The Faces of Bar-Ilan University

The Faces of Bar-Ilan University

The Faces of Bar-Ilan University

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Sarah Hasenson

Sarah Hasenson


Meet Sarah Hasenson, 26, a PhD candidate at BIU’s Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, studying Biology. Sarah grew up in in a Zionist home in Stockholm, Sweden. Throughout her childhood she was involved in Bnei Akiva, as well as the Chabad of Stockholm. She came to Israel for a gap year program in 2009, touring the country and experiencing different aspects of the Israeli culture. At the end of that year, she made Aliyah. “I grew up in a small community of Jews in Sweden,” Sarah explains, “I wanted to feel part of the community here in Israel.”


Dr Joseph Keshet

Dr. Joseph Keshet
Disease, Distress & Quality of Relationships: All in the Voice

Beyond words, volumes may be learned from the human voice: Is a cry for help genuine or fake? Does a person unknowingly suffer from a vocal cord disorder? What is the relationship between spouses, or the compatibility of a therapist and patient?  

BIU computer scientist, Dr. Joseph Keshet, a foremost authority on voice analysis, has developed sophisticated systems and software to address such questions and tap the vast potential in this exciting frontier field. Read more >>

Dr Eyal Yaniv

Dr. Eyal Yaniv
Head, Gradute School of Business Administration

The Head of BIU’s Graduate School of Business Administration, Dr. Eyal Yaniv, is considered one of Israel’s internet pioneers, and is also the co-founder of of Haaretz Group (now Walla). Dr. Yaniv returned to BIU after completing his post doc at Harvard Business School.  Having acquired three degrees in Computer Science and Psychology at BIU, in the mid 1990’s Yaniv ventured into the business world. He headed various divisions at IAI and IBM, before delving into internet entrepreneurship. “When internet bandwidth began to evolve, I founded “Nonstop”, a company providing ADSL high-speed Internet and infrastructure services.” Read more >>


 Ami and Samara Yunger

Meet Ami Yunger (24), a third-year undergrad student of Economics and Business Management. Originally from Montreal, Ami was raised in a Zionist home, joined Bnei Akiva and attended Moshava summer camps. After graduating high school in 2010, he came to Israel for a Yeshiva gap year program. Early in the program, he took part in a memorial trip to Poland with his Yeshiva and it was there that he decided to make Aliyah. "I wanted to be where I felt I belong, to feel like I was part of something important," says Ami. And part of belonging was joining the IDF. In 2012 he enlisted in the Combat Engineering Corps and not long after made Aliyah. " This is where I want to be. The place that you can feel is really yours. Here you can make a big impact even by doing the smallest things."

Dr Amos Danielli

Dr. Amos Danielli: Rapid and Accurate Diagnosis for Heart Attacks

Since joining BIU's Faculty of Engineering in 2014, Dr. Amos Danielli is exploring new medical applications for the novel technology he developed, which can help shorten diagnosis time for heart patients. Each year, over 10 million people visit emergency rooms in US hospitals with symptoms of chest pain. About 8-9% of these patients have actually suffered heart attacks, though most of them cannot be diagnosed with simple clinical evaluation and an electrocardiogram test. Typically an accurate diagnosis can take six to nine hours after the onset of symptoms — and longer if stress testing is required. Read more >>

Sarit Lapp Sarit Lapp

Meet Sarit Lapp (22), a first-year undergrad in Communications and Political Science. Sarit was brought up in a religious-Zionist family in Ohio. Though her family made Aliyah when she was 6-months old, they returned to the States when she was seven. "We always intended to move back to Israel, and when I graduated high school, we decided it was the perfect time to do so." Upon their return to Israel, the Lapp family settled in Modi’in. "I always wanted to join the army," she shares, “but I had just moved back, and wasn't fully fluent in Hebrew, so I was a little intimidated.” Instead, Sarit joined the one-year overseas program in Midreshet Yeud. "This year gave me time to acclimate and to grow religiously, allowing me to feel more prepared for whatever challenges may come my way."
Dr Moshe Dessau

Dr. Moshe Dessau
Head, Structural Biology of Infectious Diseases Lab, School of Medicine

Research at Dr. Dessau’s lab focuses on viruses common in developing countries. His long-term research objective is to detect biological processes indigenous to those viruses and parasites, in order to develop groundbreaking treatments. Dr. Dessau uses structural biology and biophysical techniques to study the function of viral proteins on the atomic level. Dessau says structural biology analyzes biological processes using the laws of physics and chemistry, and enables scientists to understand these mechanisms in an atomic resolution. Read more >>

Netanel Kleinman

Netanel Kleinman 

A second-year undergraduate in English Literature with a minor in Classics, Netanel Kleinman (25) is originally from Barnet, a suburban borough in North London, England. Growing up, Netanel was involved in Bnei Akiva, later attending Yeshivat HaKotel in Israel. He ultimately served in the artillery corps as part of his Hesder-Yeshiva program and came on Aliyah. Regarding his college major, he says, "I decided to do the same degree as I intended to do in England -- English literature." After researching the programs offered by Hebrew University and Bar-Ilan University, he was drawn to the one at Bar-Ilan. Netanel was impressed by the warm reception of the department when he inquired about the program. "They were incredibly friendly and eager to help. They are a lovely department." Read more >>

Prof Daniel Sperber

Rabbi Prof. Daniel Sperber:
Finding Meaning in Prayer is Explored

For most people, it is extremely challenging to find meaning in prayer. Rabbi Daniel Sperber, who recently spoke in at the Young Israel of Scarsdale about this issue, said that this is because “we are trying to understand the infinite — the incomprehensible.”

Rabbi Sperber, professor emeritus of Talmud at Bar-Ilan University and past Israel Prize winner, explained that part of the problem comes from the contradictory nature of our prayer, which should be more personal in nature yet has become increasingly standardized. “Prayer should come from the heart or spirit. Ideally, it should be formulated by what we feel at the moment.” Read more >>

Deena Felsenthal

Deena Felsenthal

Meet Deena Felsenthal (22) a first-year student in Social Work, originally from Los Angeles, California. Deena attended a religious girls' high school before coming to Migdal Oz Midrasha for a gap year program, planning to go back to the US to pursue an academic degree. "I didn't intend on staying in Israel," she reveals. "I was accepted to Stern College, but it was important for me to experience Israel first. A month into my stay, I made up my mind to make Aliyah." At first, her parents were shocked. "But when they realized I was really serious about making Aliyah, they supported me fully."


Prof Yehuda Lindell

Prof. Yehuda Lindell

Prof. Yehuda Lindell is a researcher at BIU’s Department of Computer Science, specializing in cryptography, secure protocols and theoretical foundations. Lindell focuses on questions of feasibility and efficiency, which enable coding and protecting personal information in internet systems, and on secure protocols, which provide an effective and discreet calculation of data without revealing its source or contents. Lindell explains: “A primary aim of my research in this area is to demonstrate that secure computation has potential for real-world use, and many real-world problems can already be solved today.” Read more >>



Student Spotlight on: 
Leora Jaffe Steinman and Noam Steinman

Meet Leora Jaffe (22), who just completed her BA in Political Studies and Jewish Studies. Growing up in a modern orthodox family in Cleveland, Ohio, Leora attended the local Jewish school and was involved in the Bnei Akiva Youth Movement. "After high school I came to Midreshet HaRova for a gap year, and planned to return to America for college, where I was already enrolled at Brandeis University. After that I was planning to make Aliyah.” Read more >>

Prof Yona Amitai

Prof. Yona Amitai:
Is Desalinated Water a Health Hazard?

Underscoring the risk of consuming desalinated water devoid of magnesium, BIU Prof. Yona Amitai, a public health expert, recommends adding the mineral to drinking water in order to thwart fatal heart disease.

Warning: Consuming desalinated water may be hazardous to your heart!

That, in fact, is the conclusion of a joint Israeli study conducted by researchers from BIU and Sheba Medical Center (Tel Hashomer). Read more >>

Prof. Avi Bell

Prof. Avi Bell:
From Tax Laws to Warfare – Anything but Boring

Prof. Avi Bell has never shied away from controversy. The professor in the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Law has written on hot topics such as the infamous Goldstone Report and the implications of the Levy Commission’s report on the status of building in Judea and Samaria. Originally from Chicago, Bell has been at Bar-Ilan since 2002 and, despite such high profile papers, he jokes that most of his work is actually on “really boring stuff” like land planning and property tax law. Hardly. For his participation in a project being run by the Kohelet Policy Forum where he is a research fellow, Bell is looking at the unique situation in Israel where, unlike anywhere else in the West, nearly all of the country’s land is owned by the state. Read more >>

Miriam and Ben Yablom

Ben and Miriam Yablon

Meet Miriam Yablon (22), a first year student of English Literature and Linguistics. Originally from Colorado, Miriam first arrived at Bar-Ilan to join the Israel Experience Gap Year Program, which, she says, made a huge impact on her life: "It helped me answer some spiritual questions by spending time here and learning from exceptional teachers." Though the program offers both secular and religious classes, Miriam decided to focus on Torah Studies, where she became more committed to the Jewish heritage: "The Shabbatonim were a stepping stone in helping me shape my beliefs and values, and the classes were enriching and fascinating." It was at the program that she met Ben Yablon and the two were married in 2014. Read more >>


Dr. Amit Tzur:
Finding the Humor in Good Science

Cell biologist and BINA faculty member Dr. Amit Tzur has never been shy about declaring his faith in the redemptive power of basic science, and he has a healthy sense of humor. An expert in cellular growth and proliferation, Tzur recently declared that his most recent research – related to the post-transcriptional modifications of proteins – may help redeem mankind from “shame” generated by one of the most successful scientific endeavors of all time. “At the end of the Human Genome Project, we learned that humans have only about 25 thousand genes, which was downright embarrassing,” Tzur says. “I mean, are we really only four times more complex than bacteria?” Read more >>

Batsheva Joffe

Batsheva Joffe


Meet Batsheva Joffe (21), a first year student in psychology and art at BIU. At thirteen Batsheva made Aliyah with her family from South Africa to Beit Shemesh. In high school, she majored in both biology and art, and after graduating she spent a year at Machon HaMikdash in Jerusalem for Sheirut Leumi (national service), giving lectures in English to Jews and non-Jews from all over the world.

When the time came to attend university, Batsheva already had a direction in mind. "Art has always spoken to me," she shares. "It's at my core, but I never thought of pursuing it as a degree." That changed, however, when Batsheva was urged by her high school art teacher and mentor to compete for the scholarship offered by Bar-Ilan University in affiliation with Chemed. Batsheva won the competition and the scholarship. Read more >>

Dr Rafi Haddad

Dr. Rafi Haddad

Despite remarkable technological advances, cures for diseases and other developments, science has yet to find a way to quantify and qualify odors. Animals have already gotten the hang of it. Ants build roads, dogs can track people, drugs and other substances, parrots can identify fellow parrots, all based on their sense of smell. Dr. Rafi Haddad, who joined BIU’s Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center following a post-doc stint at Harvard, is working on revolutionizing our ability to measures smells, as head of BIU’s Neural Circuits, Neural Coding, Neural Computations and Olfaction lab. Read more >>

Bar-Ilan Model UN

Bar-Ilan Model UN:
One of the leading Model UN societies in Israel

Bar-Ilan's Model United Nations Society (MUN) was one of the first university level societies established in Israel. Through simulations of real UN proceedings, delegates learn about debate, diplomacy and politics while building up their public speaking, English language and negotiation skills. Joining the MUN isn’t always driven by a passion for politics. Reut Rosenblum (Co-Vice President), who is a third year Law student, wanted her university experience to be more than just running from one class to the next. Sarah David (Co-Vice President), a Law student was involved in public diplomacy, advocating for Israel. Read more >>

Prof. Yael Shemesh

Prof. Yael Shemesh:
Veganism – Not a Passing Fad

The veganism trend, which is gaining steam in recent years, actually traces its roots to biblical times and is considered a moral and healthy dietary alternative. But when did man begin to eat meat? And which vegetarian dishes were prominent in the biblical menu? 

Prof. Yael Shemesh, a lecturer in BIU’s Zalman Shamir Bible Department, is a vegan and blogger of “Long Distance Vegan,” where she shares her experiences as a long distance runner and her vegan lifestyle. Read more >>

Dr Orit Rotem

Retail Therapy:
Dr. Orit Rotem Examines the Ecology of Urban Success

When urban construction creeps into traditionally green areas and threatens animal migration routes, Israeli environmentalists are quick to raise their voices in protest. But when construction patterns prevent humans from traveling efficiently from point to point inside a city, the silence is deafening.  One city dweller who is speaking up is Dr. Orit Rotem, who is applying quantitative tools from biology and environmental ecology to the promotion of people-friendly – and successful – urban design.

jasmine patihi-goldofsky

Jasmine Patihi Goldofsky

Jasmine Patihi Goldofsky (25) was never one for a 9-to-5 job. Born and raised in a traditional family in New York, Jasmine’s father is a native Israeli who spoke Hebrew with his only daughter, creating a foundation which later proved very beneficial for Jasmine. She attended Binghamton University, where she took an active role in the Jewish student community. “It really helped solidify my Zionist views and love for Israel. There were Shabbat meals and holiday activities that just made me feel a sense of belonging. I became more connected and involved with my heritage,” she says. 


Dr. Omry Koren
Head, Microbiome Research Lab, School of Medicine


Fresh off completing his post-doc at Cornell University, Dr. Omry Koren ventured on a new scientific mission, with Zionist aspects – he joined BIU’s new School of Medicine in Safed, moving his entire family to the northern region of Israel’s Galilee, to head the School’s Microbiome Research Lab.

Doron Gerber

Dr. Doron Gerber:
Extraordinary Machines Called Proteins

Dr. Doron Gerber’s eyes sparkle when discussing his favorite topic. “It’s all about proteins and DNA interactions - essential processes in any living organism”, explains Gerber. “Although there is so much we don’t know about proteins, one thing is for sure: They are truly amazing machines in the intricate ‘factory’ of the human cell”, he says. Dr. Gerber is a faculty member at BIU's Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, and the BIU Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA) for 5 years now. After earning his post-doc at Stanford University, inspired by his mentor, he established a state-of-the-art research lab for applied microfluidics. Read more >>

Michal Fram Cohen

Michal Fram Cohen

Michal Fram Cohen is a Hebrew linguist, publicist, translator and interpreter, and currently studying for her PhD at BIU’s Department of Literature of the Jewish People. Born and raised in Israel, she went to the U.S. to pursue a Graduate degree in Comparative Literature at the State University of New York in Binghamton. During her graduate studies she also acquired a Certificate in Translation from Hebrew into English. Michal says she has always been “an independent scholar of literature, history and philosophy.” As such, in 2010 she completed yet another MA degree in Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland and has decided to pursue her PhD at BIU, returning to Israel after her long academic stint in the States. Read more >>

Michal Schuster

Dr. Michal Schuster:
The Future of Translation

Dr. Michal Schuster, of BIU’s Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies, is focused on more than teaching her students and training Israel’s future translators. Schuster implements her theoretical studies and academic expertise in an effort to improve language access and cultural  competence in Israel. She is involved in various programs in the public, non-profit and academic sectors, specifically in the area of healthcare. As part of the Israeli Community-Academia Partnership, Schuster teaches the course “Community Interpreting" which trains students in interpretation skills in and supervises their volunteer activities as community interpreters in public institutions and NGOs. Read more >>

Lytal Bohbot

Lytal Bohbot

Lytal Bohbot (22) grew up in a Zionist family in Paris, France. When her brother graduated high school he spent a year in Israel and then enlisted in the IDF'S combat corps, but Lytal's journey was slightly different. She began studying medicine at the Paris 13 University knowing that she would eventually make aliyah. Anxious to start a new chapter in her life, Lytal left school after a year and came to Israel. She enrolled in Bar-Ilan University's one-year Ulpan and preparatory program, which is offered to international students planning to pursue an academic education in Israel. Read more >>

Prof. Yehudit Ronen

Prof. Yehudit Ronen

Prof. Yehudit Ronen, a researcher and lecturer at BIU’s Department of Political Studies, is a world renowned expert on the Middle East and Arab Countries, whose research focuses on the evolution of ISIS (The Islamic State). Ronen says ISIS has been growing increasingly popular especially after the Arab Spring revolution, and the collapse of nationalistic Arab state, rendering them in political, security and religious chaos. “The Islamic State took advantage of the anarchy and the political voids created, with states with no pronounced leaders, and positioned itself in the disintegrating social and political frameworks of Libya, Iraq and Syria.” Read more >>


Avigayil Unterberg

Avigayil Unterberg always knew she wasn’t going to sit on the sidelines of life. The urge be a part of creating Jewish history was in her blood. So in August of 2013, after concluding a gap year program in Nishmat, a Jerusalem-based seminary, she made Aliyah. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Avigayil (22) chose to leave her hometown in order to become a part of the Jewish nation, and not just in spirit. "I chose to make Aliyah because I want to be where the action is. I want to help shape Jewish life and not just be a passive bystander. I want to dedicate contribute to my nation and my people from within.” Read more >>


Dr. Doron Naveh:
Combining Theoretical and Experimental Work

Five years ago, Doron Naveh theoretically had it made. After completing his PhD at the Weizmann Institute of Science, he had just moved to Princeton University for a post-doc with one of the world’s top research groups in computational physics and applied mathematics. But Naveh felt that his focus should be on the combination of theoretical and experimental work he loved most. Luckily, breaking news would provide Naveh with the career change he was looking for. “I was at a conference when I heard about grants available for the study of a carbon-based material called graphene, which was the subject of the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics,” Naveh recalls. “I took a position at Carnegie Mellon, where I was able to get into the examination of graphene on the ground floor.” Read more >>

Dr. Jonathan Grossman

Dr. Jonathan Grossman:
Transforming Ambiguity into Academic Excellence

Dr. Jonathan Grossman, a senior lecturer in BIU’s Zalman Shamir Bible Department, loves ambiguity. He thrives on exploring double meanings in texts, uncovering hidden narratives, and probing the interface between religious interpretation of Judaism’s holiest books and modern biblical criticism. This expertise has made Grossman, at only 42, one of Bar-Ilan’s most prolific young researchers, with tens of academic papers published in top scholarly journals since his graduation in 1997 with an MA in Jewish philosophy from the Hebrew University and a PhD in bible from Bar-Ilan in 2006. He is one of seven academic stars absorbed into BIU’s Faculty of Jewish Studies during Academic Year 2011/12, within the framework of the University’s innovative Faculty Recruitment initiative. Read more >>

Matan Katzman Matan Katzman

BIU Law student Matan Katzman is the founder and chairman of My Truth, which counters negative images of Israel and the IDF put forth by organizations such as Breaking the Silence.

As a commander and officer in an IDF Reconnaissance Unit, Matan Katzman has served in every conflict against Hamas in Gaza since 2005. But more recently the Bar-Ilan LLM candidate has been very active on another front: defending Israel's image and IDF ethical standards and actions against attempts to slander the Israeli army. Read more >>
Prof. Cyrille Cohen

Prof. Cyrille Cohen:
Let the Immune System Prevail!

Revolutionary and promising, immunotherapy empowers the immune system to combat cancer. Unlike chemotherapy which attacks both diseased and healthy tissue, immunotherapy is more natural and less aggressive, zeroing in on cancerous cells only. 

Prof. Cyrille Cohen, Head of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Laboratory at BIU’s Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, expects immunotherapy to become the most commonly used approach for cancer treatment. Already, authorized immunotherapeutic drugs outnumber chemotherapeutic medications, he claims. Read more >>

Dr. Guy Nir

Dr. Guy Nir:
From BINA to Harvard Medical School

Watson and Crick’s discovery of the double-helix in 1953 made it easy for non-scientists to visualize DNA structure. But within the watery world of the living cell, DNA molecules – and the proteins with which they interact – undergo constant, dynamic change. Dr. Guy Nir, a BIU alumnus who completed his PhD under BINA Director Prof. Yuval Garini and is now a post-doctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School, is creating advanced fluidic techniques that allow us to observe and analyze these conformational changes as they take place. Read more >>

Dr. Michael Blank

Dr. Michael Blank:
"So That All Mankind Can Benefit"

Cancer is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the developed world and accounts for more than 7.5 million deaths worldwide each year. When Dr. Michael Blank was seven-years old, his father succumbed to cancer, creating a void that became “the main driver in my life,” he says. His father’s death set him on a career path to cancer research and continues to impel his work in the hope that his efforts will contribute to new, more efficient cancer treatment. Read more >>

Stefano Nardone Stefano Nardone

Of all places, Italian PhD fellow Stefano Nardone (31), decided to pursue his doctorate here in Israel. Stefano spent his summer vacation here in 2010, after completing his masters in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology from the University of Naples, Italy. It was during that vacation that he decided to pursue his PhD here, having explored Israeli universities: “I realized that Israeli universities were famous around the world for their research, and were making impressive advancements in my field of epigenetics in particular,” says Stefano, who isn’t Jewish but admits he fell in love with Israel and its people. He applied for a fellowship at BIU’s School of Medicine in the Galilee, and began his studies there in 2012. Read more >>
Dr. David Leitner

Dr. David Leitner:
How Ideas Become a Reality

Born and raised in the US, in the home of a conservative Rabbi, David and his sister were given the freedom to choose their own form of Judaism. As such, after graduating high school, David decided to come to Israel for a gap year Nativ program, to explore the kind of Jew he wanted to be. Quickly enamored with the Idea of the State of Israel, he went back to the States for a year, just as he promised his parents. Spending a year at Vasser college, David says he become more religious, realizing that Judaism gave him a sense of belonging. In 1997 he went back to Israel, studied in Ulpan and a preparatory program, during which he officially made Aliyah. He joined the IDF as a sniper of an elite unit, and during a drill exercise he got hurt and remained in a wheelchair.  Read more >> 

Prof. Natti Ronel

Prof. Natti Ronel

Prof. Natti Ronel is Head of BIU’s Department of Criminology, a clinical criminologist and a world renowned expert in addiction treatment and prevention. Prof. Ronel formulated the positive criminology and victimology approaches in modern research. These approaches are currently being studied by other experts and are presented at international academic conferences.


Prof. Ronel conceived ‘Grace Therapy’, a treatment method for people suffering from addictions or other behavioral illnesses, and for victims of violent acts. The Grace Therapy technique is based on AA’s 12 step program, with modified to manage a wide range of human conditions such as behavioral disorders, mental illnesses and other disturbances. Prof. Ronel uses this method to treat addicts and their families, juvenile delinquents, at-risk youth, victims of violence and anyone seeking spiritual guidance. Read more ... 

Eliana Ramage Eliana Ramage

A proud Cherokee Nation citizen whose mother converted to Judaism and whose father is Christian, Eliana Ramage is herself the stuff of fiction. The English teacher and content writer from Nashville, Tennessee, who has just completed an MA in Bar-Ilan, Shaindy Rudoff Creative Writing Graduate Program, is a prize-winning storyteller who embraces seemingly disparate worlds. She has woven themes of home and nationhood into Indian Girls, her collection of linked stories concerning indigenous girls and women, crafted for her thesis at Israel's only graduate creative writing program. In fact, one of those stories, "The Welfare of Baby D," which was inspired by Italian Nobel laureate Grazia Deledda's novel Reeds in the Wind, won the inaugural Grazia Deledda International Literary Prize in 2015.
Read more ...

Dr. Avi Pe'er Prof. Avi Pe’er:
Harnessing the Quantum Nature of Light

In a world where even the most sensitive information can be accessed online, it is crucial to use a real time, coded, entirely secured communication method. An innovative approach in the field of information security, called Quantum Cryptography, utilizes quantum mechanics principles to fully secure all information transferred by encrypting information in single-photons transmitted via fiber optics.

Read more ...

Esther Shafier and Batya Karp Esther Shafier and Batya Karp

For twin sisters Esther Shafier and Batya Karp, 22, choosing to study at Bar-Ilan was all about the student community. “I had heard there was a great Anglo community at BIU, and that it was very close-knit, welcoming and helpful,” explains Esther, who moved to Israel with her sister during high school.

“There’s a different atmosphere here than on other campuses,” adds Batya. “There are lots of hundreds of English speaking students here. People often get together for Shabbat, which is really nice, especially for those of us who are here alone.” Since Esther and Batya made Aliyah without their family, that familial aspect of campus life was particularly important to them. Read more ...

Dr. Nathan Keller Don’t Trust, Verify:
Dr. Nathan Keller Strategizes a More Secure Cyber-Future

When Dr. Nathan Keller entered the Technion at the age of 16, his teachers immediately recognized that this was a young man who was going places. Eventually, both Keller and one of his mentors independently decided that Bar-Ilan University was the place to go. In 2012, Keller was recruited to BIU as a member of the mathematics department. Less than a year later, his former advisor at the Technion – Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz – was named BIU’s tenth President. Read more ...

Michal Gordon

Michal Gordon

Michal Gordon says that no one at her 1st year class of BA in Social Work believes her age. “When I say I’m 39, people are shocked. ‘You’re 39? Really? You don’t look it. And you are in your first year of BA?’ I guess I’m a bit of an odd-woman-out,” she kids.

Michal, a Manchester native and a married mother of three, made Aliyah with her family in 2005, and the family built their life in Beit Shemesh, where Michal studied and works as an interior designer and Doula. However, she always knew her real vocation would be social work. Read more...

Dr. Elie Holzer Dr. Elie Holzer:
Expert on Education and Jewish Thought

A Senior Lecturer at Bar-Ilan University’s Churgin School of Education, Dr. Elie Holzer is considered an international expert on education of Jewish thought, whose expertise extend to academic Jewish education in Israel and in North America.

He is the Director of the Stern Institute for Studies in Religious Education, Head of the R. Dr. David Ochs Chair for the Teaching of Jewish Religious Studies and has also served as a senior research associate at Brandeis University’s Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education. Read more ...
Sivan Eliyahu

Sivan Eliyahu (34), a PhD Candidate in Virology at the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee, is also the School’s Students’ Union’s Vice-Chairperson of Advanced Degrees. Eliyahu, a married mother of three, explains: “My role at the Students’ Union is to help graduate students receive scholarships, resolve some personal issues and advance their social involvement in the local community. As Vice-Chairperson I’d like to enhance our collaboration with education professionals and institutions in Northern Israel, and create programs that will expose the regions’ teens to the medicine and other sciences.” Read more ...
Prof. Elda Weizman:
A Master of Translation

Prof. Elda Weizman is the Head of the Interdisciplinary Studies Unit at Bar-Ilan’s Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies. Her research interests, anchored in socio-pragmatics, focus on the interpretation of indirectness in written and oral discourse, with special emphasis on irony and challenge in a cross-cultural perspective (English, French and Hebrew) in the written and electronic media. Read more...


Naftali Schrijver

Growing up in the Netherlands, Naftali Schrijver had always planned to make Aliyah someday. The question of “when” was easily answered after Naftali (23) participated in the Maccabiah Games in 2009. So in 2011, Naftali officially made Aliyah and joined the IDF, where he served for two and a half years in Air Force intelligence, and was honorably released as a sergeant. During his service, Naftali’s love for Eretz Israel and his connection to the country and its people grew tremendously. Read more...

Prof. Gerald Steinberg:
The True BDS Agenda

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, of BIU's Department of Political Studies, who has researched NGOs involvement in political processes, says that the agenda of many of the so-called human rights organizations like BDS is political. "They don't really want to change any particular policy; they want to undermine the legitimacy of Israel's existence, and to paint Israel as an apartheid state. This is dangerous because it could lead to Israel's political isolation." Read more...

Danielle Keizer

As a young woman from the Netherlands just starting her life, the decision to make Aliyah wasn’t easy for Danielle Keizer. But Danielle (25), who made Aliyah in 2015, had one major thing going for her. She had strong family ties in Israel, and would visit them almost every summer. During those summers she was able to make many friends and create a social circle here. “Every time I came to Israel, I simply felt at home. Here, I was accepted for who I am,” Danielle says. “I never had to explain why I keep kosher or don’t travel on Shabbat. It's a given. It's a different story, in the Netherlands.” Read more...

Prof. Ehud Weiss

Prof. Ehud Weiss:
Agricultural Discoveries


It was only recently that Prof. Ehud Weiss’ discovery of corn cleavers and darnel seeds (or hordeum vulgare), 11,000 years before the generally recognized as advent of organized cultivation, has revolutionized the archaeology world and is still making headlines in various publications all over the world. Essentially, his discovery barley grains in the Sea of Galilee area, means that there was human agriculture as early as 23,000 years ago, which is much earlier than the Neolithic revolutions, which was considered, up until now, the beginning of the shift from hunting & gathering to agriculture which led to permanent settlements, the establishment of social classes, and the eventual rise of civilizations. Read more...

The Faces of Bar-Ilan University: Lior Redlus

Lior Redlus:
Neuroscience Grad & Co-Founder of Coralogix

Lior Redlus is not a run-of–the-mill BIU alumnus. Redlus (30) grew up in Givatayim in a secular family, and upon graduating high school joined the army, where he served in the Artillery Corps and is now still serving as a reserves officer in the Home Front Command. Interested in sciences and data analysis from a young age, Redlus, who is the Co-founder and Chief Researcher at Coralogix, a startup company, decided to study neuroscience at BIU. “The Neuroscience Program at Bar-Ilan is really fascinating,” explains Redlus, “and the teaching approach is more comprehensive than in other institutions, focusing more on the biological aspects of neuroscience.” Read more...

Prof. Hamutal Slovin Prof. Hamutal Slovin:
Reading the Mind!

BIU’s Neural Imaging Lab at the Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center is dedicated to the study of visual processing, decoding of visual content, and artificial vision.

As head of the Neural Imaging Laboratory Prof. Hamutal Slovin strives to help improve treatment of visually impaired patients, by understanding the decoding (or "mind reading") of visual stimuli content in the brain. Read more...
Shira Cohen

Shira Cohen, 19, had a plan. She would finish her gap year in Nishmat, a Jerusalem based seminary, and then go back to the States to pursue her academic education. Only then would she think about when and how she would make Aliyah. But over the course of this past summer everything changed.

A Philadelphia native, Shira originally made Aliyah with her family in 1999 and lived here for 3 years. It was a combination of that time period and her family's Zionistic views that instilled Shira with the knowledge that Israel was to be part of her future. But the question was when. Read more...

The Faces of Bar-Ilan University: Prof. Alexander Fish

Prof. Alexander Fish:
Designing Tomorrow’s Microchip Today

With advancements in computing technology and expansion of mobile applications handling more and more information at faster rates, energy consumption has emerged as the primary concern for scientists working in the area of “very largescale integration” (VLSI) design. VLSI is the process of creating integrated circuits by combining millions of transistors into a single chip. In other words, how do you keep microprocessors running at high performance levels without burning them out, and cell phones, digital cameras, and bio-medical devices working without the constant need to recharge them? Read more...

Margaret Xiao

Margaret Xiao

Just 2 years ago, Margaret Xiao, then a 25 year old Chinese student, knew next to nothing about Israel. All she has ever heard of this distant tiny dot on the globe was a passing story on CNN. It seemed nothing could be further from her life. A recently married graduate of Changsha University of Science & Technology, Margaret has always dreamed of getting her MBA in the US, mainly because she wanted to perfect her English. She even made it a point to inform her husband as much before they were married, though they both knew he would have to stay in China for his work. Read more...

Prof. Orit Shefi: Understanding Neurons

Prof. Orit Shefi: 
Understanding Neurons

As head of BIU’s Neuro-Engineering Laboratory, Prof. Orit Shefi recognizes the importance of an interdisciplinary approach. Her lab combines the fields of cell biology, molecular engineering, nanotechnology and computational biology to reveal insights into neural development. She “walks her talk,” as can be seen from her own academic history.

A returning scientist from the University of California in San Diego, Shefi is also  a member of the Nano Medicine Center at the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA), and a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Engineering. Read more...

Peninah Lamm-Kaplansky and Bracha Lamm

Not all who arrive from abroad and land at BIU planned to do so. In 2010, Peninah Lamm, an 18 year old Long Islander fresh out of high school, had a clear plan. She would spend one year in Israel in Midrasha (Seminary), like many of her friends and fellow orthodox high school graduates do, and then get back to the States for college, settling somewhere around her family. Her younger sister, Bracha, planned to do the same when she graduated a year later. “I grew up in a very Zionist family,” says Peninah, “but making Aliyah was not really talked about around our dinner table.” Read more...

Dr. Lisa Maurice Dr. Lisa Maurice:
Breaking the Surface of Classical Reception

Meet Dr. Lisa Maurice, Senior Lecturer at BIU’s Department of Classical Studies. Dr. Maurice specializes in the study of classical reception in the ancient world. Recently awarded a 1.5 million Euros grant by the European Research Council (ERC) for a joint research project on the reception of classical antiquity in children and young adults' contemporary culture, Dr.  Maurice is part of an international group of academics from Poland, Australia, Cameroon and Great Britain participating in the project. Read more...


Dr. Ittai Bar-Siman-Tov:
Procedures Matter – Investigating How a Law Passes

Bar-Ilan University Law lecturer Dr. Ittai Bar-Siman-Tov specializes in what at first might seem to be a very obscure part of the legal world: the legislative process and judicial review. That is, the study of whether courts can – and should – get involved in the nitty gritty procedural elements of lawmaking. For example, was the vote for a new bill concluded in the specified amount of time and, if it wasn’t, should a court step in and annul the law? At first blush, one might conclude: what does it matter if the time for voting was 15 minutes as prescribed or extended for 30 minutes? But it can make a huge difference, explains Bar-Siman-Tov. Read more...


Mikaela Bottaro

Here at BIU, we try to create a home environment for all out students, especially those alone in Israel. This is one of the many reasons why many Olim from all over the world chose Bar-Ilan over other universities in the country. And it was for this reason that Mikaela Bottaro, 22, decided to pursue an academic degree at BIU.

Born and raised in Montevideo, Uruguay, Mikaela’s first trip to Israel was a Bat Mitzvah present from her father. It was during that trip that she fell in love the country and its people, and began to feel a deep connection to Israel. Read more...

Prof. Moshe Bar

Prof. Moshe Bar,
Director Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center


On July 25th, 1989, President George Bush signed a resolution declaring the 1990s to be “The Decade of the Brain,” signaling America’s commitment to neuroscience research. In another event that was a decade in the making, Bar-Ilan is soon to celebrate the tenth anniversary of one of its flagship institutions: the University’s Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center.


The Gonda Center is devoted to solving the scientific world’s biggest puzzle: how the human brain allows us to perceive and understand the environment, while generating our memory, thoughts and emotions. Read more...

Dr. Inbal Yahav-Shernberg

Dr. Inbal Yahav-Shernberger:
Crunching the Data to Save Lives

The gap between the number of kidney donors and patients who are waiting for a transplant is disheartening: in the U.S. alone, there’s an 8:1 ratio working against the people who are desperately in need of a life saving organ: 100,000 candidates vs. only 12,000 donors a year. So, when the rare kidney does become available, how do doctors, hospitals and institutions decide who will be granted a second chance at life?

Dr. Inbal Yahav, a lecturer in the Graduate School of Business Administration at Bar-Ilan University, has developed an algorithm that may help with the heartbreaking process. Read more...


Talya Herring

Bar-Ilan University strives to provide its students with an outstanding education, and create an environment where any student, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to excel. It is for this that reason Talya Herring, 21, chose to study at Bar-Ilan.

Born and raised in San Diego, California, Talya decided to come to Israel for a year after graduating high school, and study in Midreshet Moriah, a Jerusalem-based seminary. Soon after arriving here, however, she fell in love with Israel and with its people. Instinctively, Talya knew she wanted to be a part of the place she now calls home. Read more...


Dr. Sol Efroni:
Improving Cancer-Related Computation

When a patient is diagnosed with lung cancer, doctors typically examine murky X-ray or CT images to characterize its subtype. But what if it were possible to stratify lung cancer through the crystal clear means of mathematics? This was one question posed by the IMPROVER Diagnostics Signature Challenge, an international competition designed to assess computational approaches to classifying clinical samples. With some 50 teams in the running, top honors went to BIU Dr. Sol Efroni and his PhD student Rotem Ben-Hamo, for their method of deriving clinically significant information from gene expression data. Read more...


Benji Figdor

“Bar-Ilan was the only University where Social Work students would talk to me about their experience,” says Benji Figdor, 22. “To my surprise, each BIU student I asked was more than willing to share their enjoyment of the studies, the campus, the professors, and especially the student life.”

Bar-Ilan University understands the importance of creating a stimulating yet nurturing environment for its students. It is for this reason that Benji Figdor, 22, chose BIU to further his education and work towards a degree in Social Work. Read more...


Dr. Noa Agmon:
Making Robots Smart


The Golem of Prague, Frankenstein - human culture is replete with autonomous fictional characters calibrated to do the bidding of their creators. But, in today’s world, imbuing machines with advanced artificial intelligence is no fiction.


Rather, it is a rapidly growing field called robotics, and Dr. Noa Agmon, a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science, stands among those at its forefront. Read more...
Student Profile: Avital Silver

Avital Silver

Bar-Ilan University prides itself on offering learning opportunities to different people from different backgrounds and different countries. It is for this reason that Avital Silver decided that Bar-Ilan was the institution for her.

Avital, 20, originally from New Jersey, came to Israel after high school to attend a gap year program in Beit Shemesh. It was during that time that she started to think seriously about Aliyah and University and her future educational opportunities. Read more...

Prof. Aren Maeir: Unearthing Our Biblical Past

Prof. Aren Maeir:
Unearthing Our Biblical Past

When Prof. Aren Maeir, Director of the Ackerman Family Bar-Ilan University Expedition to Gath, heads out into the field every summer to continue his 20-year-long dig at the Tell es-Safi archaeological site, he is joined by an international team of trained archaeologists, as well as students and volunteers from the US, Canada, the UK, the Far East, Eastern Europe and Israel. Read more...


Shev Shatsman

Bar-Ilan University offers students various ways of contributing to its student community. Shev Shatzman, 24, a soon to be graduate in the International Program's BA track in Social Sciences, looks back at her time at BIU fondly because of the opportunities offered to her on and off campus.

Shev, who came from a Zionistic background, made Aliyah alone from Detroit, Michigan in 2009. She spent a year doing National Service in Yavneh Olami, after which she decided to pursue an academic degree. She chose Bar-Ilan because of the growing Olim community, something she wanted to be a part of. Read more...


Maestro Eitan Globerson: The Neuro Pianist

A concert pianist and conductor who has performed and given master classes worldwide, Dr. Eitan Globerson uniquely synthesizes his distinguished music career with a novel scientific quest at BIU's Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, where he received his PhD in 2012. Currently affiliated with the center's Magnetoencephalography (MEG) laboratory – the only one of its kind in Israel – the postdoctoral researcher probes the perception of melody, using state-of-the-art imaging to track brain responses of normal individuals to pitch, rhythm, loudness, timbre (tone quality) and other auditory attributes. Read more...

Now You See It, Now You Don’t:
How Dr. Moti Fridman Engineers Time-Space Optics

They say that time stops for no man. But according to one man, time can be made to slow down, creating an effect seemingly plucked from the annals of science fiction: for just a fraction of a second, an event can be rendered invisible.

Dr. Joav Avtalion:
From NICE to Michal Negrin – a Philosophical Journey

When Joav Avtalion – one of Israel’s most prominent high-tech leaders – decided to step off the fast track to study philosophy at Bar-Ilan, it may have raised some eyebrows. But according to Avtalion – co-founder and senior technology executive of NICE Systems, a market-leading enterprise and security solutions company, as well as the driving force behind a number of other successful business ventures – the link between the mind, the spirit, and human behavior has intrigued him from the very beginning. Read more...


Sarah Packer

Bar-Ilan University prides itself on creating a home for Olim Chadashim. That is exactly what Sarah Packer found when she arrived in Israel and landed directly on the BIU campus.

Sarah, 23, made Aliyah in 2012 and began her academic career in the Bar-Ilan Mechina (preparatory) Program, to prepare for studying in Hebrew for a degree in Communication. Soon enough, Sarah discovered that Bar-Ilan was turning into more than just a university for her; it was becoming her new home. Read more...

The “Tippling Point” – Dr. Galit Shohat-Ophir and the Secret of Barfly Success

Rejected by the girl of his dreams, the male of the species has been known to seek out an alcoholic consolation prize down at the bar.  But even when the species in question is not human, and even when the “bar” is an ethanol-laced laboratory beaker, this sex-specific coping mechanism still holds true – providing a rare glimpse into how neural circuitry and behavior are both modified by social experience. Read more...


Amram Sherby

Last summer, Operation Protective Edge had a significantly visible impact on the Bar-Ilan campus, as hundreds of students and faculty were called off to reserve duty right in the middle of summer finals.

Sargent (res.) Amram Sherby, 26, a student of Communications and Political Science, spent 32 days sitting in a hot, cramped tank on the outskirts of Gaza. His mission as tank driver was clear: secure tunnels that had been dug from Gaza into Israel and ensure that no one came crawling out of them. Read more...

Dr. Tal Salz:
From Basketball Pro to Cancer Researcher

When choosing a university for her undergraduate studies, Dr. Tal Salz had two criteria. First, she was looking for an excellent biotechnology program.  Second, she needed a location that would allow her – when not in the lab – to continue her career as a professional basketball player. Bar-Ilan – situated not far from the three Israeli cities for which Salz played while enjoying a multi-year stint as captain of the women’s national team – was a slam dunk. Read more...

Nano Meets Bio: How Dr. Doron Gerber “Channels” Life’s Big Picture

A busy scientist who juggles a large number of collaborative projects while supervising a lab full of students, Dr. Doron Gerber schedules his morning meetings early – this, despite the fact that, as a new father, he claims to go about his duties in a near-constant state of sleep deprivation. However, there is another “baby” that puts a sparkle in Gerber’s eye at any hour of the day: the newly-opened nanofabrication facility that is making his lab in the Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at BIU, the go-to address for biological researchers in need of cutting-edge device design. Read more...

Gaston Slupski

Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Gaston is now a first year student at Bar-Ilan. When deciding on a major, Gaston found he just couldn't choose. Both the Economics/Business Administration and the Social Sciences Programs seemed to be a perfect fit. So instead of choosing one over the other, Gaston decided to let his ambitious nature and perseverant attitude take over, and enrolled in both programs simultaneously. Read more...

IDF Chaplain, Rabbi Dr. Tsuriel Rashi:
Probing Media, Judaism & Ethics

As associate director of the Center for Media and Religion in BIU's School of Communication, Rabbi Dr. Tsuriel Rashi is generally focused on mass media ("a major social agent in our lives," he says), professional ethics (for example in the military, education, and police) and Judaism. But during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, he found himself in his “other” role: IDF chaplain of the Golani Infantry Brigade. Read more...


Sariba Feinstein

Sometimes even the best made plans can go completely awry. Sariba Feinstein, 25, discovered just that in the winter of 2013. Like many high school graduates, Sariba, an Iowa native, moved to New York, found herself a job and enrolled in university. But by 2013 she was ready for a new adventure and a new life. She quit her job, ended her lease, finished the semester and made plans to move to San Diego. There was just one thing left to do before she booked her flight to the Golden State: hop on a plane for a ten-day Birthright trip to Israel. Read more...

Dr. Ronny Bartsch:
The Language of Sleep

Dr. Ronny Bartsch, of BIU’s Department of Physics, is fascinated by how human organs communicate. And especially, how these communications change while we sleep. His research focuses on the interface of physics with physiology and medicine. “We use concepts from statistical, nonlinear dynamics and complex networks theory,” explains Bartsch, “in order to better understand certain regulatory mechanisms that lead to, for example, micro arousals of the brain during deep sleep or a collapse of organ-to-organ communications in intensive care medicine.” Read more...

Batnadiv Hakarmi-Weinberg

The art of self-expression comes easy to some, but at times our education and surroundings can force us to look at the world through a single lens. At least that’s the case for Batnadiv Hakarmi-Weinberg. Read more...

Prof. Aviad Frydman:
Revolutionizing the God Particle

In the past few weeks, you have probably heard the name Prof. Aviad Frydman mentioned in scientific news. Prof. Frydman, of BIU’s Department of Physics and the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, has recently detected the analogue of the "Higgs Boson" particle (The "God" particle) in superconductors, together with a group of international colleges from Germany, India, US and Israel. Read more...

Ilana Katzin

Some study history because it tends to repeat itself, while others study history as an interesting story. For Ilana Katzin, studying Jewish history means so much more. "The way I see it, studying Jewish history is vital because as a nation, as a united group of people, we need to know where we come from and what motivates us so we can understand where we are going and what propels us forward."
Dr. Gili Cohen-Taguri Introduces BINA’s XRD Lab

X-ray diffraction techniques are becoming ever-more important for the analysis of thin films. But because most research labs and technology companies lack the scientific infrastructure and know-how to personally perform X-ray measurements, they must rely on the help of specialists.  One of the busiest and most trusted specialists in Israel is Dr. Gili Cohen-Taguri, who heads BINA’s X-Ray Diffraction Lab. Read more ...


Gita Reinitz

Meet Gita Reinitz, a grad student in Genetic Engineering at BIU. Gita, 23, came to Israel for a one year course in 2009, after which she decided to officially make Aliyah and build her life in Israel. "As a Jew, I just felt like I fit here. When I decided to stay, someone recommended that I check out Bar-Ilan and I just decided to apply." Read more...

Dr. Emanuele Dalla Torre:
Balancing Non-Equilibrium Systems

Dr. Emanuele Dalla Torre (35),born in Milan, Italy, was exposed to science and specifically to physics from childhood, as his father was an engineer and his mother a teacher. To him, physics is a mathematical description of reality. “It’s about understanding how the world works. Mathematicians ask how things could have worked;.Engineers ask how to make things work. Physicists live on the thin line between theory and experiment. To be a successful physicist, you have to productively combine the two.” Read more...


Zack Raab

Meet Zack Raab, age 22, originally of Boca Raton, Florida, who is currently studying in the International MBA Program. After graduating high school, Zack came to Israel for a yearlong gap program in Bet Shemesh, at the end of which he decided to make Aliyah and study here. Concerned that his Hebrew wasn’t strong enough to study in university, Zack set out to find a program that would offer an interesting BA track taught in English. It was then that he heard about the Bar-Ilan International Program that was launching its pilot year that fall. Read more...

Prof. Bilha Fischer and the Molecular ID of Breast Cancer Tumors

Cancer patients want effective medical care, and they want it now. But when it comes to cancer of the breast, there’s a problem: the initial diagnosis sometimes marks the beginning of a long process, in which doctors struggle to identify the best therapeutic approach. BIU Prof. Bilha Fischer is facing this problem with a new biotechnological solution – a fluorescent probe that shines a light on individual tumors’ hidden characteristics. Read more...

Shai Steiman

Meet Shai Steiman, 26, a fourth year Optometry student at BIU, originally from Toronto. Shai has always had strong ties to Israel, as his mother is Israeli born. His initial introduction to BIU was as a 13 year old, when his older sister Avital made Aliyah in order to acquire her Bioinformatics BA and MA at Bar-Ilan. During the summer of 2002, his family rented a house right across the street from campus, spending the summer here to celebrate Shai’s Bar-Mitzvah. Read more...


Miriam Rother

Meet Miriam Rother, a student in BIU’s Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing. Surprisingly, by profession Miriam is actually a dance choreographer. "I was in search of a new form of creative expression and after spending some time in a writing workshop, I thought I might enjoy taking writing to a new level with something a bit more intensive." Read more...

Prof. Jean-Paul Lellouche:
A family that works together stays together

The Lellouche family can certainly call Bar-Ilan University its second home. As head of the family, Prof. Jean-Paul Lellouche is a long time faculty member at the Department of Chemistry and Senior Researcher at the Bar-Ilan Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA). His son, Jonathan, is a researcher at the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, and younger son, Emmanuel, is a doctoral fellow of biology in the same faculty.  Emmanuel’s wife, Dr. Miri Ben Dahan-Lellouche, studies anti-cancer substances at the Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences. Their sister, Naomi, studied Criminology and Middle Eastern Studies at BIU. Read more...


Shoshana Sarah

Meet Shoshana Sarah, a student at the Poetry study track in the The Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing. A Baltimore native, Shoshana (32), immigrated to Israel 15 years ago, and has been living in Jerusalem, where she also completed BA and MA degrees in International Relations at Hebrew University. Read more...

Dr. Debra Kaplan:
From Yeshiva University to BIU

Dr. Debra Kaplan, of the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, joined Bar-Ilan after nine years at Yeshiva University in New York, where she held the Dr. Pinkhos Churgin Memorial Chair in Jewish History. She recently directed the undergraduate program in Jewish history at Yeshiva College. Read more...

Prof. Aharon Gedanken:
Saving Lives with…Fabrics

A groundbreaking research project from the labs of Prof. (Emeritus) Aharon Gedanken is being developed for industrial use, and expected to save lives in hospitals worldwide.

Prof. Gedanken of BIU’s Chemistry Department and the Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, has developed an antibacterial fabric, designed to reduce bacterial infections during hospital stays. This fabric is expected to save the lives of tens of thousands of patients all over the world.


Vivian Halumi

Meet Vivian, studying in her third year of communication and political science after making aliyah from Panama. Vivian is a self- described workaholic and a highly dedicated student. She is passionate about Israel and enjoys reading, drawing and watching TV in what little free time she has. Read more...

Dr. Tomer Kalisky:
Revealing the Secrets of Biological Systems

When Tomer Kalisky was a graduate student in physics, he used statistical tools to advance the theory of network optimization. But after completing his PhD – under BIU’s Prof. Shlomo Havlin – Kalisky decided to cross over into the experimental sciences. Today, he is applying his theoretical training to unlocking the optimization secrets of biological systems. Read more...

Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Woolf:
Providing Ancient Answers of Contemporary Challenges

Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey R. Woolf, a Senior Lecturer in the Naftal-Yaffe Department of Talmud and Jewish Oral Law, is a master of merging the old with the new. An expert on Halakha, Rabbinic literature and Medievil Jewish history, Dr. Woolf has made it his mission to help the Jewish world of the new millennia cope with modern life’s challenges, using ancient tools drawn from the Halaka, Chazal (Jewish sages) and ancient traditions.  “I examine the ways that rabbis sought to provide answers to contemporary challenges that would allow Judaism to continue to thrive, while making sure that the integrity of Jewish tradition was preserved,” says Dr. Woolf.  "It allows me to contribute to the discussion of challenges to Judaism in the modern era.” Read more...


Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari

Meet Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, for whom International Women's day is every day. She is the Founding Director of the Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women, and an Associate Professor at the BIU Faculty of Law, where she teaches family law; feministic perspective of the law, women and religion, and international women's rights. She is the author of "Women in Israel: A State of Their Own," and is a co-recipient of two research grants from the National Science Foundation in the area of family law. Read more...


Yehuda Yeger

Meet Yehuda, age 22, originally from New Jersey. Yehuda is studying communications at BIU and in his spare time he enjoys playing basketball, spending time with his fiancé, cooking and hosting big Shabbat meals for the American community living on and around the Bar-Ilan campus. Read more...


Dr. Meital Gal-Tanamy:
Infectious Enthusiasm

Virologist Dr. Meital Gal-Tanamy never let the fact that she is a woman stop her in achieving her professional goals. A married mother of two, Gal-Tanamy heads the unique Molecular Virology Lab at the Bar-Ilan University School of Medicine in the Galilee, where she is working on developing cures for the hepatitis C virus. Her message to her female students – You can do it! Read more...


Bar Abelis:
Outstanding Law Student

Bar Abelis, 23, is a third year student at BIU’s Faculty of Law, minoring in Business Administration. Born and raised in Nazereth Illit in the lower Galilee, while at BIU she rents an apartment with a friend in Givat Shmuel, just outside the BIU campus. Currently, Abelis is on a one-semester student exchange program that the Faculty of Law offers its outstanding students at the University of Hong Kong. Read more...


BIU Undergrad Maor Dahan:
From Ramat Gan to the Gaza Front

Operation Protective Edge in July 2014 caught Maor Dahan in the middle of his economics and accounting exams at Bar-Ilan University. The 2nd-year undergrad had just finished the first five when he received an emergency call-up (Tzav 8) to IDF reserve duty near Gaza.  Dahan, a medic, spent the ensuing weeks attached to an armored corps unit.  "In the past five years, I have fought in Gaza three different times," notes the 25-year-old who directed the Kfir Brigade's field medical station during his regular military service.  More recently based in Kibbutz Negba near Ashkelon, he has been on constant standby to treat injuries and also took part in secret missions in the Gaza Strip.  Ironically, the worst casualty he treated was a soldier who sustained head injuries while running for shelter during a siren. Read more...


Ianina Silbersztein Levy:
From Argentina with Love (for Israel)

Meet Ianina, a married second year student in the International BA Program for Communication and Political Science at BIU. A humorous, direct, and intelligent young woman, Ianina describes herself as a dedicated Zionist who made Aliyah from Buenos Aires, Argentina 3 years ago, leaving most of her immediate family behind. Ianina has since made many friends on campus, and makes it a point to find time to hang out with them, tough she takes her studies very seriously while planning ahead for her future. Read more...


Yair Ronen:
Integrating Torah and Engineering

Two weeks after his wedding, BIU computer engineering freshman Yair Ronen received an emergency call-up notice from the IDF.  He headed south to Gaza to take active part in Operation Protective Edge. A combat reservist in the Paratroopers' Evacuation Unit 202, he was extricating wounded IDF soldiers from the battlefield transporting them to the border where they were airlifted to an Israeli hospital. Following his 31-day IDF service, he was back at BIU making up missed exams and appreciative of the special benefits accorded to reservists, including the easing of test schedules and a promised scholarship. Read more...


Prof. Yaron Shav-Tal:
Seeking the "On and Off Switch" to Cancer Cells

In the laboratory of Prof. Yaron Shav-Tal, new imaging techniques based on time-lapse fluorescent microscopy are making it possible to characterize genetic processes that occur inside the living nucleus. While focusing mainly on how genes are switched "on" and "off" in normal cells, he is also looking at how this process differs in the case of cancer. It has been found that cancerous growths occur primarily when a gene gets "stuck" in the "on" position, causing cells to multiply out of control.


Chaim Seligman:
Future Diplomat

Meet Chaim, age 24, living in Givaat Shmuel after coming to Israel in 2007 from Hollywood, Florida. Chaim is in his second year at Bar-Ilan's Faculty of Law. In addition to his studies, he spent the last year as the President of the Bar-Ilan Model UN Society and was recently elected as the Vice President of External Relations for the Israeli Model UN Association. He also teaches a Model UN and leadership workshop to a group of high-school students.


Dr. Rachela Popovtzer:
Gold-mine of (Molecular) Information

Dr. Rachela Popovtzer is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Engineering and a member of the Nano-Medicine Center at the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA), where she is working on the development of smart nanoprobes for molecular diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Dr. Popovtzer has a few patents registered in her name, and is a winner of numerous international grants and awards, such as the Atol Charitable Trust Fellow in Nano Medicine, the Environment and Living foundation Prize given by the University of Knstanz in Germany, and the Intel Prize for outstanding PhD. Thesis. Read more...



Dr. Eitan Okun:
Clarifying – and Preserving – Cognitive Function

The Mishna of Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) lays out a series of lifetime milestones, and defines our sixth decade as the point at which we should be looked up to, and honored as "elderly".  But in medical terms, some 15% of people aged sixty-plus get more than added respect. Indeed, according to a recent study, the "prevalence of dementia among community-dwelling elderly in Israel is estimated to be about 20%!" 


Cincy Leiberman:
Aspiring Veteranarian

Meet Cincinnati or Cincy as she is known by her friends. Originally from West Virginia, Cincy is finishing her first year in Biology and living in Givaat Shmuel after making Aliyah in 2012. In her spare time Cincy enjoys spending time with her fiancé, volunteering with the Michael Levine Lone Soldier Center and spends time honing her photography skills. 



Prof. Gal Kaminka:
Only He Who Sees the Invisible Can Do the Impossible

Prof. Gal Kaminka studies artificial intelligence at the Department of Computer Science at BIU. He has won numerous awards and professional acclaims, such as the Landau Prize for the Arts and Sciences, for his excellent work in advancing the science of robotics. Read more...


Prof. Mary Rudolf:
Medicine in the Galilee – a Hands-On Experience

When the Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Medicine was established in the Galilee in 2011, its founders had great hopes for it to revolutionize the health services provided to local residents, and bring the region’s communities closer together. Today, with 440 students taking part in a variety of outreach projects, and over 150 clinical faculty members, most of whom work and teach in five of the Galilee’s hospitals, the vision is becoming a reality. Read more...


Sanna Lonnfors:
Yad Vashem Grant Winner

Meet Sanna, age 34, originally from Finland, living in Israel after moving from Germany in August 2012. Sanna is studying in the Shaindy Rudolf Creative Writing Master's Program and has recently received a grant from Yad Vashem to continue her research for her thesis. Read more...

Rabbi Prof. Aryeh Frimer:
Using Science to Plumb the Depths of Torah

“I’d rather live with a good question than a bad answer” is a popular maxim widely attributed by Google to Aryeh Frimer, the Ethel and David Resnick Professor of Active Oxygen Chemistry and former Chemistry Department chairman at Bar-Ilan, though Elie Wiesel actually said it—paraphrasing Maimonides.  Nevertheless, the quote embodies a guiding principle in Professor Frimer’s work.  He is a scientist and a rabbi who tries to understand the universe from the perspective of both. Read more...
Ro Yeger:
Changing the Image of Israel One Day at a Time

Meet Ro (Rachel), age 23, single, living in Giva'at Shmuel after making aliyah 1 year ago from New York. She is currently studying in her second year in the Bar- Ilan International Social Sciences program, learning Sociology, Economics and Political Science. In her free time she enjoys baking pastries to share with her friends and she writes a blog on current events for an English news website. Read more...
Prof. Jay Rothman:
Seeking Peace and Pursuing it

Bar-Ilan University Professor of Conflict Resolution Jay Rothman recalls with a grin how at his wedding, years ago, his new father-in-law publically proclaimed, "I am so lucky, I now have a son-in-law who will never be out of work - he aims to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict!" Rothman hasn't given up yet and, in the meantime, arriving at mutually agreeable outcomes in seemingly intractable situations has become the professor’s specialty.
Simone Somekh:
Broadcasting Live

Meet Simone, age 19; here from Italy studying communications and political science in Bar-Ilan's International Program after completing high school. He is the host of " Pop Up - Radio Kol Bar Ilan," a fun, weekly program on music and culture broadcasted from the Bar-Ilan radio studio through the School of Communications. He is a self declared Twitter addict and music aficionado and he works as a freelance journalist for the central Jewish Italian newspaper. 
Prof. Shulamit Michaeli:
Gene Silencing

If the research performed at Prof. Shulamit Michaeli's lab at the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA) proceeds as planned, in one decade she will be able to say she helped find a cure for cancer. The treatment Michaeli is developing is based on "silencing" genes and possibly turning cancer into a chronic and manageable, rather than life-threatening disease. Read more...
Prof. Doron Aurbach:
Working Towards a Battery Powered Future

Prof. Doron Aurbach, of the Department of Chemistry and Director of the Nano Cleantech Center at the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA), is among Israel's best-known battery scientists.

Aurbach is best known for the important role he played in the accumulation of knowledge that led to the development of commercial lithium ion batteries. By using a large scope of materials to tweak individual cells, Aurbach succeeded in demonstrating new battery prototypes that can possess high energy density and can exhibit better cycling and safety features of state-of-the-art commercial batteries.
Jenny Havermann:
Determined Olah Chadasha

Meet Jenny, age 28, married, mother of 1, living in Giva'at Shmuel after making aliyah 4 years ago from Germany. She is currently studying in her third year in the Bar-Ilan University's Linguistics and English Literature program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her son and her husband and taking Zumba classes.
Prof. Zeev Zalevsky:
Seeing the World in a Whole New Way

Prof. Zeev Zalevsky, 43, is the Head of the Electro-Optics track at the faculty of Engineering and director of the Nano Photonics Center at the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA).

An internationally acclaimed expert in his field, he is a visiting professor at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, and on the management board of OASIS, The Optical Association of Israel. Zalevsky is the recipient of numerous awards, among which are the International Commission for Optics (ICO) Prize, the Krill Award, the Fund Juludan Prize for advancing technology in medicine.  In 2011 his optical heartbeat monitor was selected as one of Israel's top 45 greatest inventions of all time. 

Mihal Grinberg:
A New Neurological Understanding

Meet Mihal, age 20, living in Giva'at Shmuel after making aliyah from New Jersey. She spent her first year in Israel volunteering at a children's hospital and working in the community center in Jaffa. She is currently studying in her first year at Bar-Ilan in Brain Sciences. In her spare time she enjoys cooking and baking and participating in Model UN activities.


Samuel McCartney:
Shaping Young Minds

Meet Samuel, (Sam), age 24, single, living in Ramat Efal after serving in the IDF in the 55th brigade of the Paratrooper core. He made aliyah 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia during his army service. He is currently studying in his first year at Bar- Ilan, learning Leadership in Education and Israel Studies and Archeology. In his free time he enjoys various sports, reading and spending time with his friends. He is also currently working as a Madrich for the Bar- Ilan One Year Program, a gap year program for students from abroad. Read more...



Member of Knesset Dr. Aliza Lavie

From politics to prayer, from media to academia, BIU's Dr. Aliza Lavie is making her mark in Israel and the Jewish world. A member of Knesset (MK) with the centrist Yesh Atid party, she chairs the Knesset's Committee on the Status of Women, sits on the Finance Committee and spearheads legislation to advance women's rights and gender equality, and boost the number of women reps on key decision-making bodies, such as the judicial appointments  and health basket committees. “When Yair Lapid asked me to join his party, I was excited to have an opportunity to impact,” says Lavie. Read more...


Rabbi Mayer Lichtenstein:

Advancing and Enhancing the Talmudic Legacy

A Yeshiva educator and college Talmud lecturer who heads a community Beit Midrash, Rabbi Mayer Lichtenstein is a BIU Doctoral Fellow of Excellence in Talmud. His dissertation, "Towards a History of Blessings before Eating in Rabbinic Literature" traces the formulation of halakha from the Second Temple (200 BCE) through the period of the Jewish Sages (600 CE). Read more...


Dr. Ronit Irshai

Spearheading a Spiritual Revolution for Modern Orthodox Women


Dr. Ronit Irshai is fueling an Orthodox feminist revolution.  One of a select cadre of scholars exploring what she terms the "dynamite combination" of halakha and feminist thought, she is a sought-after speaker, author of an innovative work on fertility and Jewish law, and activist in the Orthodox Jewish feminist organization Kolech.  "My firm commitment to halakha, human dignity and equality inspires me to find ways to increase women's involvement in synagogue and other rituals," stresses Irshai, a grad of BIU's Doctoral Fellowships of Excellence program and a former Schupf post-doctorate scholar. "This is Tikkun Olam!" Read more...


Prof. Elie Assis:

Man of the Book


With a deep passion for Bible study and teaching, Prof. Elie Assis seeks to convey the beauty and spirit of the "Book of Books" around the globe. The English-born dean of BIU's premier Faculty of Jewish Studies has lectured to hundreds of students in Israel as well as to audiences in China, Korea, Japan, Russia, Belgium, the Netherlands, England, and the US. Chairing Bible studies at the Israeli Ministry of Education, he implements innovative school curricula, which focus on the text as a whole, while looking at the deeper messages and ideology of the Bible.  "The Bible is the root of our history, religion, and the formation of our People," accentuates the former head of the Zalman Shamir Bible Department, who has published eight books and over 40 articles on Biblical narrative, poetry and late prophecy, including the Books of Joshua, Judges, Song of Songs, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and Joel.


Shoshana Naiman

An "Up-and-Coming" Woman Scientist to Look Out For

Halfway through PhD studies in molecular biology, 26-year-old Shoshana Naiman is already making headlines. Chosen twice by the Israeli media as an "upcoming woman scientist," the BIU Doctoral Fellow of Excellence pursues international collaborations on aging and metabolic diseases, which have resulted in extension of lifespan in animal models, and articles in top scientific journals such as Nature. A fellow in the Israeli Centers of Research Excellence (I-CORE), she is a nominee for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting for outstanding young scientists. Read more...


Netanel Shavit:

An IDF Sharpshooter Takes Aim at Electrical Engineering

After seven years as a combat soldier and yeshiva student in Israel’s south, IDF sharpshooter Netanel Shavit eyed his next mission: pursuit of an engineering degree at one of the nation’s top academic institutions. Swayed by his friend Hagai Diamandi, (also profiled in our BIU web series), Shavit and family packed up and moved to Ramat Gan. “BIU’s School of Engineering is young and vibrant, and developing all the time,” says the Bar-Ilan honors scholar, now enrolled in his second year of undergrad studies in the electrical engineering track. Read more...


Yocheved Loewenstern:

Exploring the Body’s Central Command 


Intrigued by the human brain and mind, Yocheved Loewenstern was drawn to BIU’s Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience – Israel’s first such program and the only one authorized by the Israeli Council of Higher Education to grant a BSc degree in neuroscience. “I really love the program, which uniquely integrates both psychology and life sciences, and it’s especially exciting to be getting into research,” says the second-year BIU honors scholar, who was born in Highland Park, New Jersey and grew up in Beit Shemesh. Read more...


Ayal Klein:

Probing the Human Mind and Life’s Essence

When Ayal Klein chose to major in psychology and minor in philosophy, his family and former teachers were surprised. With a penchant for computer science and BIU professor father, Shmuel, an expert in the field, “it was natural that I specialize in computers and math.” It was not a simple decision, confides the undergrad who enrolled in 2012 as part of the University’s Program for Honors Scholars. But in the end, following his heart, he opted for social sciences and humanities – a rare mesh for honors scholars, who gravitate toward the hard sciences. “We run forward with technology, but must not lose sight of the substance of our lives,” stresses the IDF combat solider, who served in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Read more...

Dr. Beena Kalisky:
Nanomagnetism – A Big "Draw"

The study of magnetism on the nanoscale is a hot topic for technologists hoping to create new materials for use in super-miniaturized electronic devices. But according to BIU alumna Dr. Beena Kalisky – a new faculty member in the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA) who recently returned to Israel after completing postdoctoral research at Stanford University – another cool thing about nanomagnets is their potential for use in medicine. And that’s something that this brainy recruit – who usually focuses on the nanoscience underlying the properties of advanced materials – enjoys putting her mind to. Read more...


Prof. Moshe Bar:
A Unique Educational Approach

Prof. Bar – whose undergraduate training in electrical engineering, Masters in computer science, and PhD in cognitive psychology make him a “poster child” for multidisciplinary science – says that the education received by Gonda Center graduate students is unlike anything available anywhere else in the world. “We require our incoming students to pass courses in subjects including mathematics, physics, computer science, cell biology, neurochemistry, cognitive psychology, and language, to ensure that everyone is equipped to see the big picture,” he says, adding that this approach gives students from a variety of backgrounds the ability to work effectively with their colleagues. Read more...

Avrohom Shimon Tendler:
Preserving Israel’s Past for Our Future

While growing up in Monsey, NY, Avrohom Shimon Tendler never imagined that one day he would be an excavation supervisor for the Israel Antiquities Authority, safeguarding material culture and other vestiges of by-gone millenniums. But since August 2011, the Bar-Ilan MA candidate in the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology has been overseeing salvage excavations at construction sites for new highways and neighborhoods – since there’s no telling where artifacts may turn up in a country richly steeped  in history. Read more...


David Keller:

Creating the Right Chemistry Between Science and Judaism

Imagine if you could coat the windows in your home, or even your car, with a very thin layer of solar cells that could convert the energy of the sun into electricity. Such technology could be ubiquitous and cheap. And it's being research at Bar-Ilan with the help of David Keller, a  third-year student in chemistry and part of the University's influential Program for Honors Scholars. Read more...

Shira Finson:

Helping People Understand Each Other

With the ever-increasing need for Israel to make its actions clear to an often hostile world, Shira Finson decided that being a translator would be an important way to give back to her country while making a respectable living. Being part of Bar-Ilan’s prestigious Program for Honors Scholars has helped Shira pursue her career choice. Read more...

Boris Krasniansky:

At the Frontlines of Improving Social Media

If Facebook is the future, then Boris Krasniansky is on the frontlines, as he studies for a degree in information science with the help of Bar-Ilan’s Program for Honors Scholars, which targets the most outstanding students on campus. Now in his second year, Krasniansky has been focusing on understanding – and improving – how social media is used. Read more...

Oriya Ben-Yosef

Striving to Improve Ethics in Economics

When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, many people began to wonder how the world got to this point. Where were the principled, moral leaders in the financial world who should have steered clear of shady business dealings and greedy deals? Oriya Ben-Yosef plans to stand at the forefront of his generation’s leaders who will strive to improve ethical standards in the field of economics. Read more...


Oryan Hass

Effectively Communicating the Case for Israel

In today’s politically charged and media-dominated environment, a good lawyer must also be a polished communicator. Oryan Hass, a student in Bar-Ilan’s Program for Honors Scholars, is poised to be an expert in both. The program encourages its scholars to take courses in multiple departments and Hass has taken full advantage of the opportunity, studying law as her major while completing a parallel certificate in communication studies. Read more...



Keren Fait

Probing the Inner Psyche

“As an IDF ‘Conditions of Service’ Officer, I encountered so many soldiers with different life stories that it made me wonder how the human mind works – how is it that one person who grew up in a dysfunctional family (e.g., whose parents are drug addicts or in prison) wants to be close to home to help his family, while another just wants to get away and make it on his own? Where do people get the mental resources that help them cope?”So explains 27-yearold Keren Fait about her decision to major in Psychology. Read more...


Hagai Diamandi

Synergizing Tradition and Excellence

For much of his 24 years, Hagai Diamandi has sought to mesh tradition with excellence. As a youngster, he participated in BIU science activities for gifted youth; as a teen, he attended a demanding Torah-and-Technology high school in Jerusalem. Later, he combined Hesder Yeshiva studies in the southern development town of Yerucham with Israeli military service. As an IDF tank commander charged with training new recruits, he provided an exemplary model of dedication to the State of Israel and concern for the individual, with his officers commending his leadership qualities, self-discipline, dedication, diligence, values, and high potential.” Read more...

Last modified: 20/07/2017