Thursday, April 15, 2021

You really enjoy going to museums, even if now the visits need to be virtual, and would love to share this activity with your children, but they react with a decided lack of enthusiasm.

What if there were museum tours that made learning fun, meaningful and impactful? What if there were museum tours that were conducted through a Jewish lens? Enter Nachliel Selavan, founder of Museum Tours Israel. Selavan enables experiential learning through visits to museums, combining history, art and archeology.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Selavan’s museum tours have been all virtual, with tours for adults, children, families, schools and communities on a wide range of topics, including “In The Days of Achashverosh,” “Age Of Empires,” “Avraham’s Journey,” “Leaving Egypt In The 21st Century” and “A Winter’s Tale.”

There are also a few tours currently under development, such as a Monthly Mystery Museum Tour and museum tours for children. Selavan’s tours will take you into some of the best museums in the world and bring them to life. New tours are currently being designed for the Israel Museum and Bible Lands Museum, both in Jerusalem, as well as others.

On his tours, Selavan will share his screen and show viewers different museum sites, sometimes sharing images on a slide or sending a PDF in advance with sources, as he navigates Google Maps and tells relevant stories from Tanach and Jewish history. He engages his audience through sharing the stories behind these sites and discussing how they connect to Torah and Jewish history.

Nachliel Selavan is originally from Jerusalem’s Old City. He spent seven years teaching full-time in the United States, and is now back in Israel. He has developed unique methods of teaching Torah through tour, travel and archaeology.

Selavan has undergraduate degrees in Tanach and mass communications and a masters degree in Jewish education, and is currently working towards his second masters degree in ancient Jewish history. He has taught Tanach, Jewish history and communications in several Jerusalem schools and worked as an elementary and middle school teacher at Barkai Yeshivah in Brooklyn. He served as middle school head of Judaic studies at Yeshivat Netivot Montessori in East Brunswick during the 2015-16 school year. In the summer of 2015, he ran the Torah learning and activities at Vacation Village Day Camp as chinuch director, where he designed a two-month curriculum for children entering second through seventh grades and delivered weekly divrei Torah to the entire camp. He also worked as a middle school teacher in Nefesh Yehudi Academy in East Brunswick.

Selavan’s first tour took place when he was teaching in New Jersey and he started his company while he was living in East Brunswick. The virtual tours started in Israel, during COVID.

His museum education began with a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in January 2015. He also spent a summer in Israel, amassing footage from archaeological sites, interviews with archaeologists and information on other educational sites.

“In the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you have to be creative to find the Jewish connection. In Israel, it is hard not to,” said Selavan, adding, “Museums have the potential for building bridges.”

In Selavan’s words: “I bring the museum to life!”

For information, visit www.museumtours.co.il/virtual-tours, call 054-452-0209 or 929-233-0950.

Susan R. Eisenstein is a longtime Jewish educator, passionate about creating special innovative activities for her students. She is also passionate about writing about Jewish topics and writing about Israel. Susan has two master’s degrees and a doctorate in education from Columbia University.