Colloquially referred to as the Kollel and Midrasha programs, the Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies allows Bar-Ilan students to learn in a more traditional, religious environment while earning Basic Judaic Studies credits, and in some cases a financial stipend. Classes are segregated by gender, and taught by Rabbis and religious scholars.
Beit Medrash Program for Men (Kollel)
Offering a rigorous learning environment, BIU students enrolled in the Beit Medrash Program for Men take part in chavrutot, sedarim, shiurim, and the like, between 8:00-13:00 and 16:00, based around a student’s individual’s schedule. Students are required to learn the approximate equivalent of 16 academic hours per week.
Note: Engineering. Biotechnology, Optometry, and Computational Biology students are only required to register for 14 academic hours.
When joining, students are given a time-card that logs the hours spent studying in the Beit Medrash, and are assigned a Rav Madrich (ר”מ) who helps find the student the most apropos shiur/ chavrusa. Shiurim are given over in Hebrew, however an English-speaking chavruta can usually be requested.
Studies in the Beit Medrash Program begin Rosh Chodesh Elul – usually 1-2 months before the start of the academic semester. Students returning from overseas only at the start of the semester should be in touch with the department to make up the difference.
Bar-Ilan Students enrolled in the Beit Medrash Program are entitled to a scholarship equal to 80% of the yearly tuition requirement, and long-term participants can receive credit exemptions from both Judaic Studies and General Elective courses, and the Fundamentals of Judaism Exam.
How to Sign Up for the Kollel and Earn Your Scholarship
- Fill out the Beit Medrash Program Registration Form (if you have trouble with the form, visit the office).
- Visit the Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Study with a copy of your class schedule to determine for which shiurim you will be enrolled and to receive your Time Card.
- To earn your financial scholarship, you must attend 80% of your scheduled shiurim, chavrutot, and the like.
Students may choose to study 22 weekly hours (instead of the usual 16), and earn an additional monthly stipend, equal to 400 NIS/mo. for single students and 720 NIS/mo. for married students.
Although classes in the Beit Medrash Program do not have individual credit value in Bar-Ilan University, students are eligible for an exemption of 7 Judaic Studies credits and 2 General Elective credits for each year enrolled.
Additionally, after being enrolled in the Kollel for 2 years, students become exempt from taking the Fundamentals of Judaism Exam. To receive this exemption, visit Mador Status.
Leaving the Beit Medrash Program
To leave the Beit Medrash Program, students must visit the department and return their Time Card.
Note: Students who leave the program before the end of the first semester lose eligibility for their scholarship.
Midrasha for Women
Bar-Ilan’s Midrasha allows women to further their religious knowledge and understanding in parallel with degree studies. Classes are given by a range of known Rabbanim and lecture, in a homey, religious atmosphere.
Structured differently than the Bet Medrash Program for Boys, the Midrasha offers a few different tracks, each with its own requirements, BIU credit exemptions, and financial scholarships.
In the regular track, BIU students take Midrasha courses in place of their Basic Judaic Studies requirements. No financial scholarships are offered.
To receive credit, students must receive a passing grade (>60) on at least half of their classes. Note: These grades are not included in your final GPA.
Olim Chadashim and tourists are only required to take half of their final exams, and may choose which classes in which to take the test.
While in general undergraduate students must take 14 academic credits in the Midrasha, students in the following degrees may take less:
- Torah Shel Ba’al Peh and Law majors: 6 academic credits.
- Life Sciences, Exact Sciences, Engineering, and Tanach majors: 10 academic credits.
- Jewish Philosophy, Toldot Yisrael, Israel Studies, Jewish Art and Eastern Jewry majors: 12 academic credits.
Instead of solely taking classes in the Midrasha, students in Bar-Ilan’s Metivta Track split their studies between mandatory classes and chavruta study. Credits exemptions and financial scholarship are awarded based on the amount of weekly hours.
- 20 Weekly Hours – 10 year-long classes + chavrutot. Eligible for an exemption of 7 Basic Judaic Studies credits and a scholarship equal to 100% yearly tuition.
- 16 Weekly Hours – 8 year-long classes + chavrutot. Eligible for an exemption of 5 Basic Judaic Studies credits and a scholarship equal to 80% yearly tuition.
Note: Students majoring in Life Sciences can take 14 Weekly Hours (7 year-long classes + chavrutot) for the same credit exemption and scholarship.
To register for any of the Midraha programs, please fill out the Midrasha Registration Form.
Students with no formal religious background can choose to join the “Reishit” program. This program is designed specifically around the students needs and religious knowledge, and meets in small groups and one-on-one with rabbibs, doctoral students, and veteran Bet Medrash / Midrasha participants.
Program requirements, exemptions, and scholarships are identical to the Bet Medrash / Midrasha – Metivta Track programs.