Sesame Street Goes to Israel

Filed under: Preschoolers, In The News, Media, Activities: Toddlers & Preschoolers, New In Pop Culture

Beloved characters from "Sesame Street," including Grover, go to Israel in the DVD series, "Shalom Sesame"Credit: Kobi Gideon, FLASH90

Is "Sesame Street" good for the Jews?

Well, the Jews are certainly good for Sesame Street. "Shalom Sesame," a DVD series from the mid-80's, has sold more than 1 million copies worldwide. Now Sesame Workshop, in conjunction with Israel's Hop! Channel, will update the series for modern audiences.
The original "Shalom Sesame" is the "best-selling Jewish DVD series of all time," Danny Labin, the executive producer of the series, told ParentDish in an interview. While those shows remain popular in the Jewish community, Labin told us that he felt it was important to create new content because, "The Israel that was represented in 1980's and 1991 is not the Israel of today. The American Jewish community is not the same as it was 20 years ago." He also pointed out that new episodes of the main "Sesame Street" television series are filmed every year in order to keep the references fresh.

"Sesame Street" already has an Israeli version called "Rechov Sumsum." "Shalom Sesame" is initially intended for the "North American Jewish community and the rest of the English-speaking Jewish world," according to Labin. The content might be repackaged at some point and translated into other languages, such as Russian and French.

"The idea is that this new content is as broad based as possible" in an attempt to reach the widest number of Jewish people, Labin added.

The new series will be available December 2010 on DVD, online and possibly on broadcast television as well. If that seems like a long time for fans to wait, Labin assures us that it will be worth it. In addition to filming new segments in Israel with Grover and other Muppet favorites, celebrities such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Christina Applegate, Debra Messing and Cedric the Entertainer will appear in sketches that will be filmed in the United States.

Now if only we can get Grover to broker a long-standing peace deal. Talk about sunny days.

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