Cramim Jewish Studies Honors Program

The Cramim Jewish Studies Honors Program is an interdisciplinary Honors program within the Faculty of Jewish Studies. Cramim (meaning “vineyards”) is an opportunity for outstanding students to immerse themselves in areas such as Jewish history, culture, literature, language, and philosophy. Many of the courses are only available in Hebrew. Unlike most Israeli academic majors, Cramim enables students to develop a deep and holistic understanding of their chosen field of study by also exposing them to subjects, texts, and great thinkers from related disciplines.

The program offers students a personal supervisor who can help design their unique course of study as well as an exclusive selection of intellectual and skills-based workshops. Exploring ideas within their own varied and outstanding student community, and learning from some of the best academics in the world, Cramim participants will enrich their critical thinking and their scholarly abilities. In addition to their studies, students will participate in a weekly seminar in which they engage leading researchers from Israel and the world about their work and methodology.

Bar-Ilan University offers a wealth of resources for serious students. The BIU Faculty of Jewish Studies is the largest and most respected academic division of its kind in the world. Characterized by excellence in research and teaching, our faculty is known for its intellectual openness and for its cultivation of a warm, positive atmosphere of study and discourse.

The Faculty has the largest number of students and faculty members who teach and conduct research in all areas of Jewish Studies, including Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls and Second Temple literature, rabbinic literature, medieval Judaism, Hasidism, modern and contemporary Judaism, Zionism, Jewish intellectual history, Jewish philosophy and Kabbalah, Jewish art, and the history and archaeology of the Land of Israel and of the Middle East.

Going Above and Beyond

Cramim is not simply an academic program. It is a learning community, encouraging discussion and a free exchange of ideas. It will serve as a place of exploration, questioning, and contemplation as well as intellectual enrichment.

Cramim will offer a unique, multidisciplinary BA in Jewish Studies with two tracks of study. Enrollment in both tracks is limited in order to foster the best possible learning environment. Both tracks will offer the option of certification for teaching Jewish Studies in the Israeli public school system. In both tracks, the students will take part in multidisciplinary courses on topics that are generally not included in Judaic Studies curricula, but are central to a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of Jewish history, tradition, and identity in a multifaceted way.

Cramim Track 1: “Concentrations” Track

Students seeking an introductory-based, wide-ranging education in Jewish Studies will have a world of stimulating options opened to them. These students will take concentrations of introductory and advanced courses in three or four of the nine departments within the Faculty (Bible, Talmud, Jewish History, and Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew and Semitic Languages, Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, Jewish Art, Jewish Philosophy, Hebrew Literature and Middle Eastern Studies). They will also have their pick of a wide range of elective courses. This choice of concentrations will give the participants a broad intellectual underpinning if they choose to proceed to graduate studies in any of these fields.

Cramim Track 2: Individual Themes

This track will offer exceptional students the opportunity to delve deeply into either one or two specific topics of their choice. The program of study will be developed in consultation with the heads of Cramim, who will assist the student in designing the appropriate academic program.

Topics of study may include Ancient Judaism, Diaspora Communities, Women in Jewish Society, archaeology of the land of Israel, Jewish ritual and worship, Jewish literature, Jewish languages, and more. Students will take introductory and advanced-level courses in the various departments of the Faculty of Jewish Studies, with a concentration of classes and seminars that are relevant to their topic of choice. Such an individualized and multidisciplinary track of study for a BA is unique to our program.

The Cramim program’s teaching certification for Israeli public schools will include group instruction, mediation, chavruta–style study, independent study and practical experience in the field. This option will be offered to all Cramim students.

Why Should You Be Interested in Cramim?

The Cramim program is unique in that it is the only academic Honors program that is geared specifically towards academic Jewish Studies, with both an understanding of Jewish tradition and the full range of critical, cutting-edge academic research. The curriculum combines broad academic knowledge with intensive practical experience. Graduates of the program will be able to complete their teaching certificates and enter the world of formal or informal education, with an emphasis on varied aspects of Jewish studies – or to pursue graduate and PhD studies in any of the many fields of Jewish studies, engaging in research or in community leadership.

Cramim is aimed at students who wish to invest their university years in significant and immersive study. We seek thoughtful students who desire the environment of discourse cultivated by seminar classes with the finest lecturers in their fields. It is also for students who wish to accumulate writing experience in the early years of their BA degrees, who want to assist in scholarly research, and who will contribute to a creative learning environment.

We welcome students interested in new opportunities, and especially students who want to join us in building a successful and stimulating new intellectual venture.

We believe that the innovative multidisciplinary advantages of the Cramim program will attract highly-motivated and excellent students. The students in the program will be exposed to life-changing learning opportunities and be part of a cadre of thoughtful young leaders, inspired by the riches of Jewish civilization.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to apply to Cramim, students must have:

  • A minimum grade of 650 on their psychometric exam (Israel’s equivalent to the SAT); and
  • A weighted average of 10.0 on the bagrut exam (Israel’s high school-level matriculation exams)

In the event that the students’ bagrut grades are outstanding, they may be accepted on the basis of a verbal test and without the need for psychometric grades. Graduates of non-Israeli high schools will be evaluated according to the standard Bar-Ilan University equivalency standards.

All program candidates will also be invited to a personal interview as a condition of entry to the program.

Scholarships

Deserving Cramim participants will be awarded full scholarships covering the tuition fees of their studies.

If you need any additional information, please contact:

Professor Yigal Levin: yigal.levin@biu.ac.il

Dr. Tova Ganzel: ganzelct@yahoo.com