Hadassah College executives (left to right) Prof. Bertold Fridlender, President, Hadassah Academic College Ms. Alina Ianson, National Executive Director, Canadian Hadassah-Wizo Ms. Debbie Eisenberg, National President, Canadian Hadassah-Wizo Ms. Maya Shraga Albalak, CFO, Hadassah Academic College.
(photo credit: LIOR DASKAL)
Hadassah-WIZO Canada and Hadassah Academic College in Jerusalem have inaugurated a promising partnership.
Hadassah-WIZO Canada, founded in 1917, funds and works with 85 organizations, primarily in Israel within the health and welfare sector.
Hadassah Academic College will be the first academic institution in its portfolio.
“The organization will support the college’s academic projects and scholarships for students, in order to encourage the integration of haredim and Arabs in higher education and thereby promote coexistence in Israel,” according to a statement released on Thursday.
Bertold Fridlender, president of Hadassah Academic College, hopes that this partnership will allow the school to continue growing and meeting the needs of students both during and after their studies. “It is a great honor for the college to join hands with an organization like Hadassah-WIZO Canada, a collaboration that will enable us to provide our students with added academic, professional and social values,” Fridlender says.
Fridlender has been in his post since 2012, and the college’s enrollment has risen every year.
There are currently 4,000 students.
He explains: “Last year, our first year student numbers increased 20%, this year, we grew 10%.”
By 2020, he is expecting enrollment to reach 5,000 students, and in 10 years, he anticipates there will be 8,000.
The boom in enrollment might have something to do with the scholarships available to students.
“We give many and generous scholarships to our students,” Fridlender says. “But these scholarships do not come for free.” Each recipient is required to give back to the city and participate in a volunteer program that connects them with people in need throughout Jerusalem.
And in the past year, these students have contributed between 80,000 and 100,000 volunteer hours, he says.
Fridlender touts the college’s unique location: “This is the only higher education institution located in downtown Jerusalem and the only general college in the city; our students are really enriching the activities of the downtown area and we are proactive in bringing graduates into the job market.”
The college boasts an 85% rate of employment in one’s field after graduation.
Hadassah Academic College draws a diverse student body, reaching out especially to Arabs and haredim. Nineteen percent are Arabs, and Fridlender works to bring Arab and Jewish students together and to use the place as a way to learn from one another.
The college has been running a Dialogue program for the past three years. It, Fridlender says, “brings together Jews and Arabs in nonacademic settings: cultural activities involving music, literature, food, all kinds of things, and stimulates coexistence.
Often Jews and Arabs only come into close contact at the hospital, because they have no choice, but here we bring them together by choice, adds Fridlender.
According to Fridlender, the curriculum geared toward haredi students has no intention to interfere with their way of life, but it “provides them with an education to get them better jobs in order to improve their quality of life.”
Created five years ago with the support of the Council for Higher Education, the program for haredi students has an enrollment of some 800 students, both male and female, and offers both preparatory classes and academic classes.
“The preparatory classes are mostly for men who missed out on studying general education during their yeshiva studies,” Fridlender says.
The college’s programs geared toward the ultra-Orthodox include optometry, management, biotechnology, computer science departments.