My Big fat Jewish Passover Blog by Steve Nathan

Moses Malone

For all of our Jewish cigar-smoking friends (which is about 99% of you), Monday at sundown down is the first night of the Passover holiday. And for eight crazy days, the Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation over 3,300 years ago by God from slavery in ancient Egypt and their birth as a nation under the leadership of Moses Malone, the legendary basketball Hall-of-Famer who played 19 years in the NBA. Wait! I’m confusing him with the original Moses (Charlton Heston)! Oy, I had a bad knish for lunch and I’m feeling a little verklempthere. Sorry!


Well, as I mentioned, it is estimated that 999 out of 1,000 Jewish men smoke cigars. Why, you ask? Because this gives them something to chew on while their yenta wives are nagging them for the Gold card so they can take the Caddy and go shopping at Bloomie’s




Oh, quit complaining! I know this is a stereotype, but I too am, as they say, “a member of the tribe,” so I have the right to make fun of my people… plus it’s fun! Some folks even call me a self-hating Jew because I poke fun at my peeps and I haven’t been to temple since my Bar Mitzvah. Actually, my parents took me one other time after I officially became a mensch(man). It was on a fateful Rosh Hashanah in 1970 when, right in the middle of the service, Abe Weintraub started passing wind until he cleared out all of aisle six (our aisle). Rumor has it that until his dying day, Abe swore it was the man sitting next to him.


So what the hell does this have to do with cigars? You want I should explain? Well, for one thing, Abe was a big Dutch Masters smoker, and secondly (have patience), I’m getting to the cigar part already. Jeez, you guys are driving me meshuggah (crazy)!




Let me give all you goyim (non-Jews) a brief rundown of the traditional spread that is celebrated on this holiday. The Passover Seder is a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover, and is conducted on the evenings of the 14th day of Nisan (not to be confused with the company that makes the Altima and Sentra) in the Hebrew calendar, and on the 15th by traditionally observant Jews living outside of Israel or Bayonne, New Jersey. Why Bayonne? Who knows?

Seder customs include drinking four cups of wine, eating matzo and partaking of symbolic foods such as horseradish, apples, nuts and lamb (coincidentally, these are some of the exact same flavor notes found on most cigars rated by Cigar Aficionado!). All of these symbolic foods are elegantly and traditionally placed on the Passover Seder table. There is a lot more to this ritual custom, but this is a blog not Hebrew School and, honestly, that’s all I know. Don’t forget that, although I am very proud of my culture, I have not attended a Jewish service since that fateful day when Weintraub cut the cheese.


Anyway, the Seder is performed in much the same way by Jews all over the world (except, oddly enough, in Ethiopia, where the women retreat to the den to watch Jeopardy! and the men line up outside on the porch and do the Harlem Shake. Why? Once again, I don’t know).


As all lovers of the leaf will acknowledge, after a lip-smacking Seder and four glasses of Manischewitz wine (which, in my opinion, tastes like a mixture of prune juice and paint thinner), nothing cleanses the palate like a good cigar. So now, fellow landsman (that’s what we Jews call each other. Just Google it; I’m getting tired of explaining everything! Enough already), is the perfect time to get out the stun gun so you can pry your credit card out of your wife’s sweaty hands and place an order with J•R for some fine Passover cigars.


Oh, and a special thanks to the Alec Bradley Company, which has made a very limited-edition Passover cigar just like they did on St. Paddy’s day with the Filthy Hooligan. This one is called Filthy Bernstein and it’s a solid, earthy smoke with subtle hints of gefilte fish, lox and pickled herring. Hurry… because this cigar doesn’t really exist! So I lied, shoot me!


On a serious note, may you all have a wonderful and blessed holiday. Enjoy good food, family, friends and some fine cigars. Chag Pesach Sameach! Happy Passover from our family at J•R to yours.


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