Israel Experience at Bar Ilan—S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program
Inspiration through education.
Goal of Program
Israel Experience offers the unique combination of Torah study, secular university classes, internships, chessed, trips and clubs to ensure a well-rounded experience. This fun, meaningful and productive environment ensures that each student can fully reach THEIR unique potential.
Attitude Towards Israel and Medinat Yisrael
Israel Experience fosters a sense of appreciation for the state of Israel and love for our homeland. Aside from a variety of Israel-themed classes and trips and in addition to the passion exhibited by the dedicated Israel XP staff, there are over 33,000 students at Bar Ilan University.
Attitude Towards University Studies
The University classes offered by Israel Experience enable students to begin their College careers in a safe and secure environment. They will be well prepared to excel in their future college studies and career path, while maintaining a strong sense of Jewish pride and identity.
Attitude Towards Extracurricular Activities
Israel Experience offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities. From an internship in an Israeli company to a powerful Shabbaton to on-site clubs like drama, music, art and sports, there is something for everyone.
Preparation for Post Israel
Israel Experience prepares students well for their post-Israel experience. As students progress in University and life, they may face challenging academics or work environments, philosophical challenges to the State of Israel or even deniers of the Holocaust. Participants of Israel Experience will be up to these challenges and many more.
The "Successful" Student
Israel Experience does not have any one “success” story. Each student has unique talents and interests. The caring and nurturing staff empowers each students to fully reach THEIR unique potential as they make their mark on the Jewish people and the world.
The following chart outlines our official dress code regulations. Please read carefully:
|Shabbat Attire (with the program)||Kippah & Shabbat shirt required. Synagogue attire must be worn when not in privacy of one’s room.||Formal attire required. Shirt must cover front and back of torso and have sleeves. Skirt required. Synagogue attire must be worn when not in privacy of one’s room.|
|In Judaic Studies classes (from bus ride through end of Judaic studies||Shirt must have sleeves. Kippah or hat required.||Skirt required from bus ride through Judaic studies. Shirt must cover front and back of torso and have sleeves. No transparent clothes or holes in clothing.|
|On campus or on a trip with the program||Shirt and Kippah or hat required at all times. (hood is not sufficient.)||On campus: shirt required at all times. Shorts, skirts or pants permitted.
On trips: Shirt must have sleeves and knees must be covered. No white shirts for water activities. Hat required.
|Off Campus (not with the program)||At discretion of student.||At discretion of student.|
The Israel Experience contains a large staff ranging from formal educators such as Talmudic Scholars and PHD professors to our informal staff such as Av/Eim Bayit couples, Programming staff, and Madrichim. All serve as religious role models and make themselves available to guide and care for our students in every way.
Several Madrichim and two young families live on the Israel Experience campus to ensure both the physical and spiritual safety of the students.
With the exception of vacations and free weekends, students must be back in their dorm rooms by 1:00 AM EVERY night.
The curriculum at Israel XP offers a wide variety of styles and levels to accommodate multiple backgrounds and interests. Some of the English-language courses offered include:
|Aggada||Stories from the Talmud|
|Arab Israeli Conflict||Master the facts and history|
|Archaeology and The Land of Israel||Explore the rich heritage of the Jewish homeland|
|Bain Adam L'chavero||Getting along with everyone|
|Biology||For science and non-science majors|
|Biology Lab||Required for Biology|
|Business Management||Learn how to manage a company|
|Business Marketing||Learn how to promote a company|
|Chavrusah Program||Study the Jewish topic/s of your choice|
|Contemporary Halachik Issues||Jewish Law in the 21 st Century|
|English Composition||Multiple English writing Options|
|How to be Jewish||Practical guide to Jewish Law|
|Intro to Jewish Mysticism||Deep Thoughts brought down to earth|
|Israeli Foreign Policy||Understand the Israeli political System|
|Jewish Thought||Delve into the meaning of Judaism|
|Jewish Women in Jewish Law||The unique role and contributions of a Jewish Woman|
|Leaders and Leadership Throughout the Ages||Leadership Training|
|Literary Approach to the Bible||Practical analysis of the Torah|
|Love and War in the Ancient World||Greek Philosophy|
|Macro-Economics||Understanding the Big picture|
|Micro-Economics||Understanding the small picture|
|Modern Ideas in Physics||For non-science majors|
|Philosophy||The Why Questions of Life|
|Pirkei Avot||Ethnical Teachings and Behavior|
|Psychology||Understanding Human Behavior|
|Statistics||Using Numbers to draw conclusions|
|Talmud||Analytical approach to the Oral Torah|
|Tanach||A glimpse into each sefer of the Tanach|
|The Siddur (Philosophy of)||A practical and relevant understanding of the daily prayers|
|The World of the Sages||Weekly Parsha through the eyes of our Sages|
|Topics in Talmud||Overview of practical topics throughout the Talmud|
|Upan||Multiple levels to help achieve a mastery of Hebrew|
|Why Be Jewish||Motivation for Jewish pride and practice|
These courses are supplemented by Internships, field trips and social activities
Sunday: Morning hours feature several classes of Ulpan/Hebrew Laguage, split into different levels. On Sunday afternoons our students take part in various internships in the realms of business, chessed, volunteer work, science, and Torah.
Monday - Thursday: After our morning prayer services (or optional prayer workshop) at 8:00am, students have Judaic studies classes in the morning hours and a full afternoon of secular studies classes. Evening hours feature optional Torah classes, informal programs, workshops, presentations, and more.
There are no classes on Fridays.
Language of Instruction
All Israel XP courses are offered in English. Students who are well versed in Hebrew also have access to over 7,000 Bar Ilan courses taught in Hebrew.
Ulpan or Hebrew Class
Students take a placement exam at the outset of the year to determine which ulpan class they are in. Motivated students can improve through ulpan and immersion.
Assessment and Grading
Students must take a minimum of 26 credit hours per semester. Each Judaic studies class is worth 2 university credits; students must take 16 credits of Judaic studies each semester, ie either the full beginners or advanced track. Additionally, students must choose a minimum of 10 general studies credits per semester, but may take more if schedule permits.
Students receive an official Bar Ilan University transcript which is transferable to many universities in North America.
Students are welcome to come back for a 2nd year. Options range from more intensive Torah study to making Aliyah and continuing their studies at Bar Ilan.
Bar Ilan University is accredited by Ministry of Education in Israel and the New York State Board of Regents. That being said, if a student is eligible for U.S. Federal Aid, they are encouraged to attend Israel XP through a joint program, such as Yeshiva University.
Rabbi Eli Menaged: Director
Rabbi Ari Kahn: Director of Foreign Student's Program
Meir Balofsky: Informal Education Director
Natalie Menaged: Director of Recruitment & Admissions
Rabbi Adam Siegel: Chief Financial Officer
Interaction with Israelis
Bar Ilan University has over 33,000 students. Since the majority are Israeli, students will likely hear Hebrew on a daily basis. The campus also exposes students to a wide variety of cultures as it contains students from 28 nationalities.
Special Informal Programs
From the Drama department to the “school of rock” music Club, from the cooking club to the Art club, there is something for everyone.
There is a health club at the dorm site which contains a basketball court, workout gym and swimming pool.
Programming for Shabbat and Yom Tov
For Shabbat, there is a rotation to ensure a broad experience:
1st Shabbat – Shabbaton off Campus with program (typically at hotel)
2nd Shabbat – Free to visit friends and relatives
3rd Shabbat – Shabbat on campus with program
4th Shabbat – Free to visit friends and relatives
During an off Shabbat, students are encouraged to take advantage of a “mini Israel Experience” where they and their friends can be hosted for Shabbat in the city of their choice. This will enable students to experience the rich diversity of Jewish life that Israel has to offer.
The program is called Israel Experience b/c students can experience everything that Israel has to offer. Here are just two samples of the many exciting trips:
Negev Trip Highlights will likely Include:
- Scenic Hikes (Ein Ovdat and the like)
- Visit Baba Sali / David Ben Gurion
- Mountain Biking
- Camel Ride Tour
- Dead Sea
- Eilat Boat Cruise
Golan Trip will likely Include:
- Scenic Hikes (Jilaboon, Ein Tina, Majerseh, Yehudiah etc)
- Mt. Bental – oz 77
- Rafting on Jordan
- Boat cruise on Kineret
- Tour of Teveria
Level of Learning Offered
Beginner - Advanced
Hebrew Knowledge Required
No hebrew knowledge required except for advanced Torah classes
Religious Observance Required
The program does not wish to interfere with an individual’s personal relationship with G-d. As such, when they are off campus during free time, it is up to each student to choose what they are ready for and when they are ready for it. But when with the program or on campus, students are expected to observe Jewish Law including Sabbath, Kosher and the like.
Type of American Student
Students come from a wide variety of schools and religious backgrounds. Roughly 2/3 come from Jewish Day schools and 1/3 come from public school. What unites all the students is a sincere desire to make the most of their year to grow as a Jew.
Overall Number of Students (Kollel, Israeli, Foreign)
100 at Israel Experience. Over 33,000 at Bar Ilan University
Foreign Student Percentage
100% of the 100, small % of the 33,000
Number of 1st Year American Students
Number of 2nd Year American Students
Number of Students per Class
Classes range in size from 5 to 50 depending upon interest level.
Students are currently housed at a dorm complex in Ramat Ef’al, an upper class suburban Israeli neighborhood. They are two to room. Two-three rooms form an apartment and share kitchen facilities. There is one bathroom for every two students.
Availability of Private Kitchen Facilities
Every Two-three rooms form an apartment and share modest kitchen facilities, which include a refrigerator/freezer, microwave and stove top.
Facility use during Shabbat and Yom Tov
The dorms remain open and supervised even during an off Shabbat and vacations. The only exception is Passover. During that holiday. Israel XP will happily arrange housing for anyone in need.
With the exception of vacations, students must be back in their dorm rooms by 2:00 AM EVERY night. This offers students lots independence, but still ensures that everyone can get back safely at night to a waiting madrich/a
Both the Israel XP dorm site and Bar Ilan University are fenced in with 24 hour surveillance. The program has the ability to instantly text message all students in the event of an emergency or security information.
Israel Experience’s was founded in 2008 as the only alternative to the two prevalent options:
- A single gender Yeshiva/Seminary program
- A COED secular program
It offers the best of both worlds. A powerful and inspiring Torah program coupled with secular pursuits to help students prepare for a productive and meaningful Torah life in the secular world.
Bar Ilan is chartered and accredited by the Israeli Ministry of Education, and therefore many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada recognize its courses. A sizeable list of universities that have accepted BIU credits in the past is available on the Israel Experience website. However, every college and university has its own policy regarding international study and we cannot guarantee that a particular institution will grant credit for specific courses taken at Bar Ilan. Students are encouraged to contact the school they intend to enroll in after their studies at Israel Experience to determine that school’s policy on study abroad and the transfer of credits.
Israel Experience students also have the option to apply their credits towards an entire undergraduate BA degree at Bar Ilan, with all classes taught in English. Click here for more information (link to ) Israel Experience classes can count for up to a full year of credit, which leaves just 2 years left to graduate. If a student maintains an 85 average at Bar Ilan, they also receive automatic admission to Bar Ilan’s prestigious 1-year MBA program.
Popular universities that accept Bar Ilan credits:
- Baruch College
- Boston University
- Brooklyn College
- Cornell University
- Florida International University
- Hofstra University
- Hunter College
- New York University
- Queens College
- Rutgers University
- SUNY Albany
- SUNY Binghamton
- SUNY Buffalo
- Temple University
- Touro/Lander College
- University of Florida
- University of Maryland
- University of Massachusetts
- University of Michigan
- University of Toronto
- University of Wisconsin
- Washington University, St. Louis
- Yeshiva University/Stern College
- York University
Don’t see your university here? Click here to contact us to find out if they accept credit.
Many scholarship and grant opportunities available
Israel Experience at Bar Ilan
(mailing address) Israel Experience
Attn: Morrie Osterer
2667 Spreading Oaks Lane
Jacksonville, FL 32223
Rabbi Eli Menaged, Director
Rabbi Ari Kahn, Director of Foreign Student Programs
Bar Ilan University
Office of the Dean of Students
Israel Experience, Attn: Alyta Pitaru
Ramat Gan 5290002