Cross Cultural Crash Course
Israel is home to many cultures and welcomes people from all religions. In order to make your stay more comfortable, please note the following local traditions and behavioral norms:
Religious Days and Holidays
- Saturday (the Sabbath, or “Shabbat”) is the national weekly day of rest. Many stores and cultural sites are closed, so it’s best to check ahead of time before making plans.
- Since the Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday, the country slows down midday on Friday (e.g. most stores close midafternoon on Friday). Plan ahead!
- There is no national public transportation on the Sabbath/Friday evenings. It resumes sundown Saturday night.
- Certain Jewish holidays are also treated like the Sabbath. They fall in September/October (Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simhat Torah), April (Passover/Pesach) and May (Shavuot).
- Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour fast, and day-long prayer. There are no radio or television broadcasts, airports are shut down, there is no public transportation, and all shops and businesses are closed early on the holiday eve. It is considered impolite to eat in public on Yom Kippur, to play music or to drive a motor vehicle (except for emergency services). There are no legal prohibitions, but we do warmly suggest that you respect your neighbors on this important day.
- Israel Independence Day/Yom HaAtzmaut falls in April/May.
- Jewish holidays follow the Jewish calendar. To check exact Gregorian dates, make sure you are looking at the current year!
- A siren is sounded on two memorial days – do not be frightened – Holocaust Remembrance Day/Yom HaShoah (April/May), and Memorial Day/Yom Hazikaron (May). People stop everything and stand still when the siren is sounded. Be careful if you are near the road as cars will pull over.
- Sunday is a regular work day.
Israeli Society Cultural Norms
- Some sectors of the population have increased expectations of gender separation and modest dress, most notably ultra-religious sects in Bnei Brak, Jerusalem, and Safed.
- Observant Jews do not eat milk and meat together. As such, kosher restaurants will be either “Meat” or “Dairy” (or vegetarian, which is neutral, called “Parve”). If, after a meat meal at a kosher restaurant, you need milk with your coffee, you can ask for soy milk!
- Pedestrians are expected to stop and wait at red lights before they cross the street. Not everyone keeps to this.
- Neighborhood with schools have volunteer crossing guards. They may be young students. Please cross only when they say so.
- Some neighborhood parks request quiet between the hours of 14:00-16:00. Some stores are also closed during those hours (this dates back to the days before air conditioning!).
- You may sit up front with cab drivers. Some love to talk! Israel does not have Uber, yet works with Gett Taxi.
- It is customary to leave a tip in restaurants – on average of 12%; cab drivers are generally not tipped.
- Most houses and apartments are heated with solar water boilers. On cloudy days, the electric boiler will need to be turned on.
- You may see large cups, often with two handles, near sinks. These are not drinking cups, but rather, cups for ritual hand washing. Don’t get confused!
Local Safety Tips
- Shelters/safe spaces can be found in most buildings and in public areas, if necessary.
- When driving, there is no “right on red” in Israel.
- Tap water is considered safe to drink.
- Personal bags are often checked by security personnel upon entering public buildings (e.g. malls, government offices, hospitals).
The Basic of the Basic
- Currency: There are 10 agurot and 50 agurot coins. There are 20, 50, 100, 200 NIS bills. One hundred agurot equals one shekel (NIS).
- Time is GMT +3.
- In an emergency, phone: Police 100, Magen David Adom (Red Cross) 101, Fire 102, Electric Company 103, Home Front Command 104
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.
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 Length: 3 Years
Language of Instruction: English
- SAT: 1100
- 3.5 High School GPA
Application Deadline: Rolling admissions