Your Daily Phil: Marlee Matlin on disability inclusion + Jerusalem College of Technology’s expansion plans

January 28, 2022

Rendering of new Tal Campus, construction to be completed by 2025 (Photo credit by Kimmel Eshkelon.)

Good Friday morning!

Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT), which serves a largely religious student body, will begin construction on an expanded campus for women later this year.

The $100 million expansion project comes amid ongoing efforts across Israeli society to bring more Haredi Israelis into higher education and the workforce — particularly in the tech sector. Israel’s 1.2 million Haredi citizens make up 13% of the country’s population but comprise just 4.5% of its national university student body, according to a recent study by the Israel Democracy Institute. The number of Haredi students increased 14% last year and is two-thirds female, as a large proportion of  Haredi men study in yeshivas and kollels — Jewish institutes of advanced study.

That’s also the gender ratio of the approximately 2,000 Haredi students at JCT. The new campus, called the Tal Campus for Women, is slated for completion in 2025 and has space for some 3,000 students — an increase of more than 500 from its current capacity. JCT has so far raised more than $50 million for the construction project, plus another $11 million in government funding.

The students come primarily from the Haredi, religious Zionist and Ethiopian communities. Ninety percent of Haredi women who graduate from the college find employment, according to Stuart Hershkowitz, JCT’s vice president. He hopes the expansion “will help many Haredi families leave the cycle of poverty.”

“We are an Orthodox institution whose students come to JCT because of the religious and gender-separate environment,” Hershkowitz told eJewishPhilanthropy. “Because of the religious-friendly environment and the high level of education, we are able to attract more Haredi women students.”

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