TOARCH speakers include Jewish educators, archaeologists, scientists, historians, geographers and original thinkers. Here is our current list of available speakers.
Documentarian, filmmaker, raconteur - and renowned Noahide, Jim has written, produced, and directed two archaeological films - Riddle of the Exodus and Treasures of the Copper Scroll.
Rabbi and archaeologist, Barnea wrote his MA thesis on the use of fat in antiquity and how it enabled brain development. Currently a PhD candidate at TAU in Archaeology. He presents on a wide variety of topics including Battles of the Maccabees and ancient Yavne.
...native of Chicago, Illinois, worked in public relations for many years, primarily for the Jerusalem Reclamation Project in the Old City of Jerusalem. He received rabbinic ordination from the late Rabbi Y. Ruderman of the Ner Israel College in Baltimore and from the Hebrew Institute of California. Rabbi Selavan is beginning work on his doctorate in archaeology at Tel Aviv University. He is a sought-after lecturer, tour guide and educator. He specializes in Jerusalem’s Old City and the Western Wall excavations, and is the author of the successful book, “Tzaddik's Guide to Jerusalem's Old City.” Selavan also serves as co-host of LandMinds - an international internet podcast (formerly broadcast live on Israel National Radio).
Barnea Selavan working with teachers in San Diego 2014
Barnea Selavan speaking at KINS in Chicago 2012
Experienced in both formal and informal education, who did MA studies at LMU, and archaeology at Haifa U. Identified the second gate at Khirbet Qeiyafa in 2008. Producer of LandMinds and the developer of the TOARCH program.
...formerly of Los Angeles, grew up on the fringe of Hollywood. He earned an MA Ed from Loyola Marymount University, specializing in Marriage Family and Child Counseling, and has worked extensively in both formal and informal Jewish education. He is currently an MA candidate in archaeology at the University of Haifa - doing research for his thesis on Bar Kochva. Willner, who studied at the Hebrew Institute of California, has directed programs and projects for NCSY, JCCA, the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, and the Jewish Agency in Israel. The founder of Mountain High Productions, a company providing graphic design and media consulting services, he brings a wealth of experience in media and education to Foundation Stone's ongoing activities. Willner also serves as producer and co-host of LandMinds - an internet radio show (formerly on Israel National Radio - Arutz 7), and now an independently produced international podcast. He currently divides his time between Efrat and Nahariya.
Prof. Chaim Ben David is the Head of the MA program of the Land of Israel Studies in the Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee. He is teaching Land of Israel studies in the Kinneret College for the last 30 years and taught Land of Israel Studies in the Herzog College in Alon Shvut 20 years. He headed the excavations in the ancient synagogues Deir Aziz and Umm Qanatir on the Golan Heights.
His research interest includes ancient synagogues in Eretz Israel ancient roads in the Negev and Transjordan and the Galilee and the Golan in the Roman and Byzantine periods.
Chaim Ben David lives in Moshav Keshest in the Golan Heights. With his wife Hanna he has 7 children and 18 grandchildren.
Assistant Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at The University of Iowa. He is a biblical studies scholar, classicist, archaeologist, author, and digital humanist. His research includes study in the Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, literarycriticism of the Bible and the Pseudepigrapha, and the Ancient Near East. He has appeared as an expert on numerous television documentaries and specials and is an advocate for social justice and public higher education. He previously worked and taught at UCLA.
Cargill was recently appointed editor of Biblical Archaeology Review.
TOPIC: Sensationalism in Archaeology
Aaron Demsky is a professor of biblical history and the founder of the Project for the Study of Jewish Names at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. He has published widely on Hebrew and Semitic epigraphy. His knowledge, gentle demeanour, and scholarship make him an outstanding presenter and addition to our team. Make sure you catch his presentation of the "Beit HaTekia".
Dr. Norma Franklin is a field archaeologist who is happiest with complex stratigraphy. Other interests include ancient building techniques, water systems, and technology – old and new. Her research has focused on the three key cities of the Northern Kingdom of Israel: Samaria, Megiddo and Jezreel. On behalf of Tel Aviv University she excavated at Jezreel in 1990 and in 1992 became a founding member of the Megiddo Expedition, resigning in 2011 in order to launch the Jezreel Expedition. She is currently a Research Associate at the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa, Israel and an Associate Fellow of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem.
Steven Fine (born 1958), historian of Judaism in the Greco-Roman World, is the Dr. Pinkhos Churgin Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University. He is the director of the Arch of Titus Digital Restoration Project and of the Yeshiva University Center for Israel Studies. Fine is a founding editor of Images: A Journal of Jewish Art and Visual Culture.
Ph.D, Jewish History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1993; MA, Art History and Museum Studies, University of Southern California, 1984); BA in Religious Studies (Jewish Studies emphasis), University of California, Santa Barbara (1979).
Thought and approaches
A cultural historian, Fine's research focuses on relationships between the literature of ancient Judaism, art and archaeology. Fine’s blend of history, rabbinic literature, archaeology and art, together with deep engagement with historiography and contemporary culture, is expressed in a broad range of publications. He is the author of academic monographs, museum catalogs, over seventy academic articles and even a book for children.
* Partial list of speakers from both past and upcoming programs. The 2021 program will be finalised at a later date.