Jewish Studies in Israel for International Students
Getting Inside Information
What is Judaism and who are the Jewish people? When can we first recognize them in history? Is Abraham a Jew, and if not, then what does it mean to be Hebrew? What lies behind hatred of Jews among other nations, and does it go the other way around too? Is Israel really a Jewish state or maybe it is only the state of the Jews?
In order to answer these questions, you need to go back 3,000 years or more, and start tracking down the origins and the emergence and evolvement of the Hebrews, the people of Israel and the Jews. Fortunately, several scholars have already done a great deal of work for you. Get to know their studies and start your own research starting with an undergraduate degree.
Most Jewish Studies programs in Israel are semestrial or yearly, however, there are also complete undergraduate tracks for international students
. The programs include theoretical studies regarding Jewish history and philosophy and study tours to major sites regarding Jewish history and culture. Many students take Hebrew crash courses in addition to their selected courses. Most programs also offer students the opportunity to volunteer in various NPOs in Israel. Studying in such programs is a great way to experience everyday life in Israel.
The programs include courses about the history of the Jews from antiquity to modern times. Students get to know great religious and non-religious thinkers, they learn about the Holocaust, discover Jewish artists, etc. Here are some classes, for example:
* History, Geography and Archeology in the Bible
* Jewish History and Civilization
* Introduction to Holocaust History
* Literature and the Shoah
* Introduction to Modern Jewish Philosophy
* History of Israel post 1948
* Introduction to Rabbinic Literature
* Talmud Midrash
As stated, most programs are semestrial or yearly. However, the international undergraduate track is designed to be completed in three years.
The semestrial and yearly programs
are open to students from all over the world. Admission is based on their current GPA and on their recommendation letters. Some institutions also require a personal letter.
Admission for the undergraduate program is based on the candidates' high school grades and standardized tests (such as SAT). However, applicants may request that the admission will be based solely on their high school grades in case their average is particularly high.
The Tuition fees for the semestrial programs are approx. $8,000. Yearly programs can cost $12,000 to $22,000. Keep in mind that housing and other expenses are not included. The tuition fees for undergraduate programs are $11,000 to $22,000 per year. Again, the sum does not include additional expenses.
Bar Ilan University (Ramat Gan)
– offers semstrial and yearlong programs. Bar Ilan's program focus mainly on Jewish thought including courses about the Talmud, Foundations of Judaism, Pirkei Avot etc. This University also offers several undergraduate tracks in English in Social Sciences
. You can get credit for your Jewish Studies courses in these undergraduate programs.
Tel Aviv University - offers a B.A. program in Liberal Arts. One of the tracks of this undergraduate program is "Modern Jewish and Israel Studies". The track includes courses in Jewish thought and history as well as classes regarding modern-day Israel.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
– offers the Jewish Experimental Education Program which incorporates Hebrew language courses
and Jewish studies. During the program, students get to meet and hear some informal education leaders and take part in internships and volunteer work during their stay in Israel.
University of Haifa
- offers semestrial or yearly programs that include courses in Jewish philosophy, the Holocaust, rabbinic literature and more. Students can also take classes in other fields such as economics, Middle Eastern studies or psychology studies
. Many students choose to participate in internships at NPOs such as the Arab-Jewish Center, the Center for Battered Women, or in special educational programs.