Since its inception, Bar-Ilan's founders strived to involve it in every aspect of the State of Israel's daily life, alongside its role as an educational and research institute. In keeping with this spirit, the university's founding charter states that it is intended to serve as a "beacon of light" that will distribute higher learning and Jewish values among Jewish youth in Israel and around the world. And Bar-Ilan is indeed extremely involved in the Israeli society and community.
Bar-Ilan has always aspired to provide youth in the periphery with immediate access to higher education in their residential areas, as a means for reducing gaps in society. It therefore established five branches throughout the country: in the Jordan Valley, Safed, the western Galilee, Ashkelon and Ariel – which, in due course, became colleges. The regional colleges in the Jordan Valley, Safed, western Galilee and Ashkelon presently operate under the academic sponsorship of Bar-Ilan, offering Bachelor's degree studies.
The university also assists its students, society and the community through the intervention of its staff members and students in the following areas:
1. Provision of psychological counseling to the general public at reduced prices via the Department of Psychology's psychological clinics.
2. Assistance to handicapped former IDF soldiers who suffer from head trauma at the Rehabilitation Center in Jaffa, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense.
3. Provision of free legal counsel in various areas, via the Faculty of Law's Legal Clinics.
4. Opening of academic study programs for the religious ultra-Orthodox population.
5. Scientific consultation and assistance of the research institutes and centers in the area of social integration in the educational system, developmental disorders of infants and young children, quality of family life, male fertility, students with learning disabilities and more.
6. Couples' Counseling, Family Therapy, Sex Therapy, Play Therapy: The Continuing Education Unit at the School of Social Work operates three professional clinics servicing the general public: Family and Couples' Therapy, Sex Therapy and Play Therapy.
Bar-Ilan University offers the elderly the opportunity of participating in academic and enrichment studies within the framework of the Brookdale Program for Applied Gerontology; assists students suffering from learning disabilities, vision-challenged students and physically handicapped students within the framework of the Sybil Wigdor Social Involvement Unit operating under the Dean of Students Office; and provides psychological counseling to students via the Student Counseling Center.
Various departments at Bar-Ilan also contribute to the community via study and research programs, for example: Music Therapy at the Music Department, Training Community Translators at the Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies; education for values, tolerance and peace via the Burg Chair; education for democracy and civics via the Lainer Chair; ophthalmological examinations and provision of eyeglasses at extremely low prices within the framework of the Ophthalmology Program; training mothers to use the Internet at the Department of Infirmation Science and more.
Special dialogue programs between religious and secular students, and between Jewish and Arab students, reflect the special nature of the university as a bridge between extremes in Israeli society, constituting the ultimate expression of its essential role in this context. The Division for Youth Activity cultivates gifted youth and conducts a series of courses and special educational programs for this population from all over the country. The Israel Center for the Advancement of the Mathematical Sciences promotes mathematical excellence among youths. An additional program deals with their welfare and health.