KIDDUSH AND KIDDUSH GLASSES
Most often, customers are offered silver pair Saturday candlesticks, Hanukkah lamps, all kinds of aromatics, pointers and the so-called “kid glasses” or, depending on the shape, size, “kid’s glasses” created on the territory of the Russian Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The same products, sometimes from earlier eras and mainly from Western European production, are presented and bought at Sotheby’s and Christie’s auctions. As a rule, the price of such antiques is quite high, which is explained not so much by the artistic merits of the products, as by their unusualness and rarity.
Jewish art, which is closely connected with religion and the cult ritualism of everyday life, was not appreciated until relatively recently. Even the bearers of the tradition themselves did not realize the cultural and historical importance of their art, its role in the system of universal values.
The first attempts to study the monuments of Judaica relate only to the second half of the 19th century, when the so-called “Jewish antiquities” were shown at two large international exhibitions – in Paris (1878) and in London (1879). Aroused interest began to express itself in the fact that in many places of compact residence in Europe, Jewish communities began to collect objects related to both the synagogue and home life of their members. Such monuments were included in the collections of some museums, for example, the British Museum, as well as in the National Museum in Prague, where the Jewish ghetto, which existed from the XI-XII centuries, was significant and played an important role in the life of the city.
At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Poland, where Jews accounted for a significant percentage of the population, large private collections appeared, which eventually formed the basis of Jewish collections at the Museum of Greater Poland in Poznan, the National Museum in Krakow, the Lublin Museum and the National Museum in Warsaw, as well as at the Museum of Industry in Lviv.
In Russia, until 1917, Judaica was represented in museums only as separate, as a rule, random objects. The situation changed dramatically after the October Revolution. The policy of the government had a pronounced anti-religious orientation. Closed not only churches and monasteries, but also synagogues. Their property, primarily religious articles made of precious metals, was nationalized, and then partially transferred to museums. Considering that a significant part of the country’s Jewish population lived in the USSR exactly in Ukraine, it cannot be considered a coincidence that in Kiev in the Museum of Historical Treasures (a branch of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine) there was a rich collection of synagogue and home (shuttle) silver. According to the stories of museum employees, before the Great Patriotic War, this collection was sent to Moscow, to Gokhran, where 20 years lay in unpacked boxes, and then was returned to Kiev in 1961.
Thanks to this, the unique collection has been preserved, but not perished during the years of the fascist occupation. Today in Russia, the most significant collections of Judaica are in the Museum of Ethnography (St. Petersburg) and the State Historical Museum (Moscow).
Before considering certain categories of monuments of Judaica, it is necessary to first dwell on the features common to all European art.
All the main stages of life were accompanied by specially designed objects, the shape and decor of which were determined in ancient times. However, the methods of decorating them sometimes changed, but only in details. This happened under the influence of the art of the countries of residence.
The kiddush glasses (or glasses) presented in this work were used in one of the most important rites, which could be performed in the house of an Orthodox Jew or in a synagogue on a big holiday.
The most revered events of the Jewish ritual year include those holidays that are associated with the biblical commandments, and the main one is the Day of Rest – Shabbat – Saturday – The seventh day after six days of Creation, when the whole world and man were created. The celebration of the Sabbath begins on Friday evening and continues the whole next day. First, Saturday lights are lit, which have a special shape and decor. Then they say kiddush (sanctification) – a rite takes place through which the blessing of God upon people is invoked. At home, Kiddush is pronounced before the Sabbath meal, in the synagogue, after prayer. At the same time, vessels with wine and a special wicker Sabbath hala are blessed. Traditionally, it was considered a great merit to have wine for kiddush, for the sake of its acquisition people often parted with the most valuable property. Often, a carved inscription emphasizing the significance of Kiddush was made on a glass for ritual wine, which was translated as follows: “Remember Saturday Day and keep it in Holiness. Honor him with the blessing of wine. ”
The ritual of God’s blessing (kiddush) is also part of the wedding ceremony, when the bride and groom drink wine from one glass of a larger size, on a low leg, with a bowl in the shape of a vase.