Our team

Philip Carmel
Chief Executive Officer
Phil has been Chief Executive Officer of the ESJF since its foundation in 2015. Born in the UK, Phil has lived in Israel, France and Belgium and was International Relations Director of the Conference of European Rabbis based in Brussels, where he set up and was Executive Director of the Lo Tishkach Foundation, a database of Europe’s Jewish cemeteries. He was subsequently Senior Advisor on European Affairs for the European Jewish Congress and a co-chair of the Global Forum on Antisemitism. He lives in Birmingham.
Oleksandr Bessarab
Office Director
Oleksandr trained as a construction engineer at Kyiv University of Construction and Architecture. Before joining ESJF, he worked in projects related to construction and civil engineering in Ukraine, Sweden and Dubai, and he managed large engineering projects. As an expert in drone technology and its application, today he is responsible for training and accompanying ESJF’s survey teams in the field, and works as a project manager overseeing the technical aspects of the project and data processing.
Klara Vlahčević Lisinski
Project Manager EC Grant
Klara is originally from Croatia, and she obtained her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Multimedia in Zagreb and Paris. Her master's, EU and International Relations, Klara did at CIFE - Centre International de Formation Européenne, in Nice, Berlin and Rome, and she is currently doing her second master's on Conflict, Peace and Security. She was awarded the Hubert H. Humphrey Fulbright exchange fellowship program. For more than a decade she has worked as a journalist, editor, project manager and social entrepreneur. She is an active social activist privately and in her work, and at ESJF she will be managing all aspects of the project.
Sophie Pownall
Assistant Project Manager
Sophie Pownall provides project management support for our EU grant, whilst also acting as a Public Sector Liaison Ambassador, responsible for cooperating with core stakeholders as well as the organisation of educational events and Regional Cemetery Associations. She completed her Master’s degree in Contemporary European studies at the University of Bath. Her academic interests include feminism, democracy, social movements, memory politics and culture and EU foreign policy. She earned her undergraduate degree in French, German and European studies at the University of Bath. She works also as Head of Programmes at the think-tank EuropaNova Germany and organises their flagship event, the Young Security Conference. She enjoys reading, speaking foreign languages and doing Ballroom and Latin dancing.
Raz Eliane Pesachovitch
Media and Communication Officer
Raz is originally from Israel. She worked for the Jewish Agency for Israel for two years in south Germany as an Emissary and has a goal of connecting young jewish people to their heritage, religion and to Israel. As a Media and Communication Officer she is in charge of our social media, content editing, and curating the posts that push our cause further. She enjoys traveling, learning new languages, trying new food, and is passionate about dogs.
Oleksandra Fishel
Educational Projects Officer
Oleksandra Fishel is a specialist in the study of Jewish cemeteries and headstone inscriptions on the ground. She studied at the Institute of Asian and African Studies of Moscow State University (Department of Hebrew Studies) and held an internship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Currently Oleksandra is about to complete a PhD in the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences. She also lectures on Jewish epigraphics at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. At the ESJF, Oleksandra is responsible for educational programs.
Olena Kolb
Public Sector Liaison Ambassador
Olena Kolb is a journalist, tour guide and researcher of Jewish history in Eastern Europe and the co-author of the manuals for tour guides with a special focus on the Jewish life on the frontier before World War II. She is a member and organizer of more than 100 expeditions to study Jewish cemeteries. She graduated from the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. In the ESJF, Olena Kolb is responsible for communication with local authorities of fence sites as well as the organization of educational activities for representatives of local authorities, tourism, culture, education departments, teachers, librarians, museum representatives, and local historians. She also organises educational meetings with school pupils. She is based between Lviv and Kyiv.
Kateryna Malakhova
Historical Researcher
Katya holds a PhD in philosophy from the Kyiv Mohyla Academy. She was previously a member of the National Academy of Sciences in Ukraine. A specialist in 18th-century Jewish history, hasidism, and Haskalah, she is the lead historian at ESJF.
Kate Kliuchnyk
Survey and Mapping Officer
At ESJF, she was responsible for the production of photo and video materials, as well as for the development of catalogs, presentations, and the administration and design of the website. Now she is currently coordinating research teams.
Ian Galeevskii
Senior Surveyor
Ian has a background in tourism development. He gained practical experience in Turkey and Thailand in various hotels and developing sightseeing services. Before joining ESJF, he worked in Thailand as a hotel guide, catering to tourist groups from across Asia and Europe. He is based between Uzhgorod and Kiev.
Our team