Jerusalem College of Technology receives $1 million to expand program for English speakers

The program combines high-level academic degrees and Torah study, reinforces religious Zionist values and empowers its students to integrate successfully into Israeli society.

The campus of the Jerusalem College of Technology. Credit: Courtesy.
The campus of the Jerusalem College of Technology. Credit: Courtesy.

The Jerusalem College of Technology announced a $1 million donation this week from strategic philanthropists David and Debra Magerman to expand the College’s International Program for English Speakers. The program combines high-level academic degrees and Torah study, reinforces religious Zionist values and empowers its students to integrate successfully into Israeli society.

The Magerman grant, made in partnership with the Tzemach David Foundation, will support a paradigm shift for the International Program. Until now, students in JCT’s International Program were offered courses and earned degrees taught fully in English.

Moving forward, International Program students will spend two years in an intensive Hebrew-language ulpan, while they begin their academic studies and complete their core STEM courses in English. By their third year of study, they will transition into courses taught in Hebrew. This will equip international students with the ability to integrate into the Hebrew-speaking workforce if they opt to remain in Israel.

“We are enormously privileged that Debra and David Magerman, in partnership with Tzemach David Foundation, are choosing to invest in the future of the Jewish State by investing in the Jerusalem College of Technology. Their passion for and positive impact on Jewish education are proven. We view our partnership with them as integral to the growth of our longstanding International Program and the college as a whole,” said professor Chaim Sukenik, JCT president.

David Magerman explained that “the exposure of rampant antisemitism on American college campuses is the strongest sign that Jewish students are not valued in America. One of the missions of Tzemach David is to help Israeli educational institutions present their value to American students and students all over the world, to invite Jews to study in Israel, where they will be valued and be given the opportunity to get an excellent education without the trauma of antisemitism.” He continued, “This gift will help JCT offer the combination of excellent secular education and a strong Judaic program to more Jews in the diaspora, inviting them home to Israel, where they are cherished.”

Magerman is an engineer and philanthropist. Raised in New York and Florida, he earned a Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford University. He spent many years at Renaissance Technologies, which is widely recognized as the world’s most successful quantitative hedge fund management company. He later co-founded Differential Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital fund that specializes in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science, focusing on seed-stage technology companies building software solutions for the future of data.

In 2010, the Magermans formed the Kohelet Foundation, based in Pennsylvania, which focused on improving Jewish day-school education. In Israel, the Tzemach David Foundation creates meaningful impact through Zionism, leadership and innovation by recognizing the needs of new immigrants (olim) and providing targeted resources and programs to facilitate their smooth integration into Israeli schools. The foundation is a catalyst for change promoting educational excellence.

Amid growing interest in studying in Israel due to the rising costs of higher education in America and surging antisemitism across North American college campuses, JCT offers an array of degree options to English speakers, including in nursing, bioinformatics (including a pre-medical track option), software engineering, electrical engineering, electronics engineering, electro-optics engineering, and industrial engineering. These degree options expand the offerings of the International Program for English Speakers, which has taught degrees in business and computer science for 15 years. Currently, the International Program has more than 150 students across the College’s Lev Campus for men and Tal Campus for women. They are enrolled for a fraction of the cost of an equivalent American bachelor’s degree.

JCT’s students hail from 38 countries worldwide; approximately 70% of the international students at the college come from North America.

“Tzemach David Foundation strives to transform education in Israel, with an initial focus on integrating olim into the education system. This generous gift will do just that. This investment in our program will help bring in new students, strengthen their Jewish identity and help fortify the State of Israel,” said Rabbi Shlomo Anapolle, director of JCT’s International Program for English Speakers.

JCT is responding to rising antisemitism on North American campuses by offering accelerated enrollment options for international students seeking safe haven. Its newly launched process accommodates transfer students and prospective first-year students applying for admission in the next school year (beginning with the fall 2024 semester), and postdoctoral students and faculty members looking for staff positions.

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The Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) is one of Israel’s major academic institutions with nearly 5,000 students on three campuses. The College specializes in high-tech engineering, industrial management, business administration, and life and health sciences.
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