Presidential Hopeful Ted Cruz Plans Passover Speaking Tour to Pander to Jewish Donors

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Earlier this month, Rick Perry compared the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah to the Boston Tea Party, in a clear attempt to pander to Jewish Republican donors who might finance his campaign. Not to be outdone, another Texas Republican presidential hopeful, Senator Ted Cruz, has booked a gig “as a featured attraction at a string of ritzy resort vacation getaways catering to religious Jews” over an even bigger Jewish holiday, Passover.

Cruz is being billed as a speaker at four resorts across the country over Passover–a springtime Jewish holiday that celebrates the freedom of Jewish slaves from Egypt. (Because there’s no better reason to sing “Let My People Go” than being held captive in a room with Ted Cruz.) All four resorts are owned by the Prime Hospitality Group, a company that “runs a string of high-end kosher restaurants” and is now branching out into vacation experiences. The resorts where Cruz is listed as speaking are located in Westlake Village and Monarch Beach, California; Aspen, Colorado; and Vieques Island, Puerto Rico.

The Prime Hospitality Group’s invitation to the events references several rituals of the Seder, the traditional Passover meal, reading in part: “4 Questions. 4 Cups of Wine. 4 Sons. And 4 Luxurious Prime Passover Programs. …All featuring unparalleled service and The Prime Group’s legendary cuisine.”

As Politico reported the Prime Hospitality Group is promising a series of conversations with Cruz and several notable rabbis. In Westlake, CA, the event is billed as:

    “intimate and personal, and will feature the inspiring Rabbi Eli Mansour, Rabbi Daniel Mechanic, Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, Malcolm Hoenlein and Senator Ted Cruz, surpassing all expectations.”

Meanwhile, in Monarch Beach, CA, the Prime Hospitality Group is offering:

    “some of the greatest rabbis and scholars of our time including Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Eli Mansour, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Senator Ted Cruz.”

Cruz has been spending a great deal of time in New York and California recently, courting major Republican donors in an effort to shore up his upcoming presidential campaign. Last month, Ted Cruz backtracked and declared himself not “all that conservative” in an attempt to appeal to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. There’s no word yet on how Cruz plans to spin himself with this next group of wealthy Jewish donors, but since the speeches will be given during Passover it’s likely that his speech will focus on Israel and freedom, two of Cruz’s favorite topics. In fact, given the context of Passover (a holiday that emphasizes freedom) and the size of Cruz’s ego, Cruz comparing himself to Moses is probably not out of the question.

Although the Prime Hospitality Group’s ads list Ted Cruz as the speaker at all four resort events, Cruz’s spokespeople insist that he’s only speaking at one event (good news for the millions of Jews thinking that just one Ted Cruz Passover speech would have been enough.) According to a Cruz adviser, he is only scheduled to speak in Monarch Beach on April 8, where he also has a fundraiser. The other listings are apparently the result of “well-meaning program organizers overstat[ing]his participation.”

Subtlety is not Ted Cruz’s strong suit, so it comes as no surprise that his latest attempt at pandering is so blatant. Fortunately for those who will be in attendance, they’ll have the Seder’s four required glasses of wine to help them get through it.

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About Author

Katie Singh

Katie grew up in Austin and has been involved in Texas politics since 2004. She has been a part of several campaigns, from state house races to working at President Obama's campaign headquarters in 2012. She loves public policy, public health, and tacos. Katie tweets from @kasingh19.

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