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TAU or HUJI? - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
March 13th, 2002
02:16 pm

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TAU or HUJI?
I will not be attending St. John's College in Maryland, after all.

Instead, I will attend either Tel Aviv University (TAU) or the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel (HUJI). I will double-major in Comparative Literature and Classical Studies.

There are lots of factors, academic and personal, for and against both universities. For instance, I have a high SAT score that I would really like to use when applying. TAU will gladly accept it, and HUJI requires me to appeal to some committee to deign to consider my application with the SAT score instead of the Israeli equivalent, which I have not taken.

Anyhow, here's a little poll where you may express your recommendation for me. I'd especially appreciate actual comments along with the votes.

Poll #22831 Which University Should Ijon Attend?

TAU or HUJI?

Tel Aviv University
3(37.5%)
Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
5(62.5%)
Neither
0(0.0%)

Current Mood: busy
Current Music: Jimi Hendrix - Manic Depression

(21 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]
From:lukkke
Date:March 13th, 2002 04:41 am (UTC)

why HUJI

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מהתרשמות כללית, הבנתי שלימודי מדעי הרוח באוניברסיטה העברית טובים יותר, וגם היחס לסטודנטים יותר הגיוני. חוץ מזה, הספריה שווה יותר.

- עדיגי ההולכת לאיבוד.
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From:hattie
Date:March 13th, 2002 05:24 am (UTC)

why HUJI

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As much as the Madame will miss Ijon if he'll study in Jerusalem,
she is quite convinced that he would enjoy his studies much more in Jerusalem, for the same reasons mentioned above by Adigi.

TAU is not the place for people who scorn mediocrity.
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From:cinamon
Date:March 13th, 2002 05:53 am (UTC)
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I say - come to TAU, but this is of course for selfish reasons - I will see you more... :)
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From:ijon
Date:March 13th, 2002 06:02 am (UTC)
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But we'll only have one year to enjoy each other's presence at TAU. What about non-selfish reasons? Do you recommend TAU anyhow?
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From:cinamon
Date:March 13th, 2002 07:23 am (UTC)

Re:

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Well, I understand that half of what you want to study is comparative lit'. As I'm sure you know, we just don't have it! There is general lit, but I don't think it's quite the same thing. As to classical studies, I have some friends there. They say it depends which specific root you take (there are few options, 3 I think). The thing is, darlin', I can;t really say, cause I don't know HUJI. From what I hear, it is better, at least in everything that has to do with languages, but you already know that.
Personally I came to think during the years that the most important thing is the lecturer. Therefore, I would advise you to attend classes in both places. Try to get to know the people who teach, thier attitudes. It is time consuming, but I think it's worth the effort. Then you'll be able to decide... :)
There are economical considerations to take, but again, I'm sure you are already thinking about everything.

Luck anyway... :)

I'm sure you'll make the right decision!
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From:ijon
Date:March 17th, 2002 01:41 am (UTC)

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Attending some classes in both universities is excellent advice. I shall do so, starting next week. Lunch at the Gilman cafeteria?
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From:cinamon
Date:March 17th, 2002 08:44 am (UTC)

Re:

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Sure :)
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From:talash
Date:March 13th, 2002 06:10 am (UTC)

TAU

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I'd say TAU for the following reasons:

1. Jerusalem is a dangerous place. Of course you have suicide bombings in Tel Aviv too, but they are much more frequent in Jerusalem.
2. Tel Aviv is much closer to you then Jerusalem. If you select HUJI, you'll have the trouble of moving to Jerusalem and then less time for other activities, such as Roleplaying Society.
3. From what I gather TAU is as good as HUJI.
4. HUJI bureaucrats always try to overcharge you, underscore you and otherwise cheat you. I don't know about TAU, but I'm quite certain about HUJI.
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From:lukkke
Date:March 13th, 2002 07:42 am (UTC)

bullshit

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1. ירושלים לא מסוכנת במיוחד. לא בהר הצופים, לפחות.

2. משחקי תפקידים צריכים להיות אחד השיקולים האחרונים לבחירת אוניברסיטה, מה גם שגם כאן יש שחקנים.

3. תלוי במה.

4. האאא?
From:calanya
Date:March 13th, 2002 06:45 am (UTC)

HUJI I think

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I'm sorry to hear about St. John's. The program you described was very interesting.

I didn't study at the Humanities Faculty in TAU, but my general impression of TAU was that the university (as an organization, not the academic staff) is very indifferent towards students.

Also, in TAU people are less focused on their studies. The common student goal is a diploma, not self education. Many people come to study at TAU because Tel Aviv is such a central place, economically and culturally, not because TAU is such a great place to study at.
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From:cinamon
Date:March 13th, 2002 09:29 am (UTC)

Re: HUJI I think

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Like every other place, people come to study here for various reasons, so I don't think that your generalization makes justice with those of us who are truly interested in education.

Also, we do have some excellent lecturers here, so I guess, like every other place you have to know which courses to take, and do most of the work yourself. Of course this is a subjective thing, that differs from one student to another.

About your remark about the nature of treatment we get here, this too, is not a fixed thing. Like everywhere else in life, you get to meet all kinds of attitudes and all kinds of people. I can back up both cases...
I'm sure HUJI is no different.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 13th, 2002 09:35 am (UTC)
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Anonymous. Sheesh.

So HUJI has it's devotees, and TAU is a snake pit of indifferent beaurocrats.

TAU's main advantages are its location, its location and its location.

HUJI's Gormanghest-like labyrinths are nested amidst the mountainous terrain and fractured urban layout of a generally non-user-friendly city.

TAU is, like, normal. You can stroll from one building to the next. Stroll. It's that kind of place. You're near home. You won't be lonely. Lonliness is a M.F.

As far as academics go, I suggest you scrutinize the course plans and familiarize yourself with the CPOS (Cool People On Staff) of the various faculties. Talk to people who study or teach there.
Sadly, Brian McHale isn't in TAU anymore (and my general knowledge of the Humanities deptartment, which I never investigated too closely, is probably 10+ years out of date), but I don't think they're all losers there.

Now, I suspect that HUJI might appeal to the monastic streak in you, but attending a monastery is an idiotic way to squander your youth.

So be sensible, and choose TAU.

- Dotan
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 13th, 2002 11:20 am (UTC)

huji

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i will not recommend huji to anyone, though I've spent 4.5 years of my life there. Dotan eloquently summarizes the wonders of Har Hazofim campus; let's add that the statistical forces found out that the depression percentage in HUJI Mt. Scopus campus is 25% higher than anywhere else. Talash's info on HUJI bureaucracy comes from me, and not a word of it is false.
On the other hand, I have a couple of friends in HUJI complit, and it is a very good program - with extras. Likewise, Classical Studies there are excellent, and the profs are user-friendly and saner than most other guys. TA classical program is way behind.
On the gripping hand, many of CompLit's junior faculty (and older folks too) left for BGU some 1.5 years ago, because of severe underpayment.

Renee
http://glosses.net
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From:adamklin
Date:March 13th, 2002 11:24 am (UTC)
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I don't have much to add to what's been said (TAU is a better place if you want to study while you live; HUJI a better one if you want to live while you study), accept two things:
- The Classical Studies dept. in HUJI is full of enthusiastic young people (students in various stages of studying). That is a good sign. I don't, repeat do not know almost any of the lecturers there, and that's worth checking (Cinamon gave you some excellent advice: come over for a few days and try some classes, chat with some people and staff).
- Jerusalem is full of study-related activites - lectures, meetings, debates and so on. Van Leer is here (they are amazing), the National Academy of Sciences is here, the Institute of Advances Studies (Givat Ram) is here, and of course the various departmental seminars are here. If you like what you study, and if you like to know more about what you don't study, you can spend every evening and most noons just going to these places.

I, personally, also like the city - it's a lot more beautiful and interesting than Tel Aviv, but also a lot more tense and intense.

Good luck, which ever you choose!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 13th, 2002 11:26 pm (UTC)

Why not Tel-Aviv

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ובכן, מעט מאוד ידוע לי על מי משתי הפקולטות המדוברות, כך שלא אוכל לאמר לך היכן אני חושבת שתהנה יותר.
מה שאני בכל זאת יכולה להגיד הוא, שבהתחשב בעובדה שהתכוונת לנסוע לאמריקה, המרחק בין ירושלים לרעננה מול המרחק בין ת"א לרעננה הוא לא כזה גדול. לחברים ממונעים זה לא כזה סיפור נורא לעלות ירושלמה, זה בסך הכל 40-50 דקות נסיעה (לכל היותר) ואותו הדבר לאיש שהגעגועים לחבריו במרכז תקפו אותו, ומפתחות רכבו בידו.
בנוסף, שמועה בלתי מבוססת, אך עקשנית טוענת שגם בירושלים יש אנשים נחמדים ומעניינים, שאפשר להכיר ולהתיידד איתם. יש שם גם מספר שחקני תפקידים מהמרכז, למקרי יובש באנשים. אני בספק אם תהייה לבד.

ירושלים היא לא קצה העולם. נכון, היא מקום שונה, יותר קיצוני מהמקום בו גרת עד עכשיו, והרכב האוכלוסיה שלה שונה לחלוטין, אבל בהשוואה למרילנד, זו עדיין החצר האחורית.

בועז קרני, איתו אני משחקת במשחק יום השבת שלי, עבר ללמוד בעברית לפני שנתיים. לא רק שהוא שמר על חבריו הקרובים מהמרכז וקנה לעצמו חברים חדשים בירושלים, הוא גם המשיך לשחק בסופי השבוע איתנו, ועוד הצטרף למשחק הערפדים החי. יש לו חיי משחק וחברה מגוונים, הוא חוזר כל סופ"ש הביתה - הוא מרוצה מאוד בירושלים. אף אחד עוד לא פוצץ אותו, או החזיר אותו בתשובה.

כך שמה שאני מנסה לומר, בסופו של דבר, זה שהבחירה בין ירושלים לבין תל-אביב צריכה להיות מבוססת על שיקולים ענייניים של אוניברסיטה, יחס לסטודנטים, אפשרויות קידום לתואר שני וכיוצא בזה. אני לא אומרת לך ללמוד בירושלים (למרות שאולי זה נראה כך!) אבל אני אומרת לך לא לפחוד ללכת ללמוד שם, אם אתה רוצה. אחרי שהיית מוכן לראות את יקיריך רק פעם בחצי שנה, במקרה הטוב, הרי שלהתלבט אם לראות אותם "רק" יומיים בשבוע, זה קצת טיפשי.

בכל מקרה, מוס יקר - מה שלא תבחר, שיהיה בהצלחה.
איילת.
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From:adamklin
Date:March 14th, 2002 09:45 am (UTC)

Taking the discussion elsewhere

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I forgot to ask the most obvious question:
May I inquire why Comparative Literature and Classical Studies? Why not, say, Philosophy? English Literature? Amirim?

This isn't passing judgement - I think it's a good choice - rather curiousity, and also a note: what you study should not only depend on the subjects, but also on the people teaching them - which is another important factor in choosing a university.
Just as an example, the head of the ComLit department in HUJI is called Prof. Ruth Carton-Bloom (no, that's not a joke), and while she has the ability to produce amazing seminars (all the best authors and poets in Israel actually come to gives classes she organizes on various subjects), she herself is so boring I had the urge to cut off my ears.

A small P.S. - people have said it before, but from personal experience (mine) and matrimonial one (Shelly's), HUJI are a heck of a lot nicer to students than TAU (which are considered the worst in Israel).
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From:cinamon
Date:March 15th, 2002 10:20 am (UTC)

Re: Taking the discussion elsewhere

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Not true. The University of Haifa is worse than TAU.
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From:veryty
Date:March 16th, 2002 12:33 pm (UTC)

UHaifa < TAU < HUJI in relating to students?

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Sorry to hear this, cinamon. Have you (has anyone?) anything good to say about any particular Humanities/Social Sciences dep'ts at Haifa? I'm curious -- but just while we're on the subject; certainly not urgent.
Thanks!
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From:cinamon
Date:March 18th, 2002 12:02 pm (UTC)

Re: UHaifa < TAU < HUJI in relating to students?

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As far as I know, the Social Science department is o.k, but TAU is better, and as for MA there are specific things (like psychology) in which Bar-Ilan is the leader.

I think I won't be wrong saying that there are 4 strong places - the Technion, TAU, HUJI and Bar-Ilan, each has its specific strong departments. All the others - Haifa, Be’er-Sheva etc, seems to be lower on the scale. Of course, this is only my humble opinion… :)
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From:veryty
Date:March 16th, 2002 12:53 pm (UTC)

Which dep't. will give you the best experience?

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Ijon, with your particular combination of fields of interest, and knowing your own personal study patterns and goals -- which (U's) department/program will give you the opportunity to get what you want out of it (besides a degree)?

Which one, we might wonder, is closest to St. John's' approach?
(Is that a fair question?)

To another prospective undergrad I might ask, which will prepare you better for a future (i.e. doctorate/career) in academia?

Otherwise, someone special came to mind:
I think you might well consult with Professor (emeritus) Arnold Band of UCLA. Here's a profile of him from a UCLA CompLit faculty site:

Arnold Band [ E-Mail: band@humnet.ucla.edu ]

/// Professor Arnold J. Band earned his B.A. in Classics and his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Harvard University. He has also studied at the Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, and at the University of Paris. His research focuses on the relationship between texts and historical contexts in Jewish Literature of all periods, and specifically in modern Hebrew literature. He has published a lengthy study on the Hebrew author S.Y. Agnon entitled Nostalgia and Nightmare, an annotated volume of translations of the Hasidic Tales of Nahman of Braslav, and many articles on a variety of other topics, such as Kafka, Bialik, The Book of Jonah, Semantic Rhyme in Hebrew Prosody, modern Israeli fiction and poetry. Professor Band founded the UCLA Comparative Literature Program in 1969 and was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1981. He has received both a National Endowment of Humanities Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was the Director of UCLA's Jewish Studies Center from 1994 to 1996. ///

In Spring 1970, I was in his course, one of the few in Humanities/CompLit open to undergrads at the time (and I hadn't even graduated h.s. yet, so was especially fortunate to be there), "The Comic Spirit: the Comic Hero in Literature." We were told to read "Catch-22" before the first meeting. And on that day, there was Joseph Heller himself.

There's no likelihood whatsoever that Dr. Band would remember me (from a one-quarter course, more than half my lifetime ago!). But I'd be happy to approach him on your behalf -- though my intercession's hardly necessary, once you tell him about the Ben Yehuda Project. Or -- perhaps you two gentlemen have already met? If not, hey, it's about time...

best, :-Deb. (who'll be glad to have you here in IL some more :-)

[User Picture]
From:lukkke
Date:March 18th, 2002 11:58 am (UTC)

דבר נוסף

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נקודה נוספת שאתה צריך לשקול ברצינות הוא עניין המעבר לירושלים. אישית, אוכל להעיד שהמעבר לירושלים עשה לי רק טוב.
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