The 41-year-old Jerusalem College of Technology has donors ready to finance the building of a Jerusalem campus to turn religious women into engineers, computer programmers, industrial managers, accountants and nurses. But it needs the municipality to donate a suitable plot of city-owned land for the college, which would bring students, employment and income to Jerusalem.

JCT’s new president, Prof. Noah Dana-Picard – a French born mathematician who took office last fall – is due to have a personal meeting on Sunday with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, whose oft-declared aims are to promote education and technology and bring jobs and young people to the city. Various sites are being discussed.

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At present, the students at JCT’s Machon Tal women’s college are crowded into 3,500 square meters in three small buildings rented in the capital’s Givat Shaul industrial and commercial quarter. One of them previously served as the headquarters of the Histadrut General Labor Federation for a short time after it was moved to the capital; the labor federation moved back to Tel Aviv after workers protested having to be bused back and forth daily.


The rented facilities on a jammed street are packed with classrooms, laboratories, a library, a nursery for student mothers, and dormitory facilities for those living away from home. An academic nursing school – which now produces more Israeli graduates than any other but one – fills much of the facilities.

JCT has over 3,000 graduates with bachelor’s degrees and 1,500 current students in bachelor’s and master’s programs – an equal number of men and women, and an equal number of national religious students (before or after military service) and haredim.

In a long interview with The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, Dana-Picard, who replaced retiring president Prof. Joseph Bodenheimer, said that his leading goal during his tenure was to “build a permanent campus for the women.”

He noted that religious women – both national religious and haredi – tended to go into the teaching and caring professions, but as adequate numbers of job slots dried up, it became urgent to teach them not only professions they would enjoy and in which would they would excel, but professions the economy needed.

Machon Tal and its counterpart for men, Machon Lev, are the sole producers of engineering degrees with a Torah atmosphere, he said.

The late engineer Prof. Zeev Lev (William Low), an innovator in science education, launched JCT with a handful of national religious male students in an apartment in 1969.

Machon Tal was established in September 2000 as the first college to offer religious women the opportunity to combine Judaic studies with academic degrees in hi-tech engineering and marketing, and to enter Israel’s hi-tech industries as professional engineers.

The Council for Higher Education has welcomed it for its contribution to the hi-tech workforce, as well as for providing this sector of society with the chance to study subjects in this field. The council also regards the men’s campus as producing high-quality academics in most of the same fields.

A feature on the interview with Prof. Noah Dana-Picard and how the Jerusalem College of Technology puts haredim in college and sends them to work will appear on the Science/Health Page of May 23.
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