A Gift for the Museum
The Goldsmith Museum has been enriched by a new donation of a Betzalel School kiddush cup. The gift comes to us from Dee Silberman, who belongs to another area synagogue, and was donated by the Silberman family in memory of Dee's mother, Irene S. Gogel. The cup is an excellent example of the craftsmanship that came out of the Betzalel School in Jerusalem in the early 20th century. The Betzalel name is engraved on the underside of the base of the cup, and the detailed silverwork is characteristic of the Betzalel style. For several years, I've been looking for Betzalel pieces to add to the collection, and so it is particularly fulfilling to have this gift come our way.
The donor’s decision to bring the cup to us is also important to the synagogue because of its historical importance. When she brought the cup to me, Dee related that her mother bought it from an antiques store on Read Street in downtown Baltimore. Dee remembered that her mother was told by the store owner that this cup was one of a group that belonged to the Friedenwald family. This story is confirmed by an inscription on the cup, “Chaim ben Aharon HaLevi,” which was Harry Friedenwald’s name in Hebrew. Harry was the grandson of one of the founders of Chizuk Amuno, and he continued his family tradition of activism at the synagogue, at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and in support of the Zionist cause.
So, on behalf of Chizuk Amuno, I want to thank Dee Silberman and her family for their generosity. Not only does the museum now own a lovely and valuable Betzalel cup, but we also have acquired another link to the impressive Chizuk Amuno legacy.