I was so excited to receive both a copy of Shalom Sesame’s Welcome to Israel and Chaunkah: The Missing Menorah. My 5 and 7 year-old’s quickly ran into the living room to watch them both. Having just returned from a trip to Israel and also anticipating the upcoming holiday of Chanukah in our home, there was much excitement over these about to be released DVD’s. Both come from the creators of Sesame Street and feature well-known American and Israeli celebrities like Debra Messing, Achinoam Nini, Mira Awad, Jake Gyllenhaal, Christina Applegate, Greg Kinnear, Debi Mazar and other recognizable talent. Both DVD’s were just released by SISU Home Entertainment.
In Welcome to Israel, Grover and host Anneliese Van Der Pol (from That’s So Raven and Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast) travel to Israel to meet people and learn new things in this 12-part series. It actually reminded me of our own recent trip – the plane ride, the fallaffel stands, walking through the streets of Tel Aviv. Designed to help bring the vitality of Jewish culture and tradition, as well as the diversity of Israeli life to American children and their families, each 30-minute live-action and animated DVD will focus on storylines drawn from Jewish cultural traditions, highlighting lessons on Hebrew letters and words, unique sites in Israel and Jewish values.
In Chanukah: The Missing Menorah, Grover is bringing the latkes to celebrate Chanukah, and all is well until Anneliese gets caught in a game of tag with a chicken and loses her special menorah. My friends were glued to the television during this special show, waiting to discover if her friends could help find the missing menorah in time for Chanukah.
There hasn’t been a lot of Jewish-themed videos for my kids with main-stream television characters that they’ve grown up with like the ones from Sesame Street. Even though they grew out of that program long ago, they both gravitated toward these videos with no hesitation. They knew that there would be a common thread, linking them to their religion and heritage that was quite special for me, as their mom, to see. I know I’ve done a good job on that front after seeing them rush to watch these programs.
There is also a new web content on ShalomSesame.org (free, too) that goes along with these shows in the forms of activities, games, videos, caregiver tips and activity suggestions for parents and educators.
These DVDs are available for $14.95 SRP and can be ordered at 1-800-223-7478 or at Sisuent.com.
Disclosure: These DVDs were provided to me for my review but no opinion was asked of me. Everything expressed is my own opinion.