Two years ago, my family found a gem of a program perfect for our children that provides them with sound teaching of the entire Scriptures. Available through HRN (Hebraic Roots Network) and now on YouTube and DVD, Torah Puppets brings forth the truth of Y’shua and the Torah in a witty and fun manner. Each of the characters are unique and present Biblical lessons that engage not only children but parents too. Our son and daughter quickly picked up on the catchy songs, Hebrew words, and silly sayings, especially those of the character Grampa Gus (who by the way is the whole family’s favorite). Smiles and giggles are a common effect of watching an episode of Torah Puppets. My family has thoroughly enjoyed what Torah Puppets has to offer the next generation.
A greater blessing is personally knowing the man and family behind Torah Puppets and calling them friends. This family loves Y’shua, loves Torah, and has a passion for children and family ministry.
It is a privilege and honor to be able to share with you an interview I conducted with Stan Randall, the creator of the show. My desire is to give you the opportunity to get to know and hopefully fall in love with the Torah Puppets program just as we did. I pray it will become a regularly watched program in your home.
1. WHAT IS TORAH PUPPETS?
Torah Puppets is, first, a program featuring puppets teaching about the Torah and teaching from the Torah. Beginning with the Shema and a shofar blast, each episode of Torah Puppets aims to point children and families back to the Torah as the foundation of all Scripture. Torah Puppets is also the ministry that has grown out of the program, whether it’s live performances, teachings, ministry partnership and more. Torah Puppets fulfills the command to teach the next generation the Word of God. It is your family’s ministry partner, as well as your congregation’s ministry partner, in restoring the hearts of your children to the Torah of their Messiah.
2. WHO IS BEHIND TORAH PUPPETS, AND HOW DID IT GET STARTED?
Stan Randall of Coweta, OK is the creator and “Puppet Master” of Torah Puppets. Torah Puppets began as a special request brought to Stan during Sukkot in October of 2011. The Hebraic Roots Network was forming, and would need children’s programming. That November, Stan Randall formed B’nai Torah Ministries and started to develop Torah Puppets.
Family is central to Torah Puppets, both in its presentation and its production, so a few families from Stan’s home congregation, B’nai Israel Messianic Assembly in Tulsa, OK, came together and joined Stan as puppeteers and crew members. They took what puppets they already had, or could borrow, and put together a season of episodes for HRN. It truly is a ministry of families toward families.
Season One of Torah Puppets debuted on the Hebraic Roots Network just after Sukkot in October of 2013. It all started with a confused and silly Grampa Gus asking the question many of us have when it comes to our Hebrew roots: “Hey, what’s going on here!” What was going on was Torah, as taught through Psalm 119 and the Hebrew AlefBet.
Since its debut on HRN, Torah Puppets has grown in its production quality and abilities. This is due to its partnership with Ryan White of Hebrew Roots Teachings. The family teams of Torah Puppets and Hebrew Roots Teachings are taking the program to the next level as they develop all the future episodes designed to teach the Torah. The production of Season Two is nearly complete!
3. TELL US ABOUT THE CHARACTERS.
Ah, the characters – there are quite a few of them, and they certainly are characters! Let’s see…every episode opens with the appearance of Rabbi Trail, a very learned Torah teacher who starts the episodes with a shofar blast, and ends the episodes with a blessing for the children. In between the blast and the blessing, you will usually see him appearing with a young cowgirl named Clementine in a part of the show we like to call, “Ask Rabbi Trail.” Joining him in opening the program is Baby BooHoo singing the Shema. When she’s not singing the Shema, we frequently find her boohooing about a situation that can be resolved with lessons from the Torah. The topic of every program is then introduced by our roving rabbit reporter with the really bad French accent, Hare Ouigeaux. Of course, as far as characters go, the most popular one is the somewhat central figure of Torah Puppets, Grampa Gus. He’s a more than just a little goofy, and he’s a funny representation of all those of us who have come into this Torah-Observant lifestyle not entirely sure of what’s going on. Thanks to friends like Robbie, Rabbi Trail, and the Grateful Dude, along with Miss Ninny, his old fifth grade teacher, as well as family like his granddaughter Clementine, he’s learning more and more about the Torah and how to apply it. Torah Puppets also has characters that embody the books of the Torah, like Bearry Sheet the Genesis Bear, and Debbie Vreem, Gus’ old high school sweetheart. Several other cool characters round out the program, and do their part in restoring the hearts of children to the Torah of their Messiah!
4. WHAT CAN KIDS AND PARENTS EXPECT FROM TORAH PUPPETS? WHAT SORT OF LESSONS CAN BE LEARNED?
With every episode of Torah Puppets, children and their parents can expect to learn something about the Torah, something from the Torah, and how to apply what they learn to their lives. And, since the term “torah” simply means “instructions”, the lessons they learn will not only come from the first five books of the Bible, but from the entire Word of God! Watching a typical episode of Torah Puppets will also have them learning a little bit of Hebrew, and learning scriptures to hide in their hearts. Finally, what they learn from watching an episode of Torah Puppets will help them grow more and more as disciples of their Messiah Y’shua, as they learn to walk as He walked. The child-friendly ensemble of Torah Puppets provides Scriptural wisdom with an Hebraic perspective.
5. WHAT AGE GROUP CAN BENEFIT FROM TORAH PUPPETS?
Torah Puppets aims primarily at ages 4-10, but all age groups can benefit from the teaching and humor of the puppets. We designed Torah Puppets to be something the family can watch and learn from together.
6. DOES THE TORAH PUPPETS MINISTRY TRAVEL?
It is our desire to travel when we can. Outreach has always been a big part of the vision of this ministry, and our live version of Torah Puppets has a lot to offer! A typical presentation features not only the puppets, but other characters as well, along with Gospel Science Challenges, interactive lessons, and teaching from Torah Puppets creator Stan Randall. We also lead workshops on family ministry and outreach ministry to children, as well as puppet training. One of our great desires for traveling is the opportunity to come alongside growing congregations to partner with them in developing a successful ministry to children and families. As far as being on the road, we are currently limited in our scheduling, and will be available only for special events or local ministry opportunities. For information on booking a Live Torah Puppets program, please visit us at torahpuppets.com.
7. TORAH PUPPETS HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF MINISTERING TO THE CHILDREN AT HRN’S REVIVE 2015 CONFERENCE. TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE.
Torah Puppets had a great time ministering to the children at Revive 2015 in Dallas! Our puppets, as well as a few of our other zany characters, had the opportunity to teach on the importance of transforming our hearts, minds and tongues through the Spirit and Truth of the Living Word of Yah; and we also presented a fun-packed and interactive lesson on walking in that Word wearing the full armor of God. The children also experienced and participated in some fun and thought-provoking Gospel Science Challenges. It was an amazing time, and we were blessed to be a part of it!
8. WHAT ARE THE FUTURE PLANS, THE LONG-TERM VISION FOR THIS MINISTRY?
The future plans and long term vision for this ministry are more episodes, more episodes and more episodes! Along with continuing episodes, Torah Puppets is looking to expand its ministry into other formats like comic books and audio programs, as well as an increase in outreach ministry and ministry partnership, all with a view and purpose of restoring the hearts of children and their families to the Torah of the Messiah!
9. WHERE CAN TORAH PUPPETS EPISODES BE VIEWED?
Well, the original season of Torah Puppets that was produced for HRN can still be viewed on their On-demand channel – both online at hebraicrootsnetwork.com, and their Roku channel. Speaking of Roku, there are a couple of our episodes running on the Homeschooling Channel on Roku. You can also find a couple of episodes running on YouTube (type Torah Puppets in the search, or link through our website). Torah Puppets episodes can also be viewed on DVD, or downloaded to play on various devices.
Thank you for taking the time to read this interview and for introducing your family to Torah Puppets. If your family enjoys the program, help me get the word out about this wonderful children’s ministry by telling your family, friends, neighbors, congregation, and Bible study about Torah Puppets! Please share this interview on your social media page as well.