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A BRIEF HISTORY OF BAR-ILAN UNIVERSITY

The 1980's.

The Faculty of Jewish Studies grew to over 300 scholars, the largest academic concentration of such scholars in the world. Together with Bar-Ilan computer specialists, they developed the Responsa Project , which computerized on CD-ROM 2000 years of Jewish biblical and talmudic literature, including over 300 volumes of halachic Responsa.

Bar-Ilan University archaeologists assumed responsibility for excavations in Shilo and the Old City of Jerusalem. The School of Education mushroomed to become a central institution within the educational system.

All this growth was overseen by Presidents Prof. Emanuel Rackman (77-85), Prof. Michael Albeck (85-89) and Prof. Zvi Arad (acting president 89-92), along with Global Board chairmen Philip Stollman (1957-84), and Ludwig Jesselson (1985-1992).

Pillars of Bar-Ilan, leaders for over two generations, were Dr. Zerach Warhaftig MK, Israeli Minister of Religion for over two decades, who served until 1999 as chairman of Bar- Ilan's Executive Council. Rabbi Prof. Emanuel Rackman, too, was Bar-Ilan President for nine years, then Chancellor, and today is Chancellor Emeritus. Both men have had a defining impact on the character of the institution.

As Bar-Ilan matured, its role within Israeli society evolved and ripened. The university and student body initiated many social and community outreach projects, including a prisoner rehabilitation effort, a big-brother program, legal aid, study programs for senior citizens, educational counseling and a network of social counselors in development towns.

By the late 1980ís the small, experimental college established by Prof. Churgin had grown to a full-fledged university of international repute, with 12,500 students in 35 academic departments. 300 intensive research projects were underway in the natural sciences alone, and Bar-Ilan could credit important advances in cancer research, male fertility, pharmaceutical chemistry and more.

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