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The 1970's.

The Wurzweiler Central Library was dedicated with over 500,000 books, many of them rare and priceless editions. In 1971, the Yaakov Herzog Faculty of Law was opened, which quickly became one of the most desired legal programs in the country.

In 1972, the biology department took possession of an electron microscope, the most sophisticated of its kind in Israel at that time. The Department of Social Work became a close partner with the Ministry of Defense in developing special programs for bereaved families. Bar-Ilan University Press, specializing in humanities, social sciences and Judaic studies publishing, was founded in 1977.

Torah Studies: Two institutions established in the late 1970s impacted significantly on the character of the university in the past two decades -- The Institute of Advanced Torah Studies and its counterpart, the Midrasha for Women. What began as a small and exclusive university framework for an elite group of yeshiva students has become an enormously popular program attracting close to one-tenth of all Bar-Ilan students. Institute and Midrasha students have been central in creating a traditional and tolerant atmosphere that pervades all aspects of campus life.

Basic Jewish Heritage Studies, required of all students, were expanded in the early 1990s, as well. Bar-Ilan University Chancellor Rabbi Rackman argues that these studies have played an important role in bridging the gap between religious and secular in Israel. "We have never attempted to create baali teshuva. Rather, Bar-Ilan has sought to develop educated alumni who will not be foreign to their heritage. At the very least, Bar-Ilan alumni are able to appreciate the wisdom of Jewish civilization".

"I believe our physicists are better physicists because they bring to their studies a spiritual perspective and the teachings of our people throughout the ages", says Bar-Ilan University President Prof. Moshe Kaveh (president since 1996 until today). "This is true in many other fields such as law and psychology”.

"And the next generation”, says former President Prof. Shlomo Eckstein (1992-1995), “will see increasing integration of Jewish tradition with research in scientific fields at Bar-Ilan. We will develop interdisciplinary research projects in medicine, communications and business”.

It is no wonder, then, that others today seek to learn and copy the Bar-Ilan model. Recognition of Bar-Ilan’s success in marrying tradition with open intellectual horizons has been expressed in the most surprising corners. Former Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan once remarked that he wished to study the Bar-Ilan model "in order to explore how religion and science are successfully combined without being fundamentalist”.

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