: Bar-Ilan University". Biuinternational.com. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  13. ^ a b "Academic Tracks in the Social Sciences - BIU InternationalInternational B.A. Programs: Bar-Ilan University". Biuinternational.com. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  14. ^ "International B.A. Program in Communication - BIU InternationalInternational B.A. Programs: Bar-Ilan University". Biuinternational.com. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  15. ^ "Bar-Ilan University". BIU. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  16. ^ "The Bar Ilan Responsa Project (Global Jewish Database)". Digento.de. November 18, 2002. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  17. ^ Ilani, Ofri (April 2, 2008). "Bar-Ilan University Bible project". Haaretz.com. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Top Business Schools". TopMBA.com. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  19. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°4′4″N 34°50′33″E / 32.06778°N 34.84250°E / 32.06778; 34.84250