General Info

The study of Jewish History is one of the foundation stones of the national identity of the Jewish People as a group, and of the personal identity of the individual member of that nation. The academic research of Jewish history has always been a key part of Judaic Studies. The Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel also begins with a survey of the past: “The Jewish People arose in the Land of Israel…”. And thus the founders of Bar-Ilan university, dedicated to blending academic excellence with Jewish identity, considered Jewish History to be one of the major fields of study in the new university.    

The Department of Jewish History was founded together with Bar-Ilan University itself in 1955. Since that time the department has expanded both in the number of students and faculty and in the different fields that its researchers study. The department offers a variety of courses of study towards the bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in all historical periods, from the time of the Bible, the Second Temple, Mishnah and Talmudic periods, the Middle Ages and the modern era. Among the many subjects that are researched by department members and taught in the department’s courses and seminars are the political, social and religious history of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel and in the Diaspora, and such topics as religious sects and movements in different periods, gender, Jewish family and community life in Western and Eastern communities, historiography of the Holocaust, the history of Zionism and of the State of Israel.    


The purpose of study in the department is to imbue the students with both knowledge and the critical tools needed to read texts independently and to broaden the circles of research in the various fields. The department’s graduates continue to contribute in research and higher education, become teachers in secondary schools throughout the country, take positions in national and local government and in the security forces of the State of Israel.