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Nov 22 2010

Shalom, Sesame!

By at 2:43 pm

After having a kid, there’s so much that comes back to you from your own childhood. The books you read, the outfits you wore (some of which are amazingly back in style), the recipes you made, the television you watched.  Perhaps that’s why I kind of love my daughter’s Sesame Street obsession.

Somehow addiction to Sesame Street feels okay because I grew up watching Sesame Street too. And, of course, because it’s educational.

So when I heard that Sesame Street was making a new version of Shalom Sesame, which is basically Sesame Street taking a trip to Israel, I was beyond excited.

Last week I got invited to a sneak peek screening of Shalom Sesame. (Ah, the perks of working for a Jewish website.)

First, you should know that when you get off of the elevator at Sesame Workshop, you actually feel like you’re on Sesame Street. The elevators are painted red, yellow, green, and blue. The sconces have the faces of Bert and Ernie on them. When you get to reception, there’s two life-size Muppets to greet you: Oscar the Grouch and Telly. Now, this was exciting for 31 year-old me. But this was beyond exciting to 16 month-old Abigail. She was saying the names of every character over and over and over. And then they took us to an Oscar the Grouch ride…heaven. The kid was in heaven. All of this before we even got to the screening!

As for Shalom Sesame? I really liked it. So did Abigail—she danced to the opening credits, and when she saw that her friend Grover was visiting his friends in Israel, she just had a look of wonder on her face, as if thinking, “Wow, Grover is everywhere!”

There was one segment where the letters of the Hebrew alphabet dance around to a jazz beat, and I looked over and saw another little boy who was totally grooving in his seat. The kids were enraptured.

Personally, I liked when Debra Messing told me about her Hebrew name, and as an educator, I was impressed with how they told the story of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda’s work to make Hebrew the national language of Israel. (In fact, this show could be used at home or in the classroom). The segments flowed together to connect back to the episode’s theme (Grover learning Hebrew) and it felt like Sesame Street, just with some Israeli flair.

So do I recommend it? Yes. Do I think it would make an awesome Hanukkah gift? Yes. Do I wish they were releasing the whole thing all at once so I could convince Grandma and Grandpa to buy the series for Abigail (read: for me) so she could watch the whole thing at once? Yes. But unfortunately the DVDs will roll out two at a time for about the next eight months, at $14.99 each. Sigh. (Buy ‘em here).

But in the meantime, we’ll get ourselves a mini mensch t-shirt and call it a day.

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

One Response to Shalom, Sesame!

  1. Leigh Ann says:

    We received the first two “Shalom Sesame” DVDs – Welcome to Israel and the Chanukah episode – about a month ago, and my kids (3, 2, and 7 months) are OBSESSED. As far as I can tell, the episodes do a great job of doing what Sesame Street does best: teaching letters, numbers, and songs. I’m pretty sure my 3-year-old learned “chaf” and “yud” just by watching a couple times a week. I’m also fairly certain that’s why knows all words to “Chanukah, O Chanukah.”

    But! I wouldn’t say that there is very much Israeli about “Shalom Sesame.” It’s (very pareve) Jewish Sesame Street, which is just fabulous by us. Looking forward to the next two in January.

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