Bar-Ilan University | President’s Report 2022

36 “Since the country’s earliest days, Israelis have been trying to work out their national identity. If archeology was our way of rooting ourselves in place, the theater was where we as a culture could explore who we are and who we want to be.” The popularity of theater in Israeli society is also the reason for the disproportionately large number of acting students— and for an innovative new collaboration between Bar-Ilan, the City of Ramat Gan, and Israel’s’ oldest and most prestigious school of acting, Beit Zvi. Founded by the iconic Israeli art and drama critic HaimGamzu in 1950, Beit Zvi—which boasts such notable alumni as Lior Ashkenazi and Ze’ev Revach, star of Israel’s 1960s and 70s “Bourekas films”—offers a three-year program that includes the study of Shakespeare and Chekhov, even Sholem Aleichem. What it doesn’t offer, however, is an academic degree. Until now. “The City of Ramat Gan wanted Bar-Ilan, whose Program in Drama and Theater grants both undergraduate and graduate degrees through the Department of Comparative Literature, to help Beit Zvi students earn an academic degree upon their graduation, too. By having that degree, acting graduates can apply their knowledge and skills to a range of creative professions in the future that wouldn’t be open to them otherwise,” says Horovitz, who explains that Bar-Ilan created a special, one-day a week track throughwhich Beit Zvi students can, over the course of their three years of study, complete the required academic coursework. Bar-Ilan also allows recent Beit Zvi graduates to earn a Bar-Ilan degree through an intensive one-year program. While the collaboration has obvious benefits for students of Beit Zvi, Horovitz points out that it’s a win for Bar-Ilan, too. “For starters,” he says, “the collaboration is a way for Bar-Ilan to open doors to talented young people and enable them to contribute to the community. But it also brings individuals with a different perspective and set of experiences to the Program in Drama and Theater. For tomorrow’s playwrights, directors, and teachers of drama and theater, the encounter with new ideas and new worlds is a critical thing.” 10 stars from the theater visited Bar-Ilan this year When most people think of theater, they think of Broadway, orperhapsLondon’sBarbican.What they don’t usually think of is Tel Aviv’s Habima. And yet, pointsoutDr.RoyHorovitz, thestageactor, director of multiple Cameri performances, and head of BarIlan’s Program in Drama and Theater, Israel has the highest rate of theater goers per capita of any country in the world. Given that it also has one of the highest costs of living, that fact says a lot about the role of the stage in the Jewish state. The Drama & Theater Program