The highlight is the Massada Seminar, a public address by the Fellow at the Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre.

Israel and Ione Massada Fellowships Programme


Endowed by the late Ms. Sheila (Storm) Kelly, in memory of her parents, The Israel and Ione Massada Fellowships Programme, established at Worcester College in late 2016, is a unique format for fostering academic partnerships. We sponsor short, collaborative visiting fellowships that promote the values of inclusivity, diversity, tolerance, and cooperation, alongside academic rigour and innovation, by facilitating interchange among all disciplines, ethnicities and religions in the State of Israel and the University of Oxford.  

Next upcoming event:

Tuesday 16th November 2021 at 17:15, Michaelmas Term Massada Public Seminar: Dr Neta Bodner, The Open University in Israel: “Naked in the Water: Medieval Architecture in the Service of Jewish Purification Practices.” Sultan Nazrin Shah Auditorium, Worcester College, Tuesday 16th November. The presentation will be followed by discussion and drinks.


The Massada Programme supports six two-to-three-week long fellowships a year. The relative brevity of the fellowships allows the establishment of connections and opportunities without disrupting fellows’ teaching or family commitments.

The Programme supports the ventures undertaken by the fellow during their visit, provides access to the University libraries and facilities, and covers the costs of travel, accommodation, and dining.

In addition to their research activities, fellows participate in university seminars and events, and deliver at least two talks or workshops: one at the relevant department, and one as a public address at Worcester College, known as The Massada Seminar.

The Massada Programme thus annually benefits six Israeli academics, six academic-partners here in Oxford, and a host of students, colleagues, members of the university and of the general public.

All past collaborations and ensuing publications are listed below.


*Practising scholars from all disciplines who are affiliated with an institution of higher education in the State of Israel
*Scholars whose work would benefit specifically from being at Oxford
*Scholars whose research interest overlaps with that of at least one Oxford fellow who has expressed an interest in the visit
*Scholars who are likely to have a continuing collaboration with Oxford

Fellowships come about in three ways: (1) application by an Oxford fellow, (2) application by an Israeli academic, (3) invitation by the Director.

Applications Process (rolling deadline):

a. Applications by academics should be submitted by email to the Programme Director and include:

-- a short bio of the candidate and a potential collaborating partner -- 40-50 words each
-- details of the project for which the candidate wishes to come to Oxford (a paragraph) 
-- what is the nature of the collaboration project undertaken with scholars in Oxford? 
-- what talks/seminars/workshops does the candidate hope to deliver in addition to the Massada Seminar at Worcester College?  
-- possible dates for the fellowship (must be during Oxford term time). 

b. After consultation with the Director, a consolidated written proposal is submitted to the Massada Committee, currently comprising The Provost, David Isaac CBE, Professor Nir Vulkan and Professor Julian Roberts.

c. Invitations by the Director are extended once or twice a year, after approval by the Committee, to candidates of particular interest whose work is yet unknown in Oxford.

For further inquiries and for applications, please contact Dr. Naomi Rokotnitz, Director of the Programme, at

See Dr Rokotnitz's academic profile at

Forthcoming Fellowships:

1. 2021, Michaelmas -- Dr Neta Bodner (F), Medieval History, The Open University.  Seminar Title: “Naked in the Water: Medieval Architecture in the Service of Jewish Purification Practices.” Collaborating Fellow: Dr Conrad Leyser, History, Worcester.

2. 2022Hilary Term -- Dr Yaacov Falkov (M), History, Tel Aviv University and IDC Herzliya. Seminar Title: Spying the Evil: The Soviet Intelligence and Security Community Faces the Holocaust, 1939-91." Collaborating Fellow: Dr Roderick Bailey, Welcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, and The Clarendon Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

3. Also in Hilary Term -- Dr Gil Gambash (M), Center for Mediterranean History, Haifa University. Seminar Title: "The Rhythm of Cabotage: Innovation and Traditionalism in the Ancient Southern Levant." Collaborating Fellow: Professor Josephine Quinn, Classics, Worcester.

4. 2022, Trinity -- Professor Menahem Kister (M), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Biblical interpretation in Jewish texts from Antiquity – The Dead Sea scrolls. Postponed due to pandemic. Collaborating Fellow: Professor Hindy Najman, Theology, Oriel.

5. Also Trinity Term -- Professor Chanita Goodblatt (F), Foreign Literatures and Linguistics, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Seminar Title: "Writing and Editing a Life in Early Modern Scholarship: Evelyn Mary Spearing Simpson." Collaborating Fellow: Professor Peter McCullough, English, Lincoln.

6. Professor Tovi Bibring (F) – return visit, to examine and produce the first annotated edition of The Cairo Geniza fragments of codices containing maqāmat (MS. Heb. E. 49, Neubauer 2765) held in the Bodleian Library. Collaborating Fellow: Dr César Merchàn-Hamann, the Hebrew and Judaica Curator of the Bodleian Library and fellow-librarian of the Leopold Muller Memorial Library at the Clarendon Institute.

List of past Massada Fellows (Titles, Names, Genders, Affiliations, and Seminar Titles):  

1. Dr Yaacov Falkov (M), History, Tel Aviv University. Massada Seminar to take place during his return visit.   Collaborating Fellow: Professor Robert Gildea, History, Worcester

2. Professor Ronen Perry (M), Law,  Haifa University. Seminar title: 'Online anonymous speech: Technology, Law and Economics: problems and solutions arising from social networks'.  Collaborating Fellow: Professor Donal Nolan, Law, Worcester

3. Dr Amy Gelbart (F), Education,  Herzog College. Seminar title: 'How the fundamentals of improvisation and playback theatre can help you enhance creativity, cultivate listening skills and adopt a growth mindset that improves communication'. Collaborating Fellow: Dr Gabriel Stylianides, Education, Worcester.

4. Professor Avishai Dekel (M), Astrophysics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Seminar title: 'The Magic Scale of Galaxies: how the preferred mass and time for galaxy and black-hole formation originate from the physical processes of supernova feedback and gas heating in massive dark-matter haloes'. Collaborating Fellow: Dr Sugata Kaviraj, Astrophysics, Worcester.

5. Dr Tovi Bibring (F), French, Bar Ilan University. Seminar title: 'Exceptional Medieval Story-tellers: How Three Jewish Writers of Hebrew in Europe Challenged the Dominant Culture of their Times'.   Collaborating Fellow: Dr Laura Ashe, English, Worcester

6. Professor Shlomi Segal (M), PPE,  Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Seminar titles: Professor 'The Value of Equality: Positive or Negative?' Collaborating Fellow: Dr Zofia Stemplowska, Law, Worcester

7. Professor Statman (M), Philosophy and Political Theory. Haifa University. Seminar Title: 'Can Preferential Treatment Discriminate Against its Beneficiaries?' Collaborating Fellow: Dr Zofia Stemplowska, Law, Worcester.

8. Dr Irad Kimhi (M), philosopher.  Seminar title: 'The linguistic turn away from absolute idealism'; Collaborating Fellow: Dr Steven Methven, Philosophy, Worcester.

9. Professor Oren Gazal Ayal (M), Dean of Law, Haifa University.  Seminar title: 'Jews and Arabs in the Israeli courts: Exploring just treatment of ethnic minorities'. Collaborating Fellow: Professor Julian Roberts,  Law, Worcester.

10. Professor Irad Malkin (M), Archaeology and Ancient History. Tel Aviv University. Seminar title:  'Fairness, Equality, and the Founding of Four Hundred Ancient Greek Cities'. Collaborating Fellow: Professor Scott Scullion, Classics, Worcester.

11. Professor Renee Poznanaski (F), History. Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Seminar Title: 'Jewish? French? Transnational? Jews in the Resistance in WWII France'. Collaborating Fellow: Professor Robert Gildea, History, Worcester.

12. Dr Zohar Rubinstein (M), Medicine. Tel Aviv University. Seminar title: How urgent is the immediate, on-sight treatment of psychological casualties (or shock victims) in traumatic events? Testimony from the field.'  Also: a screening followed by Q&A with Dr Rubinstein of the award winning film "Streetscapes."  Collaborating Fellow: Professor John Parrington, Medicine, Worcester.

13 + 14. Dr Ayman Agbaria (M) and Professor Daniel Statman (M), Philosophy. Haifa University. Seminar title: '"From the Wells": A Jewish-Arab educational initiative: Theory and Practice'.  Collaborating Fellow: Chaplain Rev. Dr. Tess Kuin Lawton, Worcester.

Publications ensuing from the Massada Fellowships Programme:

1. Professor Avihsai Dekel and Dr Sugata Kaviraj. Article: Simmons et al. “Galaxy Zoo: quantitative visual morphological classifications for 48 000 galaxies from CANDELS.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 464, 4420. 2017

2. Professors Oren Gazal Ayal together with Oxford collaborator Professor Julian Roberts. Eds. and forward. Special issue of Law and Contemporary Problems 82 (2019): i-ix. ‘Alternatives to Imprisonment: Recent International Developments’ 2019

3. Dr Steven J. Methven (on Massada Fellow Dr Irad Kimchi) Review: “Thinking and being by Irad Kimhi. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018.”  European Journal of Philosophy 27.3 pp.809-813. 2019

4. Professor Renée Poznanski and Oxford Collaborator Professor Robert Gildea. Chapter: “Transnational Perspectives on Jews in the Resistance.” Robert Gildea and Ismee Tames (eds), Fighters across Frontiers. Transnational Resistance in Europe 1936-1948. Manchester University Press, pp. 109-131. 2020

5. Professor Daniel Statman and Dr Ayman Agbaria. Article: ‘From the Wells’: Teaching Openness in Judaism and Islam Towards a Shared Society in Israel.’ British Journal of Religious Education.  January 2021

6. Professor Irad Malkin. Article: “Oracles and Networks: Sharing Divine and Human knowledge.” In Transmission and Organization of Knowledge in the Ancient Mediterranean World. Phoibos Verlag Wien. Forthcoming 2021

7. Professor Tovi Bibring. Monograph with Legenda: Modern Humanities Research Association (University of Oxford, Humanities Division): The Patient, the Impostor and the Seducer: Medieval European Literature in Hebrew. Forthcoming 2021

8. Professor Tovi Bibring. Article: “Blood Matters, Matters of Blood – Fable 81 by Berechiah ha-Naqdan, Study and Critical Translation.” In “And Wisdom Shall Flow from the Wise”: Wisdom and Morals in Medieval Literature. Jerusalem: Misgav Yerushalayim. Forthcoming February 2022.

9. Professor Tovi Bibring. Article: “Absolving Eve: Medieval Women Writers Remodelling the Creation and the Fall.” In Gender, Creation Myths and their Reception in Western Civilisation: Prometheus, Pandora, Adam and Eve. Bloomsbury Press. Forthcoming February 2022.