Our tradition began long ago
But unlike most traditions
Ours was one of breaking from convention
A tradition of challenging
A tradition of reimagining
A tradition of creating knowledge
While some look for what’s possible
Our approach is a little more unconventional
We can’t say we’re doing the impossible
We’re just not sure where possibility ends…
For over one hundred years, and into the hundred next
We will continue to question, to challenge, to innovate
Because it is our tradition
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
100 Years Ago
In the late 19th century, great thinkers came together to envision what a “Hebrew University”, could look like. A University of the Jewish People. It was a thought, a dream, to establish an exceptional institution of higher learning in Israel – well before statehood was assured.
In 1882, Zvi Hermann Shapira, a rabbi and professor of mathematics, began publishing a series of articles advocating for such a place. Soon the idea was embraced by major Jewish scholars and leaders of the early 20th century, among them Otto Warburg, Sigmund Freud, Martin Buber, Chaim Weizmann and Albert Einstein. [All helped to develop the idea and to raise support.] Finally, in 1918, after years of campaigning, a university for the Jewish people broke ground in Jerusalem, and the doors opened in 1925. Upon that occasion, Einstein wrote:
“The opening of our Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, at Jerusalem, is an event which should not only fill us with just pride, but should also inspire us to serious reflection. ... A University is a place where the universality of human spirit manifests itself. Science and investigation recognize as their aim the truth only.” He concluded with the vision that, “... our University will develop speedily into a great spiritual center which will evoke the respect of cultural mankind the world over.”
For 100 years, our commitment to the vision of Einstein and his contemporaries has never waned. The Hebrew University has lead and developed higher education in Israel and is consistently ranked among the 100 leading universities in the world. Not bad for a small start-up.
At the Hebrew University, innovation is our tradition. From the early days of developing new methods of irrigation for a dry climate to today, with our scholars receiving exceptional proportions (disproportionate numbers?) of ERC and other research grants and academic prizes. The work done within our campuses has led to breakthrough treatments for Alzheimer’s and ovarian cancer, agricultural advancements, new perspectives on the legal system, politics, and society, as well as lifesaving smart vehicle technology. We bring together faculty and students from across Israel’s diverse sectors and from around the world. From rediscovering the past to charting the future - at the Hebrew University, exceptional is our norm.
The Next 100 Years
In the coming decades, the world will be faced with a unique array of challenges, including famine and drought brought on by
climate change, as well as a new generation of cybercriminals emboldened by an increasingly interconnected world.
Hebrew University’s talented faculty and staff are perfectly positioned to solve these problems, and we look forward to solidifying our already exceptional legacy by fostering and incubating the next generation of doctors, scientists, and innovators. Together, we will achieve even greater things in this coming century and beyond.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, founded in 1918 and opened officially in 1925, is Israel's premier university as well as its leading research institution. The Hebrew University is ranked internationally among the 100 leading universities in the world and first among Israeli universities.
The recognition the Hebrew University has attained confirms its reputation for excellence and its leading role in the scientific community. It stresses excellence and offers a wide array of study opportunities in the humanities, social sciences, exact sciences and medicine. The university encourages multi-disciplinary activities in Israel and overseas and serves as a bridge between academic research and its social and industrial applications.
The Hebrew University has set as its goals the training of public, scientific, educational and professional leadership; the preservation of and research into Jewish, cultural, spiritual and intellectual traditions; and the expansion of the boundaries of knowledge for the benefit of all humanity.