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The wave of Russian immigration in the early 1990’s brought about a 90 percent rise in the student population and the Bar-Ilan expanded to meet the demand. A school of economic and business administration was opened. Regional colleges were opened in Ashkelon, Ariel, Acre, Safed and Tzemah. Study courses were opened at army bases around the country. Graduate studies were expanded, and inter-disciplinary centers of excellence were established.
University Presidents Prof. Shlomo Eckstein (1992-1995) and Prof. Moshe Kaveh (1996-present), and Executive Council Chairman Prof. Yaakov Neeman (1999-today) led the university through this period of astounding and rapid growth, leading to the definition of the university master plan to double in size by building some $200 million of new facilities on a campus extension north of the main campus in Ramat Gan.
Between 1995 and 2000, university fundraising doubled. $47 million was invested in new building construction – an expansion necessitated by the growth in the student body and the ever-increasing volume of scientific activity, especially graduate teaching and research, underway at Bar- Ilan U.
In the late 1990’s the university also began to play an ever- growing role in promoting Jewish identity and Jewish education, in Israel and in the Diaspora. In 1996, Prof. Kaveh established the International Center for Jewish Identity, along with more than three dozen educational centers at Bar-Ilan University with the purpose of reaching out to the Jewish world at-large, beyond the confines of academia. Through significant fundraising efforts, an operating budget of $3 million a year was created to support educational programming and research in this important field.
Among the major programs initiated were a Jewish university on the Internet, curriculum development and professional training for Jewish studies principals and teachers worldwide, religious-secular dialogue seminars, and intervention programs that teach Judaism and democracy as complementary value systems and that promote tolerance.
Also established were intellectual centers that promote a renewed Zionist agenda, research programs that seek to study and suggest anti-dotes to assimilation, and even a center to research “secular” Jewish civilization and its contribution to an enriched Jewish life.
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