Gov't gives 24 dunams to Jerusalem College of Technology for women’s facilities

Exclusive: Women to join men at Jerusalem campus – but with strict separation

June 21, 2013 02:46
2 minute read.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

The government has decided to donate some 24 dunams of land at the bottom of the Jerusalem College of Technology campus to enable it to build separate women’s facilities at its lowest point. It is the first time that an Orthodox men’s and women’s college will share the same location, albeit with restricted access from one part to the other. After planning and approval procedures are completed, construction should begin on the first building in a year.

The women’s campus of the Machon Tal college – which includes an accomplished nursing school – has been located since its inception in 3,500 sq.m. in three small rented buildings on Beit Hadfus Street in the capital’s Givat Shaul area; part of the complex served for a short time as the Histadrut labor federation’s headquarters before it moved back to Tel Aviv.

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JCT currently has 4,000 students enrolled in its various tracks: in Machon Lev, for modern Orthodox men, some of whom study in the “Atuda” program combining IDF service with academic studies; in Machon Naveh, an evening program for haredi men; and in Machon Tal. JCT’s Machon Lustig program in Ramat Gan, which awards technological degrees to haredi women, is growing by leaps and bounds.

Women in Machon Tal study towards careers in engineering, industrial management, technology marketing, accountancy and nursing, as well as for graduate degrees in business administration.

As many of the male teachers at the men’s college also teach at the women’s college, moving Machon Tal to the large Givat Mordechai campus will be much more efficient.

But due to opposition from some JCT rabbis to a mixed-gender campus, moving Machon Tal to Pisgat Ze’ev or other far-off locations was contemplated, but ultimately rejected.

A team of rabbis will delineate the rules for separating the genders.

At an outdoor dinner gala on the campus celebrating the achievements of the 44- year-old JCT and its graduates on Wednesday night, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced the land allocation and praised the institution’s combining of Torah and science.

Barkat said the expansion of JCT will make a significant contribution to expanding the city’s young, academic and Zionist population and its economy. JCT graduates have launched some 60 hi-tech start-ups in Jerusalem, he said, and have made major contributions to the country’s defense through senior technological positions in the IDF.

The mayor also noted that the next planned section of the Jerusalem Light Rail will connect the Givat Mordechai campus to Mount Scopus in the north of the city and Gilo in the south.

It was the last major JCT event presided over by outgoing president Prof. Noah Dana-Picard, a French-born mathematician who is completing four years in the post. Dana-Picard is going on sabbatical leave, and will then head a college chair in mathematics and Jewish law. He introduced the event’s 300 participants to the next JCT president, Prof. Chaim Sukenik, the US-born dean of the Bar- Ilan University’s Faculty of Exact Sciences and an expert in nanotechnology and advanced materials.

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