Finding the perfect balance between religious and academic life

Jerusalem College of Technology enables international students to navigate a delicate balance between religious and academic life.

In collaboration with JCT ,

studies at JCT’s
studies at JCT’s
צילום: Shaxaf Haber

The Jerusalem College of Technology’s (JCT) International Program in English offers religious students who are not fluent in Hebrew an opportunity that they would be hard-pressed to find at any other higher education institution: living in Israel and studying Torah in a religiously sensitive environment, while pursuing a prestigious academic degree.

On par with JCT’s Hebrew-speaking programs, the International Program offers a comprehensive double curriculum that combines high-level academic studies, enriching Jewish studies, and practical professional training. Following three critically formative and intensive years of study, students emerge prepared not only to embark on successful career paths but also thriving life paths that maintain an abiding fidelity to Torah and Israel.

The International Program’s degree options include a B.Sc. in Computer Science and B.A. in Business Administration for men, and a B.Sc. in Computer Science for women. The women’s program, launched in 2019, represents Israel’s first computer science degree in English that is offered exclusively for women.

Excellence in science and technology

JCT’s international students join a domestic student body known for its track record of excellence in the science and technology fields. The college has produced alumni who have become leaders in Israel’s defense industry and are involved in top-tier defense projects like the Iron Dome and Arrow anti-missile systems, as well as the country’s space program and satellite development efforts.

For example, a veteran alumnus of JCT’s Electro-Optics Engineering Department, Dov Oster, is chief technology officer in the Ministry of Defense’s central R&D organization. Another JCT alum, systems engineer Ariel Gomez, works at the Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and played a key role in Israel’s April 2019 lunar mission.

JCT provides intensive cyber training to selected outstanding graduates in software engineering and computer science through the Cyber Elite program, while helping our students secure positions at cyber start-ups as well as in cyber departments of multinational, aerospace, and defense companies.

For women, JCT provides an academic environment that enables them to shatter longstanding stereotypes pertaining to their interest in science and technology careers. One-fifth of women who study computer science in Israel are enrolled at JCT; 53 percent of all JCT’s computer science students are women, which is 18 percent higher than any other Israeli academic institution.

Maintaining religious identity

While they pursue professional careers, JCT’s students are able to maintain their commitment to Torah values and religious identity through the college’s Beit Midrash and Jewish learning offerings.

Located in the heart of JCT’s Lev Campus, the college’s Beit Midrash facility provides men with the opportunity to combine daily Torah study and prayer with their academic pursuits, spending half of the day on each priority.

The rigorous Beit Midrash curriculum — which includes Tanach, Talmud, Jewish law, Jewish philosophy, business ethics, and the synthesis of Torah and technology — provides students with the strong foundation necessary to cultivate an enduring commitment to Jewish values and integrate it into every aspect of their lives.

JCT’s full-time Beit Midrash Program includes approximately 20 hours of Torah learning per week. Despite the demanding hours of a double curriculum, these dedicated students are highly motivated to learn Torah and strengthen their connection to the land of Israel. Many serve in the IDF in hesder or atudai programs before or after their studies at JCT.

“I just felt like I was lacking in certain areas and felt it was critical to get back to my Jewish identity while taking the next step in life. I was 24 and needed to start my degree. At JCT, I could still learn Torah while also studying computer science, exactly what I wanted to study,” said International Program student Saul Rothman, a native of Los Angeles.

“What attracted me to JCT was the religious studies and the fact that I could study computer technology. This is the only English game in town for that. It’s very important for me to have that religious environment at the school,” echoed Yosef Berger of Edison, N.J.