'PLANET MATZAH BALL SERIES: CHANUKAH & PASSOVER'
(2-DVD / NR / 2015 / SISU)
Overview: These highly imaginative Passover and Chanukah stories, that aired on public TV, use puppet animation and music to bring to life the wonderful traditions of the holiday Educational and entertaining for the entire family!
DVD Verdict: This DVD, created by Rabbi Mark Covitz, is something that I have never quite seen before, it this children's state, so to speak. but is something that is extraordinary in its outreach ability, for sure. Designed and produced to be a child-oriented review of the history, lessons and practices involved in the Jewish observance of the Passover holiday and Chanukah holiday are explored, one by one.
For those of you unfamiliar with this celebration, Passover commemorates the events leading up to, through and just beyond the initial Exodus from Egypt as told in the Old Testament Book of the same name. Generally, it is understood to be the story of the escape of the Jewish people from slavery to freedom.
Chanukah, also called the festival of light, celebrates the defeated of the mightiest armies of that time, the Greeks who rolled the Holy Land 21 centuries ago, by a small band of faithful Jews who drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of God.
While it can be watched, enjoyed and understood by children as young as 5 or 6 - especially if they have had SOME exposure to this particular Jewish holiday - it is also a useful review for parents who are considering introducing this observance as part of introducing Judaism to their children and have the need, as many do, to begin by refreshing their OWN understanding of things.
The characters are puppets of a distinctly Sesame Street style and the story is a fantasy involving `aliens' on the planet Matzah Ball who know they are Jewish - but don't remember exactly what that means or how to practice it.
'Chanukah on Planet Matzah Ball' tells the story of when a menorah crash-lands on Planet Matzah Ball, and the local furry aliens don't know what to make of it! But 9-year-old Oogy shows his alien family how to celebrate the holiday after using a powerful telescope to see a children's Chanukah party in Ohio!
'The Seder on Planet Matzah Ball' is the story of a 9-year-old alien, named Oogy (again), who is back the rescue when Planet Matzah Ball discovers its first Passover guide book. He takes a spaceship to Earth, learns all he needs to know, but worries - who will lead the seder? Find out the answer in this charming tale of music and puppetry.
The characters are, it would seem, a rather obvious metaphor for the millions of Americans raised as Jews who maintain being Jewish as a secular ethnic identity, but no longer recall or practice the traditions or observances. These are both Full Screen Presentations (4x3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Sing-Along Songs - Select And Play with Optional Karaoke
Parent and Teacher Guide