Seders and Cigars
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.