Welcome to Israel Is a Muppet’s-Eye-View of The Holy Land, Specifically for Pre-Schoolers
There are twelve titles in the Shalom Sesame series of videos that introduce young children to Sesame Street - Israeli-style.
The first two in the series will be released October 5, with more releases following in January 2011. Like its American counterpart, Shalom Sesame will have lots of American and Israeli celebrities dropping by, including Debra Messing, Achinoam Nini, Mira Awad, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Christina Applegate, Cedric the Entertainer, Greg Kinnear, Ben Stiller, and Debi Mazar. There are plenty of Muppet residents, too—even the Israeli version of Oscar the Grouch, Moishe Ufnick.
Welcome to Israel, the first in the series, has Sesame Street favorite Grover flying to Israel with Anneliese van der Pol (That’s So Raven), a girl who really loves falafel. Viewers are introduced to Hebraic words, numbers and letters in this English-language program.
Welcome to Israel offers an opportunity to look into the lives of a culture with which kids may not be familiar. The program has two goals, “to…enrich and engage Jewish children and foster their Jewish identity” and to “bring the vitality of Jewish culture and tradition as well as the diversity of Israeli life to American children and their families.” Each installment is packed with animations and short films in the familiar style of Sesame Street. Welcome to Israel includes a film about a young boy who likes to make airplanes, and one about an Israeli boy who visits a friend overnight. Christina Applegate shares the meanings of “shalom” in another short video
Grover visits his friend Talia in Jerusalem, and we ride the bus and sight-see with him. We share Grover’s sense of discovery as he sees, smells, and hears thing he’s never witnessed on Sesame Street. Unfamiliar foods, markets, customs, and buildings are some of the treats Welcome to Israel offers its audience.
Learning the differences and similarities between various cultures is a rewarding experience we can share with our children. Welcome to Israel makes it easy with a familiar format, likable characters, and a light touch.
DVD extras include sneak peeks of all 12 titles in the series, a trailer, and “Grover’s Video Player”—a short film with English subtitles featuring a song on the benefits of “thank you,” “excuse me,” and “please.”