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 offers a unique format for fostering academic partnerships. We sponsor short, collaborative visiting fellowships that promote the values of inclusivity, diversity, 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.  

Upcoming Free Public Seminars:
All seminars are held at the Nazrin Shah Auditorium, Worcester College, OX1 2HB.
Each seminar is also followed by drinks for all attendees.

Tuesday February 21st 2023 -  Professor Yemima Ben Menahem, Philosophy of Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, will be delivering a public address entitled: 'Cleopatra's Nose: Histroical Contigency and Why it Matters.' 
Please see the invitation and blurb for this talk by clicking the link on the right-hand side of this page (on desktop) or at the bottom of this page (mobile).

Postponed until Hilary Term 2024 - Dr. Ayman Agbaria, Faculty of Education, University of Haifa, and Professor Motti Golani, Jewish History, Tel Aviv University will be delivering a joint presentation about their collaborative project, entitled: Facing the Roaring Lion of Tel Hai and the Remains of the Uprooted Village of Ma’alul: Arab and Jewish Education Leaders Discussing the Boundaries and Ethics of Commemoration.   

The Massada Fund supports:
(1) up to six visiting academic fellowships from Israel per annum
(2) up to three collaborative research trips per annum by Oxford Fellows to Israel 
      The ratio of (1) and (2) is decided annually by the Massada Committee.  
(3) The Annual Massada Lecture
(4) a Massada Junior Research Fellow (two-three year post)  
(5) a Massada Programme Director

(1) Visiting Fellowships  

- Academic Visiting Fellowships come about in three ways: (1) application by an Oxford fellow, (2) application by an Israeli academic, (3) invitation by the Massada Committee.
- Eligibility: scholars of all disciplines from any institution of higher education in The State of Israel whose research interests overlap with those of at least one Oxford fellow who has expressed an interest in collaborating and/or scholars from across the University of Oxford wishing to initiate or consolidate a collaboration with an Israeli scholar.
- Priority is given to Worcester fellows (but this is not an exclusive requirement).
- Applications (rolling deadline) should be submitted by email to the Programme Director and include:
     -- short bios of the candidate and collaborating partner -- 40-50 words each
     -- description of the collaboration project undertaken in Oxford/Israel (a paragraph) 
     -- talks/seminars/workshops planned in addition to the Massada Seminar
     -- possible dates for the fellowship
- Applications are initially assessed by the Director, who proposes applicants to the Massada Committee. Selections are then agreed upon by the Committee. 
- Scope: up to five new fellowships pa, and one returning fellowship. (Return applications are open to Massada fellows proving consolidation, extension or development of projects begun in Oxford during their first fellowship. Fellows are eligible for one return visit only)
- Costs: up to £3000 per fellowship, covering flights, accommodation, dining in College, Massada Seminar, drinks reception, and Dinner.
- Format: brief (up to 3 weeks) collaborative-visits that foster interchange without disrupting fellows’ teaching and family commitments
- Massada Seminars: each fellow is invited to deliver an address at Worcester College. This may be a general talk to the college and wider community or a more focused event targeting a specific subject in college.
            - Aims of general talks:
             a. to offer members of College, the University, and the public varied and stimulating talks.
             b. to introduce the visiting fellow and his/her research to as many people as possible, establishing connections that can then be followed up during                       the fellowship.
             c. Talks are also filmed and uploaded to the Massada webpage for future reference.

(2) Collaborative research trips by Oxford Fellows to Israel

- Eligibility: Worcester Fellows seeking to establish or continue any collaborations with any Israeli academic institution, or academics of all disciplines from     the University of Oxford wishing specifically to continue collaborating with a Massada Fellow (following that fellow’s visit to Oxford).
- Application procedure as for visiting fellowships by email to the Director
- Costs are to cover flights and (restricted) accommodation.

(3) The Annual Massada Lecture

- Aim: to promote a range of prominent speakers from Israel, showcasing cultural and scientific achievements, as well as non-academic public figures
- Candidates selected by the Massada Committee with input from college fellows as appropriate
- Costs: to cover flights, accommodation and dining at college.

(4) Junior Research Fellowship Programme

- one rolling 2/3 year JRF advertised via the Massada website and elsewhere (Applications for 2023-2025 are now closed.)
- considered by the Massada Committee in conjunction with a Selection Committee including two experts from the field of study selected for that JRF.
- Costs: JRF salary + housing allowance.


(5) Role of Massada Programme Director: 

- receives and assesses applications to be referred to the Committee
- initiates proposals for the programme
- facilitates collaborations in Oxford and in Israel
- convenes Massada Seminars and dinners
- coordinates administration of visitors, guest lectures, and JRF
- contributes to committee meetings (withdrawing when the Director’s roles or performance are being discussed).
- provides regular updates and an Annual Report on activities for the committee
- liaises with Fellows, collaborators, Massada Committee, and JRF Selection Committee
- undertakes advertising, promotion, and website updates


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

See Dr Rokotnitz's academic profile at


Role of the Massada Committee:

- meet termly to establish priorities and approve applications
- consider further potential invitees and endeavours
- review the website pages prepared by the Director, including details of lectures, seminars, publications, and other achievements
- assess the on-going performance of the Director against the objectives and agree outcomes of the programme
- approve an Annual Report of the Fund’s activities
- 2022-2023 Trustees Committee: The Provost, David Isaac CBE, Professor Tsilly Dagan and Dr Conrad Leyser 

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

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

Dr Aloni, Omer (M) Peres Academic Centre; Collaborating Fellows: Professor Patricia Calvin, History, Worcester and Dr Michael Drolet, History and Politics, Worcester. Seminar Title:  'The League of Nations, International Law, and the Current Ecological Crisis.' 

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

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

Professor Dekel, Avishai (M), Astrophysics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Collaborating Fellow: Dr Sugata Kaviraj, Astrophysics, Worcester. 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'.

Dr Falkov, Yaacov (M), History, Tel Aviv and Reichman Universities. Collaborating Fellow: Dr Roderick Bailey, History and Wellcome Centre for Ethics. Seminar Title: "’Jews as a Nation are Exterminated:’ Holocaust Through the Eyes of Soviet Intelligence, 1939-1945.”

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

Dr Gelbart, Amy (F), Education, Herzog College. Collaborating Fellow: Dr Gabriel Stylianides, Education, Worcester. 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'.

Professor Goodblatt, Chanita (F), Foreign Literatures and Linguistics, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Collaborating Fellow: Professor Peter McCullough, Lincoln College. Seminar Title: “‘The University is a Paradise: Rivers of Knowledge are There’: The life and Work of Evelyn Simpson” (editor of early modern English texts and first female Oxford D.Phil). 

Dr Igra, Alma (F) Polonsky Academy for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute; Collaborating Fellows: Professor Patricia Calvin, History, Worcester, and Dr Michael Drolet, History and Politics, Worcester. Seminar Title: ‘Can Food Make the World Go Round? Scientific Nutrition, Environmental Thinking and Empire.’ 

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

Professor Kister, Menahem (M), Bible and Talmud, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Collaborating Fellow: Professor Hindy Najman, Theology, Oriel. Seminar Title: “Knowledge of Good and Evil and Divine Precepts Embedded within the Human Soul according to Some Ancient Jewish and Christian Texts”.

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

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

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

Dr Rubinstein, Zohar (M), Medicine, Tel Aviv University. Collaborating Fellow: Professor John Parrington, Medicine, Worcester. 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."  

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

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