“I have a dream to make Israel a center for global education,” Shlomo ‘Momo’ Lifshitz recently told The Jerusalem Post.
Lifshitz, whose name is synonymous with tour company Oranim Education Initiatives, has announced the launch of a new educational initiative that seeks to bring international students to complete their higher education degrees in Israel.
Partnering with leading Israeli universities and academic colleges, his new initiative – Lirom Global Education – offers academic degrees for both undergraduate and graduate studies in English in Israel.
Lifshitz credits his more than 25 years of experience with Oranim, which brought more than 50,000 young Jews to Israel on Birthright trips, as the inspiration behind his new initiative.
“Oranim enabled me to see what was going on in Jewish communities around the world and in North America, particularly the problem of people struggling with higher education,” he said.
“It has become a big problem for many families in America to fund education. Many young people leave universities with a beautiful bachelor’s degree – a gorgeous certificate from a great school – that does not pave the way to become an asset in the workforce and leaves them burdened with huge student loans,” he said.
Lirom Global Education aims to offer a solution to this problem by creating a “buffet of [academic] programs that are practical and that don’t bankrupt you financially,” he explained.
In its first year, with registration now open, Lirom offers international students the opportunity to study in Israel in a variety of fields.
Among the programs offered, students can complete a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the College of Law and Business in Israel.
Taught in English over three years, the academic program also includes an internship for students to gain practical real-world experience.
“What is more important – the degree or the experience and real life knowledge?” he asked. “We decided to create a bachelor’s degree that combines both,” he said.
The college also offers a 3.5 year bi-lingual bachelor of law degree (LLB), which would qualify students to practice law internationally.
For really ambitious students, the college also provides a dual degree in law and business, whereby students study in Israel for three years and fulfill an additional year in a leading partner university in the US.
“If a student wants to get first-class quality education and become an asset in the workforce, they can study for three years and fulfill another year in the US, and then they have a degree in Business and Law at the age of 22 years old,” Lifshitz said.
“It is unheard of. What student can go at the age of 22 and practice law in the US?” he added. “The prices are comparatively ridiculous – and you can still qualify for FAFSA (Federal Student Aid) money.”
The educational programs are offered at a fraction of the cost of the typical $40,000 per year tuition fees and living expenses for colleges and universities in the US.
Among the additional programs offered by Lirom include: a one-year master’s degree in Jewish Education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a semester-long Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Education program by the International School at the Levinsky College of Education in Tel Aviv, an M.Sc. degree in agriculture with a specialization in horticulture and field and vegetable crops from the Hebrew University, as well as a part-time international MBA from Bar Ilan University that includes a study tour in China.
Students can also enjoy summer programs and semester-long programs in areas such as conflict resolution, treating autism with dolphins, and a Magen David Adom volunteer program – all of which count towards academic credits.
In 2017, a new program for a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and tourism management will open in cooperation with the Hilton Hotel in Eilat and the Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
“Students can come to Israel and leave after three years with a degree and with incredible work experience – what Hilton hotel in the world wouldn’t hire them?” he said.
As part of the program, students study for three years while completing an internship at the renowned Hilton Queen of Sheba Hotel in Eilat – all for $2,000 per year, which includes the cost of tuition, accommodation, food, medical insurance, and organized trips around Israel.
With regards to the cost, Lifshitz explained that the hotel covers the school tuition in exchange for the internship, while Lirom also subsidizes some of the costs, leaving a minimal yearly cost for the student.
“The cost of a BA in Israel has no connection with the cost of education in the US. Israel can help the American population with the craziness of tuition,” he asserted.
He added: “Lirom is a one stop shop – we take care of the students for everything with the exception of the academic relationship with the institution. Whatever is needed, we are their one address.”
Lifshitz, who is very outspoken about his passion to bring young Jews to make aliya, explained that this initiative welcomes both Jews and non-Jews who are interested in pursuing academic degrees.
“I opened this to any Israel lover, Jew and non-Jew alike,” he said.
“I want people in the US to fall in love with Israel and go back and say positive things about the country and their experiences. We have a lot to offer to the world.”