Rosh Hashanah Reflections
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Rosh Hashanah Reflections

The lighter side of the holidays: Questions and answers

How do Matisyahu and Ed Koch spend their High Holidays? The Jewish Channel reveals their answers, as well as the laugh-out-loud recollections of Jewish personalities ranging from editors of New York Magazine and Huffington Post to up-and-coming comedians – and even the president of Hebrew Union College.

In “Holy Dazed,” a four-part miniseries airing now on TJC, here are some of the questions and responses you’ll see:

What do you teach your children about the High Holidays?

Daniel Radosh, author, “Rapture Ready”: “My own children are still young, so for them the High Holidays are an excuse to dip things in honey. I guess we can tell them it’s for a sweet new year, but for them having a sweet new year is dipping things in honey.”

What does the shofar remind you of?

Matisyahu, reggae star: “A ram.”

Ed Koch, former mayor of New York: “The sound … reminds me of the aborigines in Australia. They don’t use a horn, they use another instrument, which is very basic.”

Radosh: “You cannot deny that the shofar has a certain ancient majesty to it; it really does – when it’s played correctly. When it’s been played incorrectly, it sounds like something … ancient and majestic has been stuck inside of a tuba.”

Jessica Grose, associate editor, Jezebel: “It always reminds me of the teacher’s voice from ‘Peanuts.'”

Nikki Ghisel, comedian: “Wyoming. I always feel like I should be … hiking.”

What should be a sin that isn’t?

Grose: “Signing off e-mail correspondence with the word ‘Cheers’ when you’re not British.”

A.J. Jacobs, editor-at-large, Esquire: “I personally think that anyone who uses nautical language when they’re not on a boat, that should be considered a sin. Like, ‘I gotta hit the head,’ or people who call you ‘Captain.’ Things like that. That might be a good one for the 614th commandment.”

What’s the difference between Rosh HaShanah and the secular new year?

Yisrael Campbell, comedian: “I don’t know; do people buy new outfits for new year’s, or just take off their clothes entirely?”

Jesse Oxfeld, senior editor, New York Magazine: “The goyish new year has the advantage of at least always coming on New Year’s Eve, whereas the Jewish holidays are always, as they say, early or late, but never on time.”

On honeycake:

Jon Fisch, comedian: “I like chocolate involved with my cakes, but this looks moist enough – I think I would eat it. [Takes a bite.] It’s gingerbread-y, but it’s not dessert-y. I would eat this for Passover, like if this were somehow Passover-kosher, but if you could just eat it whatever – no.”

On baked goods:

Corey Kahaney, comedian: “There’s cookie and cake wars. Because, y’know, there’s people who live in Rockland County, people who live in Westchester County, people who live in Long Island, and they all have their ‘bakery.’ So they’ll bring, and it’s like ‘I have the black-and-white chocolate-chip poundcake – I brought it, that’s right!’ And so, the other, you know, [says] ‘Oh, yeah? Well, I brought the rugelach from Zabar’s that are like $80 a pound.’ So there’s a definite war with the sweets.”

“Holy Dazed” is part of the programming on The Jewish Channel, which is available on Channel 291 on Cablevision, Channel 528 on Time Warner Cable, and Channel 900 on Verizon FiOS TV.

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