Improving Israeli Society by Cultivating a Commitment to Community Service

Compassion, justice and service to others are at the heart of Jewish life and law. At Bar-Ilan these values are core to the University’s agenda, and are encouraged and affirmed, through example and practice, in its students’ and faculty’s activities. Among them, BIU’s ten legal clinics (a uniquely mandatory requirement for all law students) instill a strong sense of social responsibility in the country’s future law practitioners. The clinics specialize in environmental practice and policy, legal aid for women and family, civil legal aid and practice, criminal law, mediation, legal assistance for the disabled, Jewish law, legal aid for Holocaust survivors, criminal justice prosecution, and counseling and legislation. The Faculty of Law is at the forefront in advocacy work and for actually getting laws passed in the Israeli Parliament.

 

The Louis and Gabi Weisfeld School of Social Work combines high-level teaching and research activity with close involvement in practice, government ministries, volunteer and public organizations. The Psychology Services Clinic offers the public a unique clinical environment in which therapy is informed by advanced research, among them the trauma and loss clinic, established in the wake of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, which took place during the summer of 2014.

 

The University provides assistance to handicapped former IDF soldiers who suffer from head trauma at the Rehabilitation Center in Jaffa, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense. The Department of Optometry provides the public with free eye exams through its Optometry Clinic. The MA Program in Applied Criminology requires its students to apply the concepts, theories and methods they learn in class to prisons, the Police Force, youth-at-risk intervention programs, and courts of law. Reaching out to every member of the population, including the intellectually disabled (ID), the Pinkhos Churgin School of Education’s oneof- a-kind Otzmot (Empowerment) Program enables ID students (such as Down’s syndrome) to study towards an academic degree.

 

BIU’s Religious-Secular Dialogue Program gives expression to the differences between people while teaching them to respect the “other” and is now expanding outside the campus to include school teachers and youth in community centers across the country, while the Division for Science Activities for Youth runs special year-long science programs that benefit underprivileged youngsters throughout the country, and holds science-enrichment camps for neighborhood children every summer.