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Shalom Sesame: Misc



Up to date as of February 02, 2010

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Shalom Sesame is a co-production between Sesame Street and its Israeli counterpart, Rechov Sumsum. The series was conceived as an attempt to bring Israeli life and Jewish culture to American audiences, and had a long gestation period. The brainchild of Lewis Bernstein, who had been instrumental in Rechov Sumsum, the series began with a 20 minute pilot, funded by a Revson Foundation grant. The pilot featured Mandy Patinkin and Mary Tyler Moore, and contrasting the different levels of awareness about the culture, as they explored the language and customs of Israel with Jewish and non-Jewish children. Later installments would feature location shooting dominating over studio skits, and more exploration of the physical geography of Israel as well as its social and linguistic map. The first and to date only adaptation of an international co-production for English-speaking audiences, the series was targeted at an older age group than either Rechov Sumsum or Sesame Street, approximately 6 to 12.[1]

The series starred porcupine Kippi Ben Kippod, and Moishe Oofnik, the Israeli counterparts, respectively, to Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Benz, Arik, and Kermit, the Hebrew versions of Bert, Ernie and Kermit the Frog, were also highlighted and classic Bert and Ernie skits appeared in nearly every episode, but Jim Henson and Frank Oz never appeared as their characters in newly filmed material for the series. Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Grundgetta were the only American Muppets to appear in new material for Shalom Sesame.

Both Hebrew and English were spoken on the program, and it was common to see American Muppet skits alternate between characters dubbed in Hebrew and speaking in the original English.

Initially, 26 episodes were planned in 1985, but only 5 full episodes were produced at that time. Although conceived for television, the initial episodes received video distributorship first, and made their TV debut in April 1988 in most markets. A second season of episodes was filmed in 1990 and debuted that year during Hanukkah, with video sales following. The series also aired on Israeli television, on EMTV, as Shalom Sumsum. Unlike the US version, there was no attempt at bilingualism. The Israeli puppeteers and performers re-looped their own dialogue in Hebrew, while the celebrity guests and other American performers were dubbed by local actors.

In 2008, 18 years after the second set of Shalom Sesame shows were produced, a new show is being produced to be released titled Oofnik’s World. Unlike the previous shows, this is a home video consisting of footage from the 2006 revival of Rechov Sumsum presented in its original Hebrew audio with optional English subtitles.

In 2009, Sesame Workshop announced a new set of Shalom Sesame shows will be produced to air around December 2010 in time for Hanukkah. It has been confirmed that Eric Jacobson is performing Grover in this new set of shows and will feature the Muppets from the 2006 revival of Rechov Sumsum. Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Stiller, Christina Applegate, Debra Messing, Greg Kinnear, Cedric the Entertainer and Anneliese van der Pol will all appear as guests on this new set.[2]

Violinist Itzhak Perlman was a frequent guest star. Other guest stars included American actors Sarah Jessica Parker, Jerry Stiller, Jeremy Miller, and Bonnie Franklin. Oscar the Grouch also guest-starred on the Israeli street.

The episodes were first released as an eleven volume VHS set.


1986 shows

The first season of Shalom Sesame shows were first released on video in 1986. These five shows included the following:

  • Show 1: The Land of Israel
  • Show 2: Tel Aviv
  • Show 3: Kibbutz
  • Show 4: The People of Israel
  • Show 5: Jerusalem

1990 shows

The second season of Shalom Sesame shows were produced in 1990. These six shows included the following:

  • Show 6: Chanukah
  • Show 7: Sing Around the Seasons
  • Show 8: Journey to Secret Places
  • Show 9: Aleph-Bet Telethon
  • Show 10: Passover
  • Show 11: Kids Sing Israel


  1. Friedman, Thomas L. "U. S. May See Israeli Sesame Street." The New York Times. February 26, 1985
  2. Thomas, Jen "Big-name celebrities to appear on Jewish kids show." The Associated Press. August 26, 2009

External links

  • Sisu Home Entertainment

This article uses material from the "Shalom Sesame" article on the Muppet wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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