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 18,000 students and 1,350 faculty members.
אוניברסיטת בר-אילן (Hebrew)
|Motto||Tradition of Excellence|
|Colors||Dark Green and Sky Blue|
The university aims 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".
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 Professor Pinkhos Churgin, an American Orthodox rabbi and educator, who was president from 1955 to 1957 where he was succeeded by Joseph H. Lookstein who was president from 1957 to 1967. When it was opened in 1955, it was described by The New York Times "as Cultural Link Between the [Israeli] Republic and America". 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 religious 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. Seven courses in Jewish studies are required for graduation. In hiring senior academic staff, the university used to give preference to religious Jews, although this is no longer true, and the faculty includes many secular Jewish members, and also Arab faculty, such as Dr. Totry - Jubran Manal at the law faculty. Presidents who followed were Max Jammer (1967–77), Emanuel Rackman (1977–86), Michael Albeck (1986–89), Ernest Krausz (1989), Zvi Arad (1989–92), and Shlomo Eckstein (1992-96).
Yitzhak Rabin's convicted assassin, Yigal Amir, was a student of law and computer science 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 1995 assassination was to encourage dialogue between left-wing and right-wing students.
Under university president Moshe Kaveh (1996-2013), Bar-Ilan underwent a major expansion, with new buildings added on the northern side of the campus. New science programs have been introduced, including a multidisciplinary brain research center  and a center for nanotechnology. The university has placed archaeology as one of its priorities, and this includes excavations such as the Tell es-Safi/Gath archaeological excavations and the recently opened Bar-Ilan University/Weizmann Institute of Science joint program in Archaeological Sciences.
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. Daniel Hershkowitz was university President from 2013 to 2017.
During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the university allowed 30 of Dr. Uri Weiss’ students to switch out of his course after they accused him of being an extreme leftist and said they didn’t want to study with him.
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, 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.
Through its Machon HaGavoah LeTorah, established in the 1970s, Bar-Ilan operates a kollel / bet midrash for men, and a midrasha for women.  The kollel offers traditional yeshiva studies with an emphasis on Talmud and Halakha (Jewish law), while the midrasha offers courses in Tanakh, Halakha, and Machshavah (Jewish philosophy). The midrasha is the largest in Israel. These programs are open to all students free of charge.
Bar-Ilan University has eight faculties: Exact Sciences, Life Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, Jewish Studies, Medicine, Engineering, and Law. There are also interdisciplinary studies. At the undergraduate level, ten courses in Jewish studies related subjects are required from all students.
Bar-Ilan offers an International B.A. Program, 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, where students can choose between a macro track in economics, political sciences, and sociology, or the Micro Track in Criminology, Psychology, and Sociology, or a major in communications, with a minor in either English literature or political science. The degrees are internationally recognized and are open to students from all over the world.
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 recognitionEdit
Bar-Ilan's on-line responsa project was awarded the Israel Prize in 2007. The university's Bible project, in danger of being eliminated by continued budget cuts, was saved at the last minute by an anonymous donor.
- Zvi Arad (1942-2018) - mathematician, acting President of Bar-Ilan University, President of Netanya Academic College
- Ami Ayalon - Former head of the Shin Bet and member of the Knesset for the Labor Party.
- Michael Ben-Ari - Israeli politician and formerly a member of the Knesset for the National Union Party.
- Kotel Da-Don - Croatian Orthodox rabbi of the Bet Israel community in Zagreb.
- Avi Dichter - current Minister of Home Front Defence. Former Shin Bet director.
- Yuval Diskin - 12th Director of the Israeli Internal Security Service Shin Bet.
- Esther Farbstein - Holocaust scholar
- Tzipi Hotovely - Israeli diplomat and former politician who serves as the current Ambassador of Israel to the United Kingdom. Formerly Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Minister of Settlement Affairs, and as a member of the Knesset for the Likud Party
- Gila Gamliel - Israeli politician for the Likud Party. Formerly Minister for Social Equality, and Minister of Environmental Protection
- Michael Harris - named the best Israeli in the field of academics, as one of "The 10 Most Successful Israelis in 10 Different Fields in the World" by Maariv in April 2012.
- Joseph Klafter - chemical physics professor, the eighth President of Tel Aviv University
- Joshua Kulp - Talmudic scholar
- Norman Lebrecht (born 1948) - British commentator on music and cultural affairs, and novelist
- Tzipi Livni - Israeli lawyer and politician, head of the Opposition from 2009-2012. Formerly Minister of Justice, and in charge of negotiations with the Palestinians
- Gadeer Mreeh (born 1984) - first woman of Druze descent to become a member of the Knesset
- Avi Weinroth - Lawyer represents corporations in Israel and governmental companies.
- Doron Aurbach
- Nathan Aviezer
- Moshe Bar
- Avi Bell
- Pinkhos Churgin
- Cyril Domb
- Shlomo Eckstein
- Adam Ferziger
- Jonathan Fox
- Hillel Furstenberg
- Ruth Halperin-Kaddari
- Oren Harman
- Shlomo Havlin
- Arye L. Hillman
- Max Jammer
- Efraim Karsh
- Mordechai Kedar
- Sarit Kraus
- Ernest Krausz
- Baruch Kurzweil
- Aren Maeir
- Arie Reich
- Mary Schaps
- Daniel Sperber
- Avraham Trahtman
- Eli Vakil
- Zeev Zalevsky
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- "Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, Bar Ilan University". Biu.ac.il. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
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- "The Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project". Dig-gath.org. Archived from the original on April 19, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
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- Skop, Yarden (14 July 2016). "Israeli University Reneges on Letting Students Skip Settler Critic's Exam". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
- Bar-Ilan Univ. bans women singing in memorial ceremony The Jerusalem Post, May 4, 2016
- בית המדרש , mgl.org.il
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- "International B.A. Program in Communication - BIU InternationalInternational B.A. Programs: Bar-Ilan University". Biuinternational.com. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
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- "The Bar Ilan Responsa Project (Global Jewish Database)". Digento.de. November 18, 2002. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
- Ilani, Ofri (April 2, 2008). "Bar-Ilan University Bible project". Haaretz.com. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bar-Ilan University.|
- Official website
- BIU History
- Bar-Ilan University – Study Programs for Olim/Foreign Students
- Bar Ilan details in WHED (World Higher Education Database) Website (IAU-001455)
- Bar-Ilan responsa website
- Bar-Ilan Faculty of Medicine
- Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA)
- Bar-Ilan Faculty of Law
- (in Hebrew) Bar-Ilan Students Union
- (in Spanish) Amigos Latinoamericanos de la Universidad de Bar Ilan