The Museum’s collection numbers over 25,00 artifacts, ranging from 18th century one-of-a-kind documents to Yiddish theater costumes to turn of the 20th century typewriters. Our collection includes artifacts of national significance, as well as those that tell the personal stories of everyday American Jews just being American Jews. Today we had the honor of enriching our collection with a one-of-a-kind artifact that artfully, playfully, and poignantly represents the latter.
Adorned with a silver Kiddush cup, golf balls bearing Jewish stars and plaques with Yiddish nicknames, all perched on 4 dreidels, “De Yiddishe Kup,” as it is known, was brought to our attention by Arny Kaplan, a connoisseur of American Judaica and a collector and friend of the Museum. Arny encouraged 4 men in his Lakewood Ranch, Florida retirement community to donate to us their beloved golf trophy—an understatement in every way. For Arny, and for the Museum, this piece of American Jewish folk art represents the camaraderie of one group of Jewish golf buddies “experimenting with the social adventure of retirement that included the challenge of meeting new friends in a new environment and hoping along the way to enjoy life while embracing and fulfilling their Jewish heritage and social traditions.”
As each man spoke at the presentation of the “Kup” to the Museum, it was evident to all those in the room—spouses, family members, staff, and one member of the team participating via Skype—just how much the friendship that developed on the golf course rekindled and encouraged the team members’ and their wives’ Jewish identities, brought to life around the many Shabbat dinners they shared with “De Yiddishe Kup” at the center of the table. We at the museum promise to lovingly and respectfully refer to our new artifact by its formal name, “De Yiddishe Kup,” and we are so grateful to be its new home.
-Contributed by Ivy Weingram