About Us: The Helene & Paul Shulman School of Basic Jewish Studies

About Us: The School for Basic Jewish Studies

Are the concepts and precepts created by the Talmudic Rabbis or Maimonides relevant today, and if so, how? What can we learn from biblical leaders about modern-day leadership? What can Jewish sources teach us about economy, gender, medicine and science, tolerance, and ethics? These intellectual issues and others are pertinent to our present and future. Over 2000 years, Jewish sources documented the many developments Jewish communities underwent in various eras and locations, presented arguments applying intellectual flexibility, and developed innovative and sophisticated tools to create creative and personalized solutions for emerging human needs. These issues transform basic Jewish studies from a requirement – to a privilege, attracting students from across the world who want to understand how the small State of Israel became 'The Startup Nation.'

From its inception Bar Ilan University has been committed to the intellectual enrichment of its students in the field of Jewish studies, through a unique program for basic Jewish studies. This program offers information and inspiration to all Bar Ilan students, and provides them with the opportunity to acquire knowledge and sophisticated tools embedded in the Bible and Talmudic texts, history and Jewish thought.

The studies promote a personal experience of broadening horizons through debate and discussion in an intellectual atmosphere of mutual respect, and provides an opportunity to meet with the colorful array of campus students pursuing their B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in the fields of exact sciences, life sciences, humanities, and human sciences. The brainstorming is further enriched by the open discussion between students who are secular and religious, traditional and Hareidi, Jewish and non-Jewish.   

The School for Basic Jewish Studies, located in The Jack & Gitta Nagel family Jewish Heritage house, offers approximately 400 frontal and online courses taught by charismatic lecturers who are experts in their fields. We use digital-internet tools to create workshops where the lecturers lead a study process that involves studying in pairs and groups as the basis for a broader class discussion.

Enrichment in the field of Jewish studies for all students is a current need, since "the cultural identity in Israeli society relies upon creating a connection between ancient Jewish identity and new Israeli identity; between culture which is the source of connection to this land – the foundation that preserved our identity throughout 2000 years of exile – and the new culture, which is focused not only on theory, but on taking action – and on the present" (Yair Sheleg, Israeli Identity).

Important note: Students are responsible for ensuring the number of credits in Basic Jewish Studies comply with the requirements for their degree.

Wishing everyone a great learning experience!