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Seders & Cigars

About the film:


Watch the Tampa Theatre trailer here:


“Seders & Cigars – A History of Jews in Tampa” is a story of America.  In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, facing conscription and consequent persecution in Europe, Jewish immigrants came to Tampa, particularly West Tampa and Ybor City, and opened retail businesses to support the demand created by the rapidly expanding cigar industry. Family members and extended family members followed one another here in search of a better life.


Like their fellow immigrants from Spain, Italy, Sicily, Cuba, Bavaria, and other parts of the world who worked in and around the Tampa cigar industry, the Jewish families brought with them their own traditions. This included the Seder (say-der) a ritual dinner celebrated every spring to commemorate Passover, the ancient story of the deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.


The 71-minute documentary explores a variety of themes including overcoming quotas on Jewish immigration, the challenge of maintaining extended family bonds in a competitive economic environment, cultural assimilation, the nexus of anti-Semitism and segregation, and the rise of women in politics in Tampa and beyond.


 “Seders & Cigars” premiered in March 2019 at the Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival and is the result of four years of interviews and editing by filmmaker Barbara Rosenthal. The film features archival family photos and documents, home movie footage, and audio recordings from decades old oral histories, allowing these stories to be shared through the eyes and words of the primary participants and witnesses.


About the filmmaker:


For over three decades in the film and video industry, Barbara Rosenthal has actively sought out projects that educate, inspire, and broaden our understanding of important issues.  Rosenthal has lent her talents in a variety of areas – as a producer, director, writer, editor, narrator, audio designer, and as a composer of film scores.


A Miami native, Rosenthal is a 1987 graduate of Western Carolina University and lives in West Tampa with her partner, Chris, and two happy rescue dogs.




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Seders & Cigars

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