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DVD Review: Shalom Sesame Chanukah: The Missing Menorah!

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During the holiday season when television seemed overdone with Christmas and Santa Claus (also known as Kris Kringle), the mysterious all-knowing flying gift giver who lives at the north pole. For those who don’t participate in the Christmas holiday sometimes it is hard to find something to watch. It seems every TV show or movie that was on was about flying deers, gift giving, the Grinch, Scrooge, Santa Claus, Elves and the like its hard to not feel overwhelmed with the spirit of the season.

It is a strange and obsessive spirit where the day after the American Holiday of Thanksgiving. On black friday people start the stampede for gifts which in some cases has ended in tragedy. With this obsession with selfish consumerism for those try to avoid the spirit of Christmas and don’t want to get caught in the past, present or future spirits of Christmas. In stark contrast it is a treasure to find stories about the Miracles of Chanukah such is the case of Shalom Sesame Chanukah: The Missing Menorah which is just that a treasure trove of information for those seeking to know about this holiday.

For those who observe Chanukah and other Jewish-Hebrew-Biblical traditions it is wonderful when we find a treasure such as this that speaks about the miracle of the Chanukah Menorah or the battle of Judah Maccabee against the Greek-Assyrians. Its awesome to find something we can relate to.

Shalom Sesame is a 12-episode series from the creators of Sesame Street that takes you to the land of Israel to teach you about the Holy Land and Jewish Festivals. It features some old and new characters along with celebrity guests. Its fun and you learn a lot in these short 30-minute episodes. This episode of the Shalom Sesame stars Anneliese Van Der Pol (who played Raven Simone’s best friend in That’s So Raven) with a guest appearance by Debi Malzar. This episode features lots of latkes, laughs and learning.

  • Learn about Judah Maccabee, the Maccabees Revolt and the Miracle of the Menorah from Israeli Children telling what the story of Chanukah means to them.
  • Learn about the Hebrew month of Kislev in which Chanukah falls.
  • Learn how to count up to the number eight (Shemoneh) along with “The Count”.
  • Learn the Hebrew Consonants Zayin for Zebra and Chet for Chaleil, Chanukia and Challah.
  • Learn how olive oil for the Chanukia is made from freshly pressed olives.
  • Learn how to play the Dreidel and the meaning of the letters on the Dreidel.
  • Learn about Judah Maccabee cleansing the Temple with a fun cartoon and traditional Chanukah songs.

I personally enjoyed the spoof of Extreme Home Makeover called “Extreme Temple Makeover Edition” along with the chant “Move That Bust!” That Ty Pennington would be proud of. “Postcard From Grover” that explores ancient caves dug at the time of the Maccabees; it is reminiscent of Rick Steve’s Europe series on PBS.

Dreidel Extras include The Missing Menorah Trailer;” Sneak Peaks of all 12 of the Shalom Sesame specials from Shabbat Shalom Grover, to Grover Learns Hebrew; to It’s Passover, Grover, to Count Down To Shavuot, and of course Monsters In The Sukkah along with other Adventures In Israel, Welcome To Israel, Grover Plants A Tree, Mitzvah On The Street and The Sticky Shofar. You also get features like Grover’s Monster Sing-A-Long The Missing Menorah” or choose Karaoke version;” AndGrovers Video Playerincludes the Aleph-Bet Song.” All together there is about an hour of education and fun viewing.

My three year old learned how to write the Hebrew letter Nun as seen on the Dreidel and goes around singing “Alef, Bet, Vet” and “Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel.” This is a fun and awesome resource for those who want to know about the Jewish holiday of Chanukah.

As the Shalom Sesame song goes “Its such a beautiful day to find a land we can play.. to go to a place we can explore.. come along and check out Shalom Sesame.” Get yourself a copy of Shalom Sesame Chanukah: The Missing Menorah if you want to know more about Chanukah. You can also find Classic Shalom Sesame (The Original Series) and Rechov Shumsum (The Israeli Sesame Street) where you can meet Oofnik The Grouch and Avigile and Friends through SISU Entertainment.

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