Jewish Philosophy

The Department of Jewish Philosophy (Jewish Thought and Kabbalah) in Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Jewish Studies is devoted to the research and teaching of all fields of Jewish philosophy from the classical period until the writing of Jewish philosophy in our days, including the study of Kabbalah and Hasidism. Special emphasis is put on the study and research of philosophical thinking, mystical contemplation, and interreligious relations.

If you are interested in such fields as Jewish tradition, philosophy, and Jewish history, the Department of Jewish Philosophy invites you to participate in a fascinating, thought-provoking MA in Jewish Philosophy, which takes you into the comprehensive exploration of the world of Jewish philosophy and all its aspects while examining different approaches, discourses, and methods from a broad cultural perspective. Read this article to find out more about the program.

Leading Scholars in Jewish Philosophy

Our faculty members in the Department of Jewish Philosophy are some of the world’s leading experts and philosophers, including some of the most renowned researchers of Jewish ways of thinking. They are all highly experienced in thesis and doctoral instruction and are at your service for your graduate and postgraduate paths.

They include Prof. Hanoch Ben Pazi (left), chair of BIU’s Department of Jewish Philosophy in the Faculty of Jewish Studies, who will be running the MA program, Prof. Ephraim Meir, Prof. Tamar Ross, Prof. Steven Harvey, Dr. Miriam Feldmann Kaye, Dr. Yehuda Halper, Prof. Avi Elqayam, Dr. Leore Sack Shmuely, Prof. George Yaacov Kohler, Prof. Dov Schwartz, and Prof. Daniel Abrams.

Why Study Jewish Philosophy?

Gaining knowledge of the great Jewish thinkers, past and present, expands our horizons, connects us to our cultural roots, and helps us better understand the intellectual significance of the subject matter.

Program Overview

This two-year MA program will be taught entirely in English by leading experts in the field of Jewish philosophy.

The study of Jewish thought introduces you to the greatest Jewish thinkers, like Maimonides, also known as Rambam, Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, Rabbi Kook, and Chabad Lubavitch’s Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

Courses at the Department of Jewish Philosophy offer an in-depth exploration of the works and teachings of these important figures, as well as a review of their impact on Jewish and general philosophy. The curriculum covers a wide range of disciplines and periods, from the Middle Ages to modern times.

We offer a cultivating learning environment, research seminars, departmental seminars, and think tanks for doctoral students.

Target Audience

Our winning blend of secular and religious customs and norms means the Department of Jewish Philosophy at BIU is one of only a few departments at an educational institution in Israel that joins religious and secular, Jewish and non-Jewish, male and female students, allowing them to study together in an environment of tolerance, mutual respect, and acceptance.

We are happy to welcome all types of students including:

  • Jewish teachers from Jewish communities around the world;
  • Jews who would like to deepen their Jewish knowledge; and
  • Students of philosophy (no matter their religion), who would like to learn about modern and contemporary Jewish philosophy (especially Buber, Levinas, and Derrida).

Application Requirements

  • BA degree or equivalent either in Jewish Thought or in General Philosophy from an accredited institution. For applicants with degrees in other fields, additional complementary courses are required.
  • GPA of at least 3.0.
  • CV.
  • Fluency in English (Second-language speakers will be required to take a test).

Requirements for Studies

During your studies in the field of Jewish philosophy, there are two possible tracks from which to choose:

Track A – with thesis

Track B – without thesis

Requirements for Track A
  • A total of 16 hours of coursework divided into: four hours in two MA seminars (including writing of seminar papers), 12 hours in six MA seminars or lectures.
  • Languages: basic knowledge of one foreign language in addition to English.
  • Obligatory participation in the department’s colloquium and regular meetings with the thesis adviser.
  • Writing of the thesis.
  • Final examination based on the subject of the thesis and related literature.
Requirements for Track B
  • A total of 22 hours of coursework divided into: six hours in three MA seminars (including writing of seminar papers), 14 hours in seven MA seminars or lectures, two hours that could be taken in another department (after consultation with the head of department).
  • Obligatory participation in the department’s colloquium.
  • Final exam according to the courses taken.

Sample Course List

  1. Maimonides and Maimonideanism.
  2. Jewish Philosophers in their Islamic and Christian Contexts.
  3. Science, God, and the Meaning of Life in Medieval Jewish Thought.
  4. The Beginning of Modern Jewish Thought: Moses Mendelssohn and the Discovery of Judaism as a World Religion.
  5. Ethical Monotheism: The Religious Thought of Hermann Cohen, its Roots, and its Consequences.
  6. Jewish Existentialism: The 20th Century Turn from Idea to Life – Buber, Rosenzweig, and Levinas.
  7. Introduction to Early Hasidism: History and Theology.
  8. Introduction to Kabbalah (The Book of Zohar and Jewish Mysticism).


Most of the graduates of the Department of Jewish Philosophy at Bar-Ilan University end up in prominent positions in the board of education, the media, the legal system, the philosophic research arena, and other fields.


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Bar-Ilan University
Ramat-Gan, Israel 5290002
Tel: +972-3-738-4245
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The School of Communication at Bar-Ilan University is one of the few academic institutions in the world to offer research and training in International Communications and Public Diplomacy. It aims to empower Israel’s future generation with the knowledge and skills necessary to advocate for Israel across the globe. As a part of the BA program, students are offered the opportunity to immerse themselves in workshops on how to effectively convey messages and build a positive public image for anyone from brands, to themselves. The workshops, offered in areas relating to New Media, Advertising, Public Relations and Broadcast Media, are instructed by individuals considered professionals in their fields.

Why Study Communication

Communication is all around us. We use it every day without even noticing; we maintain personal communications with our family and friends, we consume mass media, and we create and participate in social networks.

Communication studies are intended for those who want to influence and leave their mark on the world, who wish to take part in making tomorrow’s news — today. In order to accomplish that, one has to understand the media: Why is the same topic presently differently from one media outlet to another? What makes Google or Facebook so popular? Which medium is more influential – cinema, TV, radio, internet, or maybe the mobile phone? If you are interested in these questions – your place is with us.

Unparalleled Expertise

Bar-Ilan University has over 30 years of experience in teaching communication, and prides itself with hundreds of B.A. and M.A. graduates. The faculty members of the School of Communication and related units are internationally renowned researchers and lecturers, with extensive experience in all fields of communication: print press, TV, radio, advertising, marketing, public relations, spokesman ship and new media.

Ample Career Opportunities

Our graduates are sought after and well established in all fields of communications, both locally and globally. Many work in advertising or public relations offices, some in radio or TV stations, others in various websites, and a significant number in the press. Many of our graduates are media consultants in government or private offices, while others have chosen to pursue an academic research and teaching career.

During the third year of studies, our BA students can already participate in our internship program, in which they intern in different media organizations such as PR offices, news websites, government offices and others. Through the program, the students gain practical experience in the field and acquire important tools which will assist them in their future careers.

Program Overview

Program Type: Major (25 Credits)
Program Length:
 3 Years
Language of Instruction: English
Admission Requirements:

  • SAT: 1100
    Psychometric: 550
  • 3.5 High School GPA

Application Deadline: Rolling admissions