Sesame Workshop, the developer behind Sesame Street, has teamed with Israel’s Channel HOP! to develop a 12-part DVD set about Jewish values. The 30-minute episode DVDs will include approximately 30 more minutes of bonus features as well as appearances by Grover and other Muppets. Celebrity appearances for the series include Debra Messing, Natalie Portman, Ben Stiller, Jake Gyllenhal, and Achinoam Nini, among others.
The first DVD, Welcome to Israel, features Grover and Anneliese van der Pol as they begin their explorations of Israel with guest Christina Applegate. Chanukah: The Missing Menorah takes the crew on a hunt for van der Pol’s missing menorah before Chanukah activities begin and includes an appearance by Debi Mazar. Both DVDs, and subsequent episodes, showcase Jewish values while explaining traditions and practices in Israel.
Shalom Sesame is meant for U.S. audiences and is a continuation from the 1988 11-part Shalom Sesame, which was based on the Israeli version of Sesame Street, Rechov Sumsum. The first two DVDs will be released nationwide on October 5. Subsequent releases will roll out starting in January.