If you’re still in a High Holy Days state of mind, there’s a place to turn on cable TV.
“On the Jewish New Year, I get a migraine from my mother,” says comedian Caty Lazarus. “On the secular New Year, you get a hangover from champagne or vodka”
That’s one of the observations posited by a wide range of commentators, most of them in their 20s and 30s, in the debut of “Holy Dazed,” a new series on The Jewish Channel that offers whimsical perspectives on Jewish festivals. Episode 1 is titled “Rosh HaShanah.” (Like all Jewish Channel programming, “Holy Dazed” has no time slot and is available 24/7 for the channel’s subscribers. Check with your cable provider for availability.)
In quick, un-narrated sound bites, such personalities as Matisyahu, the chasidic reggae artist; Maer Radosh, publisher of Radar magazine; and Jessica Grose of Jezebel.com give their often witty, sometimes poignant reflections of what the Jewish holidays mean to them, and how they contrast from secular observances. Former Mayor Ed Koch also makes an appearance.
To Jew-by-choice comedian Yakov Campbell, the shofar is a symbol of “old school religion. You can buy a new outfit at Bonwit Teller, but you can’t suburbanize religion.”
But to chasidic rapper Y-Love, an African American convert to Judaism, “the shofar makes me think I did something wrong.” He adds that the holidays offer us the choice “to be better and fix ourselves, or to go out and get piss drunk and wake up with illegitimate children on the way.”
Elie Singer, CEO of Compass Media, parent company of The Jewish Channel, says “Holy Dazed,” produced by Steven Weiss and Rebecca Friedman, stemmed from a desire to reach a younger demographic.
“What’s interesting about this production is that in a lot of ways it shows how unified our customs are,” said Singer. “There is so much commonality. It really doesn’t matter what your denominational affiliation is, there is so much that is universal.”
Looking through the pages of the machzor, the Rosh HaShanah prayer book, author Ben Radosh notes “it helps to have everyone together say that we are guilty [of sins] and if one of these is yours, it helps to say it all together.”
In a lighter vein, brothers Seth and Isaac Galena, founders of the humor site BangItOut.com, ponder whether one should forgive the other for signing into his Facebook account and sending phony messages.
Episode 2 deals with Yom Kippur, and the producers are looking ahead to other Jewish holidays.