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Empowering Jewish Identity through Museum Tours

Public tour group photo
Public tour group photo

Thrilled to share the highlights of my recent trip from Israel to the United States (December 15-21,2023), focusing on New York and Atlanta this year. Engaging with vibrant communities, I guided public and private tours, delving deep into our rich Jewish heritage at The Metropolitan Museum of ArtThis journey explored the Hellenistic impact on civilization, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, and the new “Africa and Byzantium” exhibition. It was really awesome to use materials I made during a course on the ancient synagogue during my second Master’s at The Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies with Professor Steven Fine, who always encouraged me to use my creativity and create projects I could use in the future.

Interacting with COJECO B’nai Mitzvah students, we delved into challenging episodes in Jewish history, addressing topics like assimilation and intermarriage. Proud to have worked with diverse groups such as Ashreynu, AMIT Children, Aish Global, Magen David Yeshivah HS and more.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet and hopefully continue collaborating with talented people in the field of museums, including Elana Kaplan who is a guide and educator at the Met, and Rebecca Schaeffer-Moldovan, director of the American Friends of the Polin museum POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and Julia simon Simon, an artist and intern at the Met.Beyond the museum, I spoke at Torah Day School Of Atlanta and Beth Jacob Atlanta, exploring the battles of the Maccabees and the deeper meaning of Asarah b’Tevet. At Bruriah High School For Girls, we explored the transitional period between the First and Second Temple through archaeology, and at Ramaz School Elementary we spoke about the life of Rashi.
group tour in the Africa and Byzantium exhibit

A special treat in all of these presentations was a unique recorded video by my brother Yaakov Selavan from the front lines in Gaza, sending a message of encouragement to the Jewish community
Taking a moment for personal enrichment, I visited the Maimonides exhibit at the Center for Jewish History Yeshiva University Museum – a true delight.

This was a short and intense trip. I’m exhilarated by the ongoing connection with the Jewish community in these meaningful times. It gives me tremendous “chizuk”, fortitude, to learn how we are dealing with these challenging times, how we are united and strong, and striving to grow.

I also look forward to continuing to engage the Jewish community in Israel and abroad – when they visit Israel, through unique museum tours that bring the history to life!
To keep in touch, follow updates about my ongoing programs in the museum and virtually, here are a few ways you can keep in touch:
About the Author
Nachliel Selavan is a Jewish education innovator, history and archaeology enthusiast, and international museum guide. Also known as "The Museum Guy", Nachliel guides public and private tours regularly in the Israel Museum and Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He has guided in dozens of other museums worldwide, and regularly guides virtual tours, lectures, youtube videos and social media. His online and museum tours engage thousands of participants from different backgrounds. Today he lives in Gush Eztion with his wife and family, and teaches part time in high school.
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