Studying in Israel, a Positive Paradox: Affordable World Class Higher Education
Fifty years ago, American universities and many state colleges were tuition free. Today, earning a college degree has become expensive, at best, and often contributes to bring about personal bankruptcy. Many aspiring students, and their parents, who do not want their children to give up on obtaining a degree, are forced to take out (often exorbitant) student loans, and end up having to pay their way out through menial, underpaid and underemployed labor.
Momo’s Dream - Turning “The Start-Up Nation” into a Center of Global Education
Shlomo (Momo) Lifshitz, a scholastic visionary and a true Zionist, made the connection between the plight of American (and other nationalities) students and families and the tremendous opportunity offered by studying at one of Israel’s institutes of higher learning.
At “60 years young,” Lifshitz has made his career in education and tourism. From founding the Oranim Educational Initiatives in 1986, which brought tens of thousands of young people to Israel from synagogues, churches, day schools and Birthright Israel, through selling Oranim to the Egged Tour company six years ago, and through personal observation (such as seeing friends and family in the US struggle to finance their children’s college education), Mr. Lifshitz came to the realization that Israel, globally recognized as a technology startup powerhouse, with its Nobel laureate and candidate professors, teaching at some of the finest universities worldwide that, in Shlomo’s own words, “don’t charge the crazy prices that you have in America”, served as the perfect solution for making attainable, that which has become largely unattainable abroad to the vast majority people, a high quality university degree.
Consequently, 3 years ago, Mr. Lifshitz was moved to establish a new venture, Lirom Global Education, also known as Study in Israel, which partners with Israel’s higher-ed. institutions to provide international students with opportunities to “study abroad” in Israel, in English, both to get an academic education, as well as hands-on, “real-world” work experience. This latter element of Lirom’s programs portrays Mr. Lifshitz’s practical approach to education and placement in the workforce. “When I recruit someone to work for me, I’m looking for three things,” he says, “Is this person likable? What does this person know? What is this person’s experience?”. This, on-top of the academic level of said programs and their reasonable tuition, make studying in Israel, through Lirom, a proposition of unparalleled value.
Everything from Culinary Arts, to Business and Law Degrees, for Much, Much Less
Here are just a few cases that exemplify what Study in Israel is all about:
1. A three-and-a-half-year bachelor of law degree (LL.B.) program through Israel’s College of Law and Business (CLB) that accommodates English speakers, which also offers a dual law and business degree in only four years, and optional internships optional. “In four years, you’ll get an LLB and a BA in business for only $50,000,” Lifshitz says. “These bachelor’s degrees won’t cause your parents to go bankrupt, nor will you, yourself incur heavy loans.” In addition, if they wish, students of the CLB program may, in just 6 more months, continue their studies to earn an LL.M.- Masters of Law degree, and qualify to take the NY state bar, at Cardozo Law at Yeshiva University, and Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
2. A long-distance learning master’s degree in Jewish education offered by Hebrew University’s world renown Melton Centre of Jewish Education. The program combines two semesters of online learning with six weeks of intensive summer study in Jerusalem. “Tuition is half of what you’re going to pay in America, and, don’t forget, you upgrade your career while you continue to work,” Lifshitz says.
3. A six-months hospitality or culinary arts program at Ben-Gurion University’s Eilat campus plus hands-on internships at some of Eilat’s primary hotels. Students may partake in a hospitality and tourism vocational studies program, or a culinary arts program which grants students a certificate in Israeli, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. This internship costs students a meager $1,700, which includes living accommodations, monthly stipend, medical insurance, and tours (the participating hotels pick up the rest of the tab).
College Education in Israel, the Best of All Worlds
A former Lirom student and employee sums it up nicely: “You’re talking about half or even a third of the price of [college] in America,” says Samuel Lucien (Luky) Guigui, who came from Memphis to Israel to study. “One of the reasons, I graduated [from Brandeis University] in three years instead of four was that it saved me $50,000, says Guigui, who worked for Lirom as it was getting off the ground. Momo Lifshitz “is addressing a very big problem in America now, but he’s doing it with blue-and-white eyes.”