“Bringing Tanach and Jewish History to Life, in the Classroom and in the Museum”
Torah Intermedia LLC is about fostering a deeper connection to Torah through media, archaeology, museums, art and more.
Nachliel haCohen Selavan
Director, Torah InterMedia LLC
Special Tisha b’Av Tour (7.22) @ the Israel Museum
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Prepare the tour for your family and friends, and lead it yourself!
Some of the tours that have been done, so far (or are coming soon):
- Age of Empires @ The Met
- Hellenism, Chanukah and the Jews @ The Met
- Pre-Pesach Ancient Egypt @ The Met
- The Four Kingdoms @ The Met
- Roaming the Roman Period @ The Met (2019)
- Tanach / Jewish History Highlights – @ The Met, Boston MFA, Carlos Museum (Atlanta), Penn Museum (Philly), Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto), Walters Art Museum (Baltimore), Museum of the Bible (Washington DC)
- Avoda Zara @ The Met
The Bibi’s at The Met
….although the goal of Met is to present art and not teach history, history is there for us especially with the right guide. We were lucky to have with us Nachliel Selavan…our tour was focused on the four kings, we took many tangents beginning with tracing Abraham’s journey from Ur Kasdim to Haran and down into Canaan to Egypt and back. We traced the steps of the fleeing prophet Jonah from Israel to Tarshish and back across the fertile crescent to Ninveh. We stood in the corridor of an Assyrian throne room experiencing what the Jewish kings must have felt during the time of Sennacherib. And then we began our journey in the world of Nebuchadnezzar who insisted that his name be everywhere trying to imagine his world and our people in their first exile…We moved from Babylon to Shushan, seeing a palace larger than we ever imagined and understanding how a party could go on for six months…We traveled to Macedonia with King Philip II and then saw how Alexander the Great conquered and changed the world…We saw the beauty of Yefet. We saw that which influenced us and undoubtedly influenced our ancestors leading to a civil was which culminated in Hanukah…We met with Nero, Vespasian and Titus discussing the Talmud’s stories of them. We heard how the Torah was saved by Rabbi Yochana Zakai and how the oral Torah was saved through Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and Antoninus his friend and Caesar and we discussed who the Antoninus of the Talmud may have really been. It was truly a journey through the four kingdoms and one I will continue to explore…
Rabbi David Bibi
Senior Rabbi Benai Asher of Long Beach
Resident Scholar Edmond J. Safra Synagogue Manhattan
Highlights from Sunday’s Age of Empires Met Tour
Take it from Zach – a returning customer who has been on three different tours – so far:
On Thursday morning, May 31, Rabbi Dr. Yonatan Grossman (Bar Ilan University) and Rabbi Itamar Eldar (Head of Bet Midrash in Amit – the Hesder Yeshivah in Raanana), joined me for a private Four Kingdoms Tour at the Met.
Rabbi Eldar gave his review, and Rabbi Grossman insisted he would say the same thing, so no need to repeat. Hebrew with English subtitles.
Sunday, May 27
Highlights from Sunday, May 13
National Bible Contest – Special Tour
After three tours, 40 something participants from New York, Florida, California, South Carolina and Chicago – I almost forgot it was Friday! Participants explored the exhibits in the Met’s Ancient Near East, seeing connections and bringing verses to life. Can’t wait until Sunday’s National Bible Contest – where I will be running a few programs for participants and parents.
I brought a group of middle school students who had spend the last year studying for the Chidon HaTanach to New York for the national finals…I had presumed that a tour built for middle school students would not be interesting for adults. Nachliel however was able to build an amazing tour that both provided for students and adults on differing levels at the same time. He provided different source packets for different levels and was truly well prepared for the situation.
My students at first were not keen on the idea of a tour and really just wanted to hang out in NYC. Nachliel was able to engage them so well that they enjoyed the tour and learned so much from the experience that it built vast discussion over Shabbat over what we had seen and its relevance to Tanach.
I highly recommend taking a tour with Nachliel and look forward to my next opportunity to do so.
Rabbi James Williams
In the news!
Such an amazing turn out on the tour, with such interesting back stories to each. The short story is that my friend Alana invited me to a community lunch at Prospect Heights Shul, where I met Debra Nussbaum Cohen, a reporter for Ha’aretz and the JTA. I invited her on the tour, and then this happened! The article is great and I am so happy and thankful to Alana and Debra for making it possible. The article has been featured as well on Virtual Jerusalem, Forward and the Jerusalem Post.|
An amazing tour by Nachliel. Using his intellect, humor and vision he was able to bring the story of Pesach back to life. New insights to our slavery and journey to freedom were presented beautifully.
Thank you! I highly recommend and looking forward to future tours
Special Purim class in Kehillat Montessori, MD
Dear Nachliel Selavan:
It was such a treat to welcome you into the classroom last week and share some spectacular unearthed treasures.
You were so accommodating and creative, and we could not be more grateful.
It was truly remarkable to watch the students sit wide-eyed, trying to comprehend the history behind each magnificent ancient treasure to displayed.
Placing a concrete item on the Jewish history timeline brings the Tanach to life and, as we Montessorians love, does so in such a concrete manner.
We were so fortunate to have you share the insight and treasures with us and the feedback from the parents has been tremendous.
The fact that the time spent with these students will remain with them for a lifetime, makes me confident that these artifacts and the history they reveal will continue to be cherished for generations to come.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Please continue to do what you do, which is to bridge our rich and extensive past with the future survival of the Jewish people and our ancient land.
Liza Porat – Executive Director
Kemp Mill Montessori Elementary School (KMMS)
Highlights from Israel
Motzei Shabbat, February 3rd: Fundraiser tour and wine tasting in support of the lovely boys Benny and Josh Rosenblum – #SaveBennyandJosh. This is a very important cause and you can learn about it and contribute here on GoFundMe.
Sunday, Feb 3rd: Age of Empires Family Tour (in Hebrew!) for the Kidron (& Felbert) family bunch
Previous Tours and School Programs
The faculty of the Ramaz Upper School Bible Department really enjoyed our 3 hour session with Nachliel. We started in the classroom with an overview of reading materials and maps associated with the era and then accompanied Nachliel to view various artifacts from the Assyrian and Babylonian periods. He tailored the tour to specific areas of our Bible Curriculum as per our request and was interesting and entertaining throughout! I highly recommend the tour for both educators and non-educators alike, especially if you are interested in the context, both historically and philosophically, behind specific biblical texts.
Dean of Faculty, Tanakh Department Chair, The Ramaz Upper School
…Throughout the tour, my students made connections to many other units they covered in all of their studies, and delighted in that they were able to integrate their knowledge. After the tour, the students thanked me heavily and unanimously agreed that they felt they connected more with the story of Hanukkah after having done the tour. Nachliel, they agreed, was knowledgeable, passionate and brought this piece of history to life. Like one student said- “I never knew that these galleries in the museum had anything to do with the Jewish people-but now I see that we really were there”. The tour gave my students a feeling of relevance and belonging to the ancient world, and they walked out feeling uplifted and happy with their newfound understanding of this time period. I am very grateful that these tours exist and look forward to doing more in the future, in relation to Hanukkah and other periods in Jewish History. [for the full review, click here]
Barkai Yeshivah, Brooklyn
Professor Ian McGonnigle
This was an amazing experience! Our family really felt like our history was before our eyes and from now on Hanukkah will be much more meaningful and inspiring. Nachliel’s knowledge of the museum artifacts combined with his personal experience and his knowledge and warm fun personality make him a great choice for a fantastic tour experience! I suggest you read the materials beforehand if possible and read up on the subjects he will be touring about as It will enrich the experience that much more.
Nachliel is a talented tour guide; his engaging presentation style and his deep knowledge enabled us to learn so much when we toured the MET with him. If you’re looking to learn a lot and let the history come alive — I definitely recommend Nachliel!
Recent Highlights and Reviews from the Chanukah-Greek Tours @ The Met
Fun fact: I was recently watching a#MetKids video (click here to see it), with the museum guard David, who has been working there for 35 years. And then I met him today – so we asked him to join us in the picture with Alexander the Great. If you see him at the Met, say hello!
Success! First Boston MFA Tanach Highlights Tour
I want to recommend Mr. Nachliel Selavan who has developed an entertaining and informative program giving meaning to artifacts from the Ancient Near East in various museums in the North America. I have taken his guided tour at the Boston Museum for the Fine Arts and enjoyed every minute of it. He has the knowledge to place these artifacts within the scope of the Bible and Jewish tradition. This tour is particularly beneficial for Jewish groups, synagogues and day school students of all ages and background. Nachliel’s delivery is superb and his excitement for his subject is contagious. I am happy to recommend him to you.
Professor Aaron Demsky (retired)
History of Ancient Israel
Director, Project for the Study of Jewish Names
Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, Bar Ilan University
Barkai Parent Enrichment Tour at the Met! (Nov. 1, 2017)
My journey here in the US began at Barkai Yeshivah, almost five years ago. It gave be tremendous gratitude and pride to be able to give back, and to share my Tanach (for Barkai people: Tanakh) tour with people who are connected to where it all began.
Tanach at the Boston MFA!
On Sunday, November 19 at 10AM-12PM we will be touring the Boston MFA and exploring its galleries from a Tanach perspective.
To learn more about TOARCH, click on the video below.
It has been a long summer, with nearly 20 Tanach and Jewish History tours running at the Met. The summer Public Tanach Tour series is now complete, and we are gearing up for the year.
Follow Torah Intermedia to learn about upcoming tours, lectures and programs, as well as articles and reviews.
Highlights from Summer Tours:
Thank you so much for an amazing tour of the MET with my children! You were so engaging with my children and managed to still fill the rest of the tour for us adults with lots of meaningful content! I will recommend you to anyone looking for a great tour guide of the MET and specifically a Jewish tour. You were great!!!
“Our extended family, ranging in age from 7 to 65, enjoyed a wonderful tour of the Met with Nachliel. He planned scavenger hunts, decryption games, and more to keep the younger crowd interested while engaging the adults with his vast knowledge. The tour brought the museum to life. I highly recommend it!”
Thank you Nachliel providing us all a great understanding of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires and their connection to Tanach!
We so enjoyed having Nachliel as our guide at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our group had been studying rabbinic materials about idolatry and Nachliel helped bring those issues to life through the Met’s collections. His comfort both with the ancient and classic sculpture we looked at as well as his fluency in Bible and rabbinic literature were terrific!
“Fascinating…Truly eye opening into the world we only hear about. The connection of Ancient Artifacts and the Tanach is explained and put into perspective, especially in this troubled time. This tour only reinforces our Historical connection to the Holy Land of Israel”
Jeff and Chery Klein from Monsey, NY. Participated July 23
This your is a great way to be introduced to the history of the Ancient Near East! It’s very comprehensive and spans a pretty good range of time. I also loved that it was grounded (corroborated) by passages of Tanakh. I loved seeing the intersection between the written record of history and Torah! Personally, I would have loved to spend more time on the text itself, but it’s hard to do it all in under two hours. I recommend this for anyone who’s interested in the A.N.E.!
Malka Rappaport from Crown Heights, NY. Participated Wednesday, July 12
Powerful presentation of the era of kings – Regional Kingdoms and Empires…the separation of Israel and Judea and eventual destruction of Jerusalem and the beginning of the Babylonian diaspora. Nachliel is a passionate guide and very informed and well traveled in order to present his material.
Notes were very well researched and presented. This tour was made even more powerful during the period of the three weeks between Tammuz and Tisha b’Av.
Aliyana Wasserman, Rosanne Koenigson from Edison, NJ. Participated Sunday, July 16
In the Assyrian gallery waiting room of Ashurnasirpal II, we met a large group of teenage girls holding up a strange flag. This flag had the picture of the god Aššur, patron god of the city of Aššur and of the Assyrian Empire.
The girls told us that they are “Assyrian” (=northern Iraq), and the flag is the flag of Assyria, including the two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. We could not resist taking a picture with the flag!
Nachliel does an incredible job bringing black and white text with all of the intricate details to form a clear picture of Jewish history. For all the names, cities, and time periods that are mentioned throughout Tanach, Nachliel organizes them in a clear way that allows any tour-goer to follow along and really understand a snapshot of the historical time period being discussed. I learned a lot from my visit to the MET with Nachliel and now have a new outlook on historical passages found in Tanach. Additionally, I was a big fan of Nachliel’s knowledge, Hebrew-English translations, humor, wit, and incredible fashion sense.
The tour at the MET with Nachliel is most definitely recommendable. It was specifically rewarding to go on a historical tour with my own rich Jewish history coloring the backdrop. Nachliel was a superb tour guide who was obviously passionate and extremely well versed in his material. He gave historical context and depth to the Navi by discussing the politics of the time period and how that related to the kings and prophets written about in the Navi. It was especially remarkable when he pointed out an idol that the Navi refers to as the Baal as well as Avodah Zara dated to the time of Avraham Avinu. Thank you Nachliel for a great tour!
I’ve lived in New York City my entire life and have been through the Metropolitan Museum of Art Assyrian, Babylonian and Egyptian wings many times. Nachliel made me feel like I was touring these wings for the first time. Nachliel’s energy, knowledge and love for his subject enabled me to see all the artifacts from an entirely new and welcome perspective. For me, the climax was at the end when Nachliel showed an piece of ash that was excavated from under his house, dating from the destruction of the Second Temple.
Nachliel is exceptionally knowledgeable and passionate about his twin loves – Torah and Archeology. He showed us the importance of contextualizing Melachim Bet and Yirmiyahu in its Ancient Near Eastern setting. He really knows his subject matter backwards and forwards. His drive for the material made it interesting and engaging to hear him speak. Additionally, he was quite prepared with source sheet and kids scavenger hunt worksheets…We moved at a rapid-fire pace…