What is the Multidisciplinary Department of Jewish Studies?

The Multidisciplinary Department of Jewish Studies enables students to create their own degrees from a wide variety of courses in all departments and fields that are included within the Faculty of Jewish Studies. They can even choose courses from other faculties like Communications, English, or Political Science. Read this article, which was written about the launch of this exciting new degree, to find out why Prof. Yigal Levin, head of the Multidisciplinary Department of Jewish Studies, believes this is such an interesting option for undergraduate students.

Why join the Multidisciplinary Department of Jewish Studies?

The Faculty of Jewish Studies at Bar-Ilan University is the largest and most varied of its kind in the world and includes nine departments in the different specialties within Jewish Studies. All of these are open to students of the Multidisciplinary Department, which breaks down the traditional boundaries between the various disciplines and brings them together in a program that is rich in content and unique in its variety. Each student in the department is guided in their studies by a senior academic advisor.

Program Overview

Our multidisciplinary program, which is taught entirely in English, offers four main concentrations in which students have a choice of introductory and advanced-level courses. These are Bible, Jewish History, Jewish Philosophy, and Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology. The program also includes a wide variety of electives from other departments in the Faculty of Jewish Studies, such as Talmud, Hebrew and Semitic Languages, Hebrew Literature, Yiddish and Ladino, Jewish Art, and Middle Eastern Studies. The department allows students to create individualized curricula, which best reflect their interests within the field of Jewish Studies. See below for a list of suggested “Courses and Descriptions”.

Students may register for a dual-major in our department, combining their program with English Literature or Communications (also in English) or with any other undergraduate program given in Hebrew (for those with the appropriate level of Hebrew). Students who wish to register for the Jewish Studies program as an expanded single major should contact the Multidisciplinary Department. This degree can be completed in 3 or 4 years, depending on the student.

The Department also offers an honors program called “Cramim”, taught in Hebrew, which is open to candidates with very high scores. Interested candidates are invited to contact the department.

Career Opportunities

Jewish Studies include a vast array of different topics, creating a multi-faceted mosaic of traditions, which together form the foundations of our civilization. In an increasingly complex world, the ability to handle different fields of knowledge and different ways of thinking is an invaluable asset. Our graduates are welcome everywhere that embraces critical thinking, evaluating and integrating texts, processes, and relationships.

Core Requirements

  • 37 Credits in Jewish Studies, which include the university quota of Basic Jewish Studies*
  • 25-27 Credits in the student’s other major (Communication, English, etc.)
  • Up to 3 Credits in General Studies**
  • English as a Foreign Language***

See here for more information on “Bar-Ilan Credits”

*All students at Bar-Ilan are required to take 10 credits of Basic Jewish Studies. These credits are covered by our program.

**If the student’s dual major does not add up to 64 credits. General Studies courses are any courses offered (more than 6,000) at the university that are not related to the student’s major and are not Basic Jewish Studies. Students with the appropriate level of Hebrew are permitted to take courses in Hebrew, should they choose.

*** Depending on their English language test scores, students may be required to take additional classes in English as a foreign language. Students who graduated high school in English-speaking countries are exempt.

Courses and descriptions

* Courses may change without notice.

Course List

Concentration 1: Bible

Year 1:

Introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls

Introduction to the Literature of the Bible

Introduction to Biblical Poetry

Israel in the Biblical Period

Prophets and Kings, Text and Transmission of the Book of Samuel

Year 2:

The Wisdom Literature of the Bible and the Ancient Near East

The Book of Isaiah

War and Peace in the Hebrew Bible

The Fugitive Hero in the Bible and the Ancient Near East

Women of the Bible in Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period

The Narrative of Ruth

Year 3:

Humor in the Bible

Genesis: The Primeval History and the Abraham Narratives

The Book of Lamentations

The Problem of Evil in the Biblical World

The Book of Qohelet

Concentration 2: Jewish History

Year 1:

Introduction to the History of Israel in the Biblical Period

The Israelite Settlement in Canaan

The Emergence of Monarchy in Israel

Introduction to Jewish History from Babylon to the Hasmoneans

Introduction to Jewish History from the Hasmoneans to the Diaspora Revolt

The Holocaust and Jewish anti-Nazi Resistance in the Former Soviet Union

Between Silence and Hope: The History of Soviet Jewry

The Holocaust and Jewish anti-Nazi Resistance

Year 2:

Religion and Cult in Biblical Israel

Scripts, Writing and Inscriptions in Ancient Israel

Jewish Society in the Second Temple Period and the Period of the Mishnah

Jewish Religious Movements and Religious Leadership in the Second Temple Period and the Period of the Mishnah

Charity and Community in Medieval and Early Modern Times

Jewish Women and Families in Early Modern Europe

Year 3:

The Return to Zion: Israel Under the Persian Empire

History Bible and Archaeology Selected Issues

Kaplan – Medieval Jewish Women and Family 1

Concentration 3: Jewish Philosophy

Year 1:

Introduction to Kabbalah

Introduction to Modern Jewish Philosophy

Introduction to Medieval Jewish Philosophy

Dimensions of Existentialism: Jewish Philosophy in the 20th Century

Jewish Philosophy for a Postmodern Age

Year 2:

Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed

The Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas

Modern Neo-Maimonidean Judaism

Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav Likutei Moharan

Critique and Defense: Philosophical Approaches to Rationality

Rational Messianism in Modern Rabbinic Thought

Leo Baeck and the Essence of Judaism

Year 3:

Martin Buber and Dialogical Thought Seminar

Interreligious Theology from a Jewish Vantage Point

Concentration 4: Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology

Year 1:

Introduction to the Land of Israel in the Modern Period

Biblical Archaeology: The Archaeology of Israel and Judah in the Iron Age

Introduction to Archaeology of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods

Introduction to Archaeology of the Late Roman and Byzantine Periods

The Holy Land between the Crusader and Ottoman Conquests

Fundamentals of Physical Geography

Fundamentals of Geomorphology

Weapons and Warfare in the Ancient Near East

The Dead Sea Scrolls

Year 2:

Ethnicity in the Jewish People and in the State of Israel

Household Archaeology

Ancient Revolutions of Prehistoric Man

Plants and Human Affairs

The First Sedentary Societies

The Province Iudaea-Palaestina from the Destruction of the Second Temple to the Age of Constantine

Year 3:

Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period

Jewish Jerusalem as Jesus Knew It

The Everyday Life of Jewish Children in Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Times

Multidisciplinary and Other Jewish Studies

Year 1:

Contextualizing Jewish Temples

Turning Points in Jewish Identity

Introduction to Islam

Art, Culture, and Hasidism

Dictatorship and Democracy in the Middle East

Year 2:

Iran and Shiism

Jews in Muslim and Christian Spain

Museology and Jewish Art from Afar and Close

Palestinian Nationalism: Past and Present

Year 3:

The Jewish Experience: Symbiosis and Rejection

Soviet Art and the Jewish Experience

Tribe, State, and Society in the Modern Middle East

Sample Electives (Offerings vary each year)


Multidisciplinary Department office: multi.judaic@biu.ac.il

International School
Bar-Ilan University
Ramat-Gan, Israel 5290002
Tel: +972-3-738-4245
Email for further information

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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