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 in and excitement he brought to the tour. We’re excited to continue to partner with his Tanach Tours in the future!”
Coordinator, National Bible Contest
THE JEWISH AGENCY FOR ISRAEL
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.
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
We had the privilege to join Nachliel’s exciting guided tour at the Metropolitan Museum, which dealt with Ancient Egypt in advance of Pesach. Nachliel connected between the archaeological artifact and the Exodus story in a professional and exciting way, while displaying impressive scientific, historic and archaeological background knowledge, and fluency in Tanach and Talmudic literature. Nachliel did it with a unique sweetness, engaging the crowd and adapting the content to the various age groups. The tour for us was a wonderful and innovative preparation, and thought-provoking; in advance of the Passover holiday.
Rabbi Baruch Gigi and Rabbi Amnon Bazak
Yeshivat Har Etzion
….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
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
Nachliel knows his stuff…he can create a unique blend of the ancient and the modern, as he tickles your imagination at the Met. A deep, impressive dive into Jewish History. Dive in!
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!
Thank you so much for an incredible tour of Ancient Greece at the Met! The tour aligned perfectly with our 9th grade unit on Greek Mythology and Greek Tragedy, and deepened our students’ learning on the subject. Mr. Selavan was extremely knowledgable, interactive, and molded the tour based specifically on the needs of the students. We will definitely be organizing another tour next year!
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
Nachliel Selavan’s presentation on certain aspects of Jerusalem’s history was fascinating and highly informative. We were all enthralled by his material.
The talk was given with enthusiasm, clarity, by an obvious master of the subject. He was able to demonstrate the connection between archeological finds and Biblical verses, such that it felt as if we were discussing current events. The discussion left me craving to learn more about the Prophets and their history.
Nachaliel gave a great presentation at Congregation Etz Ahaim over Shabbat without any slide shows. His fluency, enthusiasm and obvious expertise on the subject synchronized the biblical account with the archaeological artifacts and brought the past alive with very important moral messages for us in the present. Highly recommended.
We had Nachaliel come to our campus and teach two groups of 30 + Rutgers students, most with limited Jewish background. The presentation was very well received and got great reviews from our students.Nachaliel really brought Tanach to life and made the students feel a powerful connection to Yerushalayim.I recommend that you bring Nachaliel down to your shul, school or campus and have him inspire your students.
I liked seeing the visual of all of the holidays spread out in order. I had never heard of some of them so I was interested to learn more about their significance. And of course Lion King is never a bad thing!
It was a relaxed environment which I enjoyed, and I thought he taught well. A little awkward sometimes with all of the papers and things, but they were a useful prop too.
I have been running Jewish outreach programs in Miami for over a decade. Nachliel Selavan gave our students a passionate, articulate, and content packed presentation. His ability to bring the ancient world of the Jewish people to life is truly impressive. His classes were very effective at engaging our students, and giving them a thirst for more Jewish learning. Of the many Jewish educators I have met, I found Mr. Selavan’s material uniquely content rich and yet simultaneously accessible.
To Whom I May Concern,As the Chairperson of the Cultural Committee of Vacation Village, I had the pleasure of inviting Nachliel Selavan to be the featured speaker on a Shabbat afternoon during the summer of 2015 before a large and diversified crowd. He spoke about the connection between Tanach and the Geography of the land, a subject that he knows well. He described the topic in both an educated and interesting manner allowing his audience to gain much insight from the Biblical text as our guide. Because of his topic there were more young people than usual who followed closely both his narrative and the varied visual materials employed during the talk. Mr. Selavan’s presentation was engaging and entertaining, involving a large span of ages for a memorable experience.It was a rather novel experience to see issues in Tanach, and about Israel and Geography brought to life under Nachliel’s well-prepared, unique and capable instruction.Sincerely,
I am writing with regard to Nachliel Selavan, whom I had the distinct pleasure of working with in the summer of 2015. During said summer, I was the director of Vacation Village Day Camp, in the Catskill Mountains, and Nachliel was the Chinuch Director. I could not have been more pleased with his performance. Nachliel’s duties included planning and curriculum building.
This was no easy task, he had to address the needs of children of various ages and from varied Jewish educational backgrounds. Additionally, Nachliel had to compete with sports, drama, and the like, for the children’s interest. His creativity, organization, and preparation yielded unbelievable success. Campers truly enjoyed the project-based learning and went home talking about what they’d learned. Be reminded, this was summer camp!
Nachliel had a great chemistry not only with the campers, but with the counselors as well. He gave them guidance with regard to everything from spirituality to behavior management. He readily shared such hobbies as caricature drawing and Capoeira. He assisted with Color War and participated in the camp play. Nachliel was generally available to assist with all aspects of camp.
I have known Nachliel Selavan for over ten years. I know him to be a serious and dedicated individual to the work in which he invests. Nachliel has many talents that make him a strong teacher…Every time I’ve observed him teach I have not only been able to follow his lessons with absolute clarity, I also learn something new. Nachliel has an excellent knowledge of Tanach.
In addition to being a caring and erudite teacher, he is also artistic and creative. During his time at Barkai Yeshivah, Nachliel drew beautiful pictures for each Parshat haShavua. They enhanced the school environment and the staff and students enjoyed them a great deal. He has helped with the artistic element for many school programs and events… (contact me for full endorsement letter)
…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]
Rabbi Selavan:I would like to thank you for coming into our school to give your Tanach presentation. Despite the fact that this topic can be technical and non engaging for children you kept them extremely interested and engaged for the entire session.The topic was presented, not as a subject but as a very real part of our history. The artifacts you brought in made it all the more real as the students were actually able to touch history.The clarity in which you presented and your use of media made the presentation extremely interesting and your use of Tanach to transmit Jewish values was extremely important and timely. I especially appreciated your emphasis on Jewish unity.I wish you much success in the future and we hope to have you back soon in our school.
My family had the honor of hosting Nachliel as a Shabbat lunch guest, and I asked him if he would be willing to speak later that evening at our Shul’s seudah shelishit. Nachliel graciously accepted the invitation and with virtually no notice spoke passionately and compellingly on archeology as it relates to TaNaKh and Jewish history. I hope we have future opportunities to learn from this unique teacher of Torah.
We recently had the opportunity to have Rav Nachliel lecture at our institution about the Biblical perspective of the geography of Israel. In his brief but powerful presentation, he actively engaged the students in a participative exercise sketching the pathways of our forefathers through Israel on their journeys. He displayed mastery in both Jewish History and geography while offering a startling new perspective of the layout of Israel and the importance of visual learning. The students walked away with renewed excitement and a fresh interest in our holy sites!
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!
Nachliel put together an interactive and informative program in the MET. It was a great experience to see firsthand some of the artifacts that our biblical ancestors saw, as presented to us in the Tanach. It was especially moving to stand under the Ishtar Gate, the same gate our ancestors entered through as they were exiled from Jerusalem to Babel during first temple period, circa 586 BC.
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.
Magen David Yeshivah Celia Esses High School, Brooklyn, NY
Dear Rav Nachliel,
We want to thank you as a class for taking time out of your mornings to teach us about the history of Assyria, Babylon, Israel, and Egypt. Our classes found it very interesting that we learned about objects and what they mean such as the watches with sun dial that represents royalty, and how beards represented power. We also admired how you told us about the history of the walls in the museum like the Assyrian wall that used to have coloring, but because it has been through a lot of damage, it lost its color. Once again, thank you for giving us a great experience!
L.A. and S. G (freshmen at Magen David)
Dear Rav Nachliel,
Thank you so much for giving me and my friends the opportunity to learn more about our history. It is a great feeling to learn about something in the classroom and then go physically see it. I learned about how in Assyria and Babylonia you can distinguish the difference between royalty and lower class citizens very easily. What was also new that I found out was that the Egyptians were obsessed with the afterlife and preserved their bodies very carefully. They both had beautiful jewelry that ironically are things me and my friends would wear today. The trip to The Met after the amazing days of learning with you in my classroom was fascinating. You opened up my interests into more of the exhibits we visited and all of the exhibits in The Met. Which are probably as interesting and awesome as the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Egyptian wings. Thank you so much for this experience we really appreciate the time you put into it!
S.M. (freshmen at Magen David)
…I just wanted to say that my day at the Met was so amazing. I got to experience things I’ve never seen before. My favorite part was when we all got the chance to do the mannequin challenge, I loved how we mixed the past with the present….
V.S. (freshmen at Magen David)
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.
Nachliel’s knowledge, energy and understanding of the art was thorough, colorful and rich. Through an intimate knowledge of history as well, he was able to vibrantly relate manifestations of ancient history to modern cultural events. A history lesson through art would have been satisfying enough, but Nachliel’s added touch of historical events as they relate to modern culture, and his willingness to respond to many questions, often tangential, brought the tour to unexpected heights
Ezra and Deborah Safdieh
I went with Nachliel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on several occasions. Nachliel is enthusiastic about Torah and archaeology, explaining Tanach and teachings of Chazal in a very engaging manner, passionately bringing Torah to life through the history and the archaeology that we explored together.Indeed, I too look forward to join him on future programs…
I really liked going to the MET with Nachliel. We saw lots of amazing things together. We should go again soon!
Thank you Nachliel for a real eye opener! Arlene and I could have wandered for hours or even days in those endless halls of statues and artifacts of the Met. We would not have gleaned anything close to your two hour engaging tour. Your exceptional ability to organize and keep the group spell bound with your breadth of Tanach knowledge especially as it related to Assyria, Egypt and Israel was outstanding!
We recently joined Nachliel Selavan on a visit to the Walters Museum in Baltimore, MD. In the limited time that we had, Nachliel gave us tremendous insight into the various artifacts that we were looking at and explained how to interpret them based on the time periods. Through looking at the objects on display he was able to contextualize the time period and relate it to so much of the Bible and other historical references. His thorough knowledge of Jewish history as well as his clear and concise descriptions would be a tremendous asset to anyone, young and old, history expert or novice, who is fortunate to have him as a tour guide.
Moshe Wealcatch, Educator|
I was born and have lived my whole life in Brooklyn. I’ve been to the Brooklyn Museum many times, but after taking a tour with Rav Nachliel I feel as though I’ve seen it for the first time. His wealth of information and story telling skills bring to life an otherwise routine walk through the Assyrian and Egyptian exhibits. I felt as though I was walking through the centuries with our forefathers as Rav Nachliel would correlate the pieces in the exhibit to familiar dates and events in the history of Bnei Yisrael, as well as explain the meaning behind countless inscriptions and sculptures. He brings years of hard work and research right to your fingertips. I highly recommend taking a tour, few people around have the expertise to bring history to life in such a way.
Dr. Charles Manopla
I was impressed with Nachliel’s vast knowledge base and ability to highlight the Jewish interactions with different nations of the world throughout history. I highly recommend his tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He’ll show you the Jewish fingerprints and paint a larger picture showing the path of our people within the museum’s exhibits.
We had a wonderful experience with Rav Nachliel at the Met! He was obviously very knowledgeable about all the art, and was able to answer any questions we threw at him. His passion and enthusiasm throughout the tour was infectious, keeping me interested and even genuinely excited to learn. The best part was that he was able to connect the information he presented to Tanach, which made the whole experience really unique and meaningful. Would definitely recommend him to anyone!
Student at Rutgers School of Social work
Nachliel brings a passion for teaching about Torah and Judaism that is truly infectious. His excitement with the material gets his students interested. His knowledge and engaging teaching style makes him one of the best Jewish teachers you can find.
I really enjoyed the Rosh Hashanah program. I thought it was incredibly engaging and well done. Nachliel was able to relate everything back to us to make it easy to comprehend”
Reb Nachliel has a special gift with teaching children. He taught our son, Moshe, so much about art. Moshe proudly hangs his artwork on the walls of his bedroom. We look forward to having Reb Nachliel learn Gemara with Moshe soon.
Even time I think about my previous experiences with Mr. Selavan, I am blown away. He is an incredible orator, with a breath of knowledge that flows and comes together for the most articulate approach weaving together a myriad of sources, research, and a lifetime of experience to his audiences. He will captivate you with every word, and guide you through the Tales of History. A True expert in every sense of the word! Coming back every time!
Rav Nachliel, I knew you for such a short time as a teacher, but it was such a meaningful and helpful time – as much as was possible for such a duration. I was a sixth grader in the 2011-2012 school year, and you were our history teacher.
You came to us with a unique teaching style, and you brought in books to show us what things really looked like. You assigned us to write an “ancient newspapers” on what we were learning (and paid out of your own pocket to have them published!).
You taught me, most of all, how time is valuable and important. You showed care and love for all of us, and helped us as much as you could.
You gave over information in the most interesting and clear way than any other history reacher I have ever had until this day.
To me, you were a lot more than a “teacher”, you were the best teacher ever.
Student at Ahavat Yisrael “Rappaport” Boys’ School, Jerusalem. Class of 2014
I loved Rav Nachliel’s teaching style. One thing I particularly liked was how he put all the historical stuff in context by finding objects from that time. For example, if he was teaching us about ancient Israeli politics, he would bring in kings seals, or a copy of a contract written by the king.
Student at Yeshivat Netivot Montessori. Class of 2016
I’m happy to see that you are constantly broadening your work, and exposing more people to your educational approach. I was your student about seven years ago . Though a lot of time has passed, I still have vivid memories from that beautiful period.
I learned in a semi-Ultra-Orthodox school, and the method for learning Tanach did not add interest and motivation to keep learning Tanach seriously.
Once day, you showed up, you were just at the beginning of your way. You started translating Tanach to our language, 8th grade kids. We were learning the Book of Daniel at the time, which is mostly in Aramaic, another obstacle in the way of understanding the subject.
You overcame the obstacles with ease, and we anticipated your lessons from week to week. Every week there was something “different” that you brought in order to make the learning accessible to us. Once it was a cake with the lions from Daniel (See image below. Student in image unrelated), and once it was a slideshow with Daniel’s wild visions.
Thank you for that beautiful period and for opening the path for learning Tanach.
Miss you, and sending love and appreciation
Student at Ahavat Yisrael “Rappaport” Boys’ School, Jerusalem. Class of 2011
Nachliel HaCohen Selavan’s leadership and contributions to the Jewish Community of Porto – Pesach 2011
In this note I want to highlight character traits for which Nachliel Selavan provided evidence. Brief background. Nachliel HaCohen Selavan resides in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. Nachliel motivated his Israeli Capoeira students and colleagues to attend the European Championship in Guimaraes, Portugal, which fell during the Pesach holiday. He organized that they observe Pesach in Porto’s Jewish Community. His group prepared the kitchen properly for the community, and, he led the Pesach Sedarim of the community in several languages.
The community was very moved by the event, attended by dozens of people each night, and it made a tremendous impact on their Jewish identity. The group represented Israeli culture to the community as well.
Nachliel Selavan’s openness, engaging manner, intellectual stimulation, and passion for the learning and the mitzvot came through during the sedarim and struck a deep chord. People stayed late, sang with energy, and left on a spiritual high they had rarely experienced. He showed great wisdom as a teacher, and as a rabbinical figure, a representative of Torah.
Some particular notes:
– Creativity out of chaos. Nachliel was quite unfamiliar with the overall context in Portugal as well as the Jewish community of Porto. In his preparations prior to the trip he invested the time and effort to put a picture together of this unknown context and thus be more effective, and, be better prepared for the responsibility of handling young people in a foreign country.
– Managerial and Organizational skills – two examples. First, he took care of all the details of the group’s activities for the three weeks they were in Portugal and Spain. Second, he organized all the Kosher preparations for Pesach observance in the Porto community.
– Leadership qualities. Nachliel very effectively led a Capoeira group from the preparatory time period in Israel until after the championship events in Guemaraes in northern Portugal. Nachliel led the two Sedarim, and led them in Portuguese, in the community of Porto. The group included people of diverse cultures, backgrounds and knowledge, and Nachliel balanced his presentations with the same acrobatic skill he demonstrates physically.
– Dedicated to communicating and transmitting Jewish way of life. As Judaism involves all aspects of life, and not just ritual observance, Nachliel and his group communicated and transmitted the Jewish way of life to the community of Porto and at large. He communicated that you can be an observant Jew and fully enjoy sports competition at an international event. This means Jews can be integrated in the world without sacrificing their Judaism. That message is very important for my community.
We of the Porto community are deeply grateful that we had the pleasure and honor of having the benefit of Nachliel HaCohen Selavan’s assistance during the Pesach period. Undoubtedly the qualities exhibited here in Porto, Portugal, in extraordinary condition, bode well for his future as a teacher and leader in the Jewish community, and for anyone who engages him in such capacities. We wish him well in all his endeavors.