Kiddush Cup

Kiddush, the Hebrew blessing over wine, signifies the start of every Sabbath meal, a tradition that has bound and sustained the Jewish family for almost 6,000 years. This Kiddush cup was given to my great, great grandfather Joseph Bernstein in the early 1900’s by the Jewish American Benevolent Association, JABA, to recognize his efforts to organize the JABA Feriein, the JABA Burial Society.   As a Polish immigrant to the United States in the late 1800’s, Zadie Joe’s tailoring skills helped to support his wife Ida and his two American born children Henrietta, and Isidore. Friday night Kiddush was one of the constant threads that helped Bubby Ida and Zadie Joe to raise their new family in America while maintaining their Jewish heritage.    Another familial responsibility, central to Jewish identity is Kavode HaMase, honoring of the dead. There is no higher honor that one can give to another person than properly arranging for their burial, because the deceased can never repay the debt.    Jewish immigrants found themselves without proper means to bury their relatives, so they organized fereins, brotherhoods, to collect funds for burial plots and Jewish funerals.  These brotherhoods became a focus of immigrant social life. The Jewish American Benevolent Association was as group of Polish immigrant garment workers. My Zadie Joe was one of the organizers, and his name can still be found on the JABA section marker at the Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York. 

Place(s): Poland
Year: 1890

– Samantha Lish

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more