The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel's first university and a symbol of the cultural rebirth of the Jewish nation in its ancestral homeland, is a multidisciplinary institution of higher learning and research. It has become a scientific center of international repute, with formal and informal ties extending to and from the worldwide scientific and academic community. It is an institution where thousands of young Israelis receive a university education with an accent on excellence; where advanced, postgraduate study and research are stressed; and where special programs attract a large number of overseas students to pursue degrees or earn credits for transfer. The Hebrew University has a three-fold function: to serve the State of Israel by training its scientific, educational, and professional manpower; to serve the Jewish people by preserving and expanding the Jewish cultural, spiritual, and intellectual heritage; and to serve humanity by extending the frontiers of knowledge.
Since its inauguration in 1925, the Hebrew University has grown from three modest institutes of Jewish Studies, Microbiology, and Chemistry to an internationally renowned institution offering academic programs in a wide variety of disciplines, from the humanities and social sciences to medicine, agriculture, and computer science. The Hebrew University recently celebrated the opening of the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and of the School of Public Policy.
Some 1,300 faculty members teach approximately 24,000 students at the Hebrew University's four campuses at Mount Scopus, Givat Ram, Ein Karem and Rehovot. The Edmond J. Safra Campus in Givat Ram is home to the Jewish National and University Library, whose collection includes over 3,000,000 books and periodicals and unique collections such as the Albert Einstein Archives.
The Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
The Skirball Cultural Center is dedicated to exploring the connections between four thousand years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals. The Skirball welcomes and seeks to inspire people of every ethnic and cultural identity. Guided by shared and unique memories and experiences, the Skirball aspires to build a society in which everyone can feel at home. The Skirball's 15-acre campus was designed by architect Moshe Safdie and opened to the public in 1996. Since then, it has welcomed more than three million visitors. The institution achieves its mission through public programs that explore literary, visual, and performing arts from around the world; through the display and interpretation of its permanent collections and changing exhibitions; through scholarship in American Jewish history and related publications; and through outreach to the community, including a school program that reaches over 30,000 school children and their teachers each year.
The Skirball has one of the largest and finest collections of archaeological artifacts from biblical and later historical periods illuminating early Jewish life in the Middle East; Jewish ceremonial objects ranging over the last five centuries of Jewish experience from countries all over the globe; an extensive group of objects exemplifying Old World Jewish historical experience; the recently formed Project Americana collection, documenting the "everyday life of ordinary people" in the United States since the 1850s; and works of fine art, which comprise thousands of graphics, paintings, sculptures, and other objects in a variety of media.
Every week the Skirball is host to a diverse range of music, theater, dance, film, family programs, and distinguished speakers from all over the world. In addition to its main building, the Skirball opened in April 2001 Ahmanson Hall, which allows for expanded public programming and serves as a state-of-the-art facility for performing arts, conferences, and special events. Construction is underway for the next phase of the Skirball campusHeritage Hall and Amphitheater for expanded changing exhibitions and children's programs. It will be completed in September 2004, with the inaugural exhibition, Einstein. With the completion of this phase, the Skirball Cultural Center, at over 600,000 square feet, will be the largest institution of its kind in the world.