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A Tale of two Kiddush Cups

My Father, Eric Katz, was born in Frankfort Germany in1906. As part of the family tradition he was presented with 2 Kiddush Cups by his grandparents (on both sides of the family!) both suitably inscribed. These cups, as well as a Menorah and an Etrog box were smuggled out of Germany by my grandparents inside specially baked cakes in 1936 when they left Germany for South Africa.
 
Growing up in Bulawayo, the bigger and fancier of the two cups was known as the Cup of Eliyahu Hanavi. Every year at Pesach it was   brought out of the display cabinet, polished and had pride of place at our Seder table. The other simpler cup graced our table every Friday night.
 
In 1961 my parents visited Israel. While my father was busy arranging business matters (amongst other things he sold materials from Ata z"l), my mother was taken on a tour of Jerusalem with a guide provided by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. As she had said she wanted to see places not normally visited, he took her to the old Shaar'e Tzedek hospital. When they arrived, they were told there was a very special event taking place- the Brit of the grandson of the head doctor of the hospital. Who would say "no" to such a special event? Standing quietly at the back of the small room, which also functioned as the synagogue of the hospital, my mother noticed that the grandfather used the 'Eliyahu Hanavi" Kiddush cup! She whispered to her guide that we have such a cup at home and she wished to meet the grandfather.
 
As the ceremony came to an end and my Mom started her approach toward him, he stopped in his tracks and said in German" You must be Freda Prager's daughter". Professor Schlesinger (previously known as the grandfather!) had studied with my grandmother who was a dentist, in Germany at the beginning of the century.
 
My mom asked him about "The Cup". This cup was hand made at the turn of the century- apparently -12 such cups were made- one of which was given to my father when he was born. Another was in the hands of Professor Schlesinger's family. A third cup belongs to my cousins' family.
When our oldest son, Nachshon, was born he received the smaller cup as my father was still alive. The cup of Eliyhu came on Aliya with my mother at the end of 1976 and was duly given to our second son Assael, who was born 3 months earlier. It was used at his wedding and at the brit of his son. Every Seder night it graces our table.
 
During the years a small hole formed at the base of the cup which also lost its shape. When Ron Granot joined us as a member of Kibbutz Yizrael I asked if there was anything that could be done to repair this very special cup- He saw it- heard the story and I think fell in love with it and its story. He repaired and polished it and now it's good for at least another hundred years in the land of Eliyhu Hanavi.
 
 

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