As Jewish educators in the 21st century we are competing for students’ attention. We’re competing with smartphones and iPads, Netflix, Fortnight and other visual stimuli which intrigue our students far more than text or an old book, no matter how passionate we are about it.
Education has come a long way in the last few decades, realizing that the material needs to be engaging, student-driven and meaningful, that is, relevant to our lives. Technological platforms, OBL, PBL and other methods have been successful in this regard.
The Jewish world may struggle to keep up, partially because of the content of Jewish studies and partially because of our values, which may seem foreign to the Western mind. Thankfully there are several successful educational platforms which enable students and teachers to engage in meaningful Jewish learning, and these will continue to develop and succeed.
Having experimented with some of these approaches and engaged with thousands of students on two continents, I’ve developed an approach which weaves archaeology, history and geography into experiential Jewish learning, in a meaningful way. When I say meaningful, I am addressing the question which my teacher trainer in my undergraduate school told us every teacher has to imagine being asked by a student, when preparing a lesson: “But what does this have to do with me?”
My conviction is that Torah’s inherent values are relevant and can speak to us in the 21st century, if we allow them to. Often, the obstacle to such communication is lack of context.
As a grad student of Jewish History, I often engage in the question of the context in which things were said, written, found, etc. Adding something tangible, whether an artifact, artwork or a map, increases student interest and engagement tenfold, while bridging the gap between the millenia through metaphor, pop-culture references and learning activities.
We offer various workshops and tours to enhance students engagement in their Judaism. From tours and lectures for students to teacher training in the classroom and in the museum. These programs touch on Tanach, Jewish History and several important topics such as the Jewish Year and Holidays.
You can find prices, reviews and pictures below:
School Tours at the Met**
To book a workshop or tour for your school or organization, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 tour per school year: $500 / (for schools outside of NYC / paying admission $400)
2 tours per school year: $750
5 tours per school year: $1,500
** NYC K-12 students receive free admission at the MET, when signed up through their school. This includes 1 complimentary ticket for every adult chaperon (or teacher) per 10 students.
School Student Workshops:
Standalone workshop: $225
When coupled with a museum tour/s: $180
Teacher Enrichment Seminars in the Met:
A teacher enrichment seminar in the met includes 5-6 items. Until the proper page is up, contact me for a description and a recommendation of what is best for your school.
Full day: $1,250 + Admission Half Day: $750 + Admission
Some institutions we’ve worked with
- Lauder Etz Chaim, Moscow
- Yeshivah of Flatbush High School, Brooklyn
- AISH haTorah New York Executives
- UJA Federation of NY, Shapiro Family Fellowship
- Kollel Tora mi Tzion, Moscow
- Naaleh High School for Girls, Ridgewood, NJ
- Prospect Park Bnos Leah High School, Brooklyn
- Beis Yaakov Machon Ora, Passaic NJ
- Barkai Yeshivah, Brooklyn
- iMishpacha, COJECO, NY
- The JEC, Elizabeth NJ
- Ramaz Upper School, Manhattan
- Magen David Yeshivah, Brooklyn
- Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, NJ
- Tanach National Contest 2018-19, NY
- YBH Passaic, NJ
- Kehillat Montessori, Silver Spring, MD
- Manhattan Jewish Experience
- Hadar Institute (formerly Mechon Hadar)
- Mesorah NJ
- Rutgers Hillel
- RJX – Rutgers Jewish Experience
- Congregation Beth Jacob, Atlanta GA
- Congregation Gesher Shalom, NJ
- Boston TOARCH ’17, Foundation Stone
- YEHUDI, Florida International University
- Vacation Village Day Camp
For kids participating in the Chidon Ha’Tanach who had spent their entire year immersed in dozens of chapters of Tanach, the Tanach Tour conducted by Nachliel was the perfect experience. He brought the texts that they had learned to life in an entirely new way. Students loved the energy and excitement he brought to the tour. We’re excited to continue to partner with his Tanach Tours in the future!”Dovi Nadel
Coordinator, National Bible Contest
THE JEWISH AGENCY FOR ISRAEL
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
Young Israel of Hollywood & Fort Lauderdale
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.Miriam Krupka
Dean of Faculty, Tanakh Department Chair
The Ramaz Upper School
Nachliel ran a professional development workshop for the Judaic faculty of the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School. Throughout his presentation, his erudition and passion for the subject was clear. He shared knowledge and resources with us. He covered a great deal of material on a high level in just a few hours, which was exciting and stimulating for most, but harder to follow for those who had less background in the specific content. Overall, it was a valuable and enriching experience for our faculty, though it may have been even more beneficial with a clearer linear movement through the perakim.Norma Mintz
Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy
Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School
Rav Nachliel led my ninth grade Jewish History students on an eye – opening tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Assyrian, Egyptian, and Babylonian wings. It was important to me that my students gain the requisite background knowledge to more deeply understand the Second Temple Period.
Before the museum trip, Rav Nachliel visited my classes to introduce artifacts which the students would be viewing in the museum. He also prepared excellent resource material including maps and accompanying text. The following week my two classes met Rav Nachliel at the Met. The students were excited to view the artifacts which Rav Nachliel had carefully selected. His descriptions engaged them and evoked curiosity.
A majority of the students had never been to a museum, and they expressed how much they loved and appreciated the experience as well as their desire to return. I noticed that the students approached the next part of their study enthusiastically as they researched and created Second Temple Period artifacts based on what they had learned at the Met.
Rav Nachliel was professional and thorough and provided an enriching and worthwhile learning experience. I highly recommend a museum tour guided by Rav Nachliel.Mrs. Frieda Cattan
Jewish History Teacher
Magen David Yeshivah Celia Esses High School
Keeping up with the expectations in my progressive, child-centered school for the last 6 years has proven difficult for the Judaic Studies department. As a mishna/halakha teacher, keeping up with the trips and projects executed by history and science teachers required creativity, but also heavily relied on me. After discovering Nachliel Selavan’s Met Tours through peer recommendations and social media, I knew I had to try it. A huge part of our school’s mission is to integrate curricula- to bring together secular and Torah studies into one seamless, comprehensive worldview.
I felt that the best unit to experiment with Nachliel’s program was in our Hanukkah unit. As a halakha teacher, I am responsible for teaching Hagim, but not just the practical laws- the ideology, historical context, and cultural relevance are always part and parcel of the legal structure. Having worked with Nachliel in school before, followed him on social media and began learning with him as my teacher earlier this winter, I was confident with Nachliel’s knowledge of history, art, and culture and was sure in his ability to bring all of these pieces together through the eyes of a Torah Jew.
After finding a sponsor, I pioneered Nachliel’s program for my school. We scheduled two guest lectures given by Nachliel in class, in which he orally–very excitedly, I may add- gave middle school students a colorful, exciting and detailed historical background of Hellenistic Palestine, from Philip of Macedonia to Antiochus IV Epiphanes. He told tales of Alexander the Great and led us through the dividing wars of the Ptolemies and Seleucids. In our second class, Nachliel brought in a large map of Israel, familiarizing us with some of the cities relevant to the Maccabee, focusing of the details of of two of the battles, highlighting Judah the Maccabee’s exemplary war strategy and military prowess. This class gave the students a clearer perspective on the war of Hanukkah and rooted it in reality.
With the stories and history gained from the guest classes, we headed off to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nachliel met us right at the entrance, and after hanging up our coats, each student was handed their own clipboard with some activity sheets and a pencil. As Nachliel walked us through the Greek Gallery (with a pit stop at the Egyptian gallery), he showed us pieces that represented values in Hellenism, like vases with images of mythological creatures, gold jewelry, coins of military leaders, and remnants from the Olympic games. The students frequently referenced their activity sheets where they matched images of Greek gods with icons, read quotes of Alexander the great, and saw the connection between Bnei Yisrael and their sister culture, Hellenism. Through our walk in the gallery, it became apparent how prevalent Hellenism ws throughout the known world, which explained the historical context of the Hanukkah story. We discussed the similarities and differences in judaism and hellenism, giving the students a wider perspective and deeper understanding of the underlying issues of Hanukkah.
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.Doris Dweck-Cohen
Judaic Studies Teacher, Barkai Yeshivah, Brooklyn