Message from Prof. Moshe Lewenstein, BIU’s Deputy President, and Ofer Dahan, Executive Director, BIU’s International School
Israel’s soul has shifted. Six degrees of separation is the idea that all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other. Israel is a small country and therefore, it is more relevant to talk about “four degrees of separation.” However, since the tragic terror events took place on October 7, we have discovered that the true number is closer to “one degree.” Everyone knows someone who has been affected in one way or another.
L-R: Prof. Moshe Lewenstein and Ofer Dahan
Our hearts are with everyone who has been directly affected by the Hamas terror attacks, including those from the Bar-Ilan family. We support our students, faculty, and staff who were injured, the families of our students who died or were taken hostage or are missing, the soldiers who are fighting for us, including many of our faculty members and students as well as our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, and parents, and those who have lost everything.
Our management forum meets regularly for updates and decisions in light of events, while our human resources department appointed a team to assist our war victims. We attend funerals on behalf of the university and comfort mourners sitting shiva (seven days of mourning, when mourners join together to provide a time for spiritual and emotional healing), and our social workers support the bereaved families in various different ways.
Unfortunately, due to Israel’s war with Hamas, BIU, as with all institutions of higher education in the country, has had to postpone the start of the 2023-2024 academic year. The decision was made by the Council of University Presidents in Israel, which is chaired by Prof. Arie Zaban, BIU’s President. University programs throughout Israel will therefore not start before December 3. We will know the actual dates closer to the time and students will be given two weeks’ notice to prepare for this.
Many of our international students and researchers – full-time and student exchange – have had to delay their flights to Israel, while those who were already here chose to either return home or stay in Israel. We are focusing our efforts to ensure that all those who stayed are looked after and provided with any help they need, especially emotionally.
Numerous new and innovative initiatives (many are mentioned in our October newsletter) have been created by management, faculty members, staff, and students from every department to show their support – proving how quickly the people at Bar-Ilan University and in Israel come together to help in a crisis. We are proud of the fact that so many from the Bar-Ilan family, including all of our international students who remained in Israel, have been volunteering overtime to ensure that people get the help they need – together as a university and individually. It has been a remarkable achievement and incredible to witness.
We would like to thank our partners and friends for reaching out to us in our time of need. We appreciate all the messages, concern, and financial support, and we look forward to welcoming you all back to our campus as soon as the war has come to an end.
We hope and pray that all the hostages and soldiers return home safely.
Prof. Moshe Lewenstein, Deputy President, Bar-Ilan University
Ofer Dahan, Executive Director, BIU International School