The MSt in Jewish Studies Alumni

Our former students are spread throughout the world, and enjoying success in a variety of professional, academic and business fields. We always like to hear from our alumni, so whatever you are doing, do get in touch – like the contributors below.

Student Alumni News

Please note: If you would like to make contact with any of the former students mentioned, please e-mail the Centre on in the first instance and we will be glad to pass on your message. Likewise, if you would like to send in any news of your own, please e-mail us!

Oksana Fedorko (1998-99)

Right now (February 2003) I am busy preparing to move to the USA, where I hope to live permanently, so my life is probably going to change a lot. Since my year in Oxford, I have finished a Master's in Cultural Studies in Kiev, and last year I spent in The Netherlands studying at Leiden University for a Master's in Non-Western Studies. I was working there on Heikhalot literature, and studying Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic. I got married in 2001, and in a couple of months hope to join my husband who is now living in the States. Hopefully, after I recover from the culture shock, I will somehow combine studies and work!

Heather Field (1998-99)

I am responding to your call for an update. I'm living in Brooklyn, NY and working in Manhattan at the Covenant Foundation. The Covenant Foundation provides funding to innovative programs in North America in the field of Jewish education across all demoninations and in all educational settings. We also provide awards to exceptional Jewish educators in the US and Canada. During the school-year I taught a group of rambunctious first graders in a Jewish after-school program at the 92nd Street Y. Recently, an essay I wrote was published in Maydeleh: a zine for nice Jewish girls. It may also appear in an anthology of writings by "Jewish daughters of intermarriage." In the summer I attended the CAJE (Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education) conference in Colorado and travelled the west coast of the US during part of July and August. Things are going well!

(Kirsten) Hannah Holtschneider (1995-96)

Since completing the year at OCHJS I studied for a doctorate in Birmingham on the collective memory of the Holocaust in German Protestant theology, which was published last year. In June 2000 I began work at the Centre for Jewish-Christian Relations in Cambridge. I am teaching a module on Christian and Jewish Religious Responses to the Holocaust on the MA programme. My current research concerns the representation of the history of the Holocaust in Jewish and Christian texts.

Sevdalina Ilevska-Voynova (1999-2000)

I am working for the Bulgarian government, helping parliamentary political parties with their outreach. We have local elections on October 26th, and I am running a national Voter Education and Get-Out-The-Vote Campaign. This involves voter registration, combatting vote buying, securing access for the disabled, monitoring election day activities and so on. It keeps me pretty busy; and I am popular because I also administer funds. I have some international assignments in the former Soviet republics and the Balkan countries, predominantly Georgia and Kosovo, where I am the leading consultant for their local NGO election activities. My husband also travels extensively, but mainly to Western Europe. Since last year he has been teaching computer system administration at the University of Sofia. We have 2 girls now: you might remember Yana, she turned 5 in August, and we have a baby girl Boyana, who just turned one. As you see, we are not very imaginative in terms of names! Yana wants to be a ballet dancer, so she goes to ballet classes. The baby is cute and has just learned to say mama. We are still in touch with some friends from Yarnton. This summer both Robyn from Australia and Elizabeth from Germany visited us in Bulgaria. It was so nice to see them, we had a wonderful time together. 

Deborah Jacobs (2007-2008)

Having successfully completed the MSt in Jewish Studies I went back to Berlin,Germany where I was granted a scholarship for my doctorate in Theology by the Humboldt University. Under the supervision of the New Testament scholar Cilliers Breytenbach, my dissertation is devoted to images of space in the III Sibylline Oracle. My thesis is incorporated into a project called TOPOI ( which is part of the so-called 'excellence initiative' which aims to promote top level research and improve the quality of German universities and is funded by the German Research Foundation (

Mikhail Kizilov (1997-98)

Since graduating from OCHJS, I have spent several years in full-time and part-time research in Poland, the Crimea, Israel, Russia and Germany. In 2004 I returned to Oxford where I enrolled for a DPhil in the faculty of Modern History, and graduated in November 2007. My main area of research remains more or less the same, in the history of Crimean Jewry (Khazars, Krimchakim and Karaites) and different aspects of the history of the Karaite Jews in Eastern Europe. Between 1998 and 2007 I published a monograph and about fifty articles in English, Russian, German and Hebrew. 

Aleksandra Kleczar (2000-01)

Since my time at the Centre I have nearly finished my PhD dissertation; I will probably be defending it this winter. I have also obtained a teaching position at Nowodworski High School in Krakow, as a teacher of classical Greek, and a position of Greek teacher at the Jagellonian University in Krakow. Currently I am also teaching English.

Jacqui Knowles (1996-97)

I completed the Diploma in 1997 and returned to the US, but last year succeeded in emigrating to Canada. I am now a writer and proofreader in Toronto and would love to hear from other Oxford folks, especially those who were there in 1996-97. Cheers to all!

Amanda Langley (1998-99)

I am currently finishing a Masters in International Relations at Sydney University, one semester left, but actually deferred this current semester, to travel and further my French language studies. Right now I am in Villefranche-Sur-Mer, near Nice, in an intensive language school. The classes are hard but the view and the sun are worth it! I have just spent four weeks in Africa with my family, which was incredible, and the main reason for the timing of this trip, but in the 4 months I've been away I have also managed to visit 3 past students of Yarnton. Kim Ashton and Maya Minkin (just recently engaged), who are both near Boston, and Linda Stucbartova, (married in July) who is back in Prague. After my four weeks here I will spend another four weeks away, mostly in Paris and Amsterdam. Am having a wonderful time, obviously.

Pawel Maciejko (1997-98)

In 1998-99 I was a lecturer in Philosophy and History of Religion at the University of Warsaw. Then in 1999-2000 I held a Lady Davis Visiting Research Fellowship at the Deptartment of Jewish Thought, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where I was also Research Fellow at Franz Rosenzweig Research Centre for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History. Since 2000 I have been Rawnsley Scholar, St Hugh's College, Oxford, and have been working on the intellectual history of the Frankist Movement in Poland, Bohemia, Moravia and Germany. 

John Young (2000-01)

I am entering the third year of my PhD programme in mediaeval studies at the University of Notre Dame and will take comprehensive exams next spring. My dissertation will deal with Jewish-Christian relations in the Rhineland c.1050-1250. On a more exciting note, Alicia recently gave birth to our third child, Charity, who, in the few days she has been alive, has already won our hearts.