Barbara Rosenthal


Seders & Cigars

About the film:


When most people think of Jews in Florida they tend to think of South Florida.  And while South Florida saw a huge growth in its Jewish population after World War II, the Tampa area, on Florida’s west coast, has a rich and fascinating history of Jewish inhabitants, most likely dating back to 1846.  The goal of "Seders & Cigars" - an upcoming documentary by filmmaker Barbara Rosenthal - is to expand the narrative of the Jewish experience in America by examining the history of the Jewish experience in Tampa.

In the mid to late 19th century, unlike in many other communities, the Jewish population of Tampa was readily interwoven into the cultural fabric of this growing port town.  Tampa is a community that was built by immigrants - Italians, Spanish, Cubans, and Eastern Europeans all came together to build a city of rich, multi-ethnic traditions.  Ybor City, the commercial heart of Tampa during the late 19th and early part of the 20th centuries, is a prime example of this. Although most of the Jewish owned businesses in Ybor City no longer exist, the surnames of the proprietors can still be seen on the edifices of many buildings lining 7th Avenue - the "main street" of commerce in that era.

Throughout the 20th century, Jews continued to have a huge impact on the Tampa community and beyond - through business and development, politics, the arts, academia, philanthropy, and the ownership of major league sports teams.  This strong tradition of community involvement continues into the 21st century.

"Seders & Cigars" will weave together a series of interviews with the descendents of the founding Jewish families of Tampa, as well as with other members of the community, to bring this important and unique narrative to life and preserve it for future generations.  Filming is set to begin in the spring of 2016, with anticipated completion in the fall of 2016.


About the filmmaker:


Barbara Rosenthal is an award winning filmmaker who 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, and as a composer of film scores. Her most recent documentary project, “You Are the One”, explored the issue of sexual assault on college campuses and efforts to prevent it. Her film “Losing Lois” was awarded the Planet Out/HBO Third Annual Short Film Award for best documentary.


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




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Seders & Cigars

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