Astonish your guests with a handmade Kiddush wine fountain
The kiddush blessing over the Shabbat wine is a beautiful ritual celebrated in Jewish homes whenever people gather for a meal. The wine (or grape juice substitute) is traditionally poured into a special kiddush cup to be blessed. The mug is passed around the table, and everyone present takes a small sip.
There’s no ritual or religious obligation to use a special Kiddush cup for the Sabbath blessing. Still, many families have their own silver Kiddush cup to honor the arrival of Shabat. Family Kiddush cups are often heirlooms inherited from parents or grandparents or received as wedding gifts.
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What is a Kiddush Fountain Used For?
A Kiddush fountain or wine fountain is a fantastic device that simultaneously fills up to twenty Kiddush or traditional Jewish wine cups.
The Kiddush fountain combines a tray for the glasses that function as a baseplate, a stand containing cunningly hidden pipes, and an upright vessel into which you can pour wine.
When you empty a bottle of wine into the top of the fountain, the wine flows evenly through the pipes and fills the glasses.
A wine fountain is a convenient way to fill several glasses at once and is a lot of fun. If you take pride in your Shabbat table, you’ll love how a beautiful silver (or colored aluminum) Kiddush fountain becomes a stunning centerpiece.
What do you put in a Kiddush Cup?
Most people put red table wine in their Kiddush cups. White wine may also be used (although preferably not for Seders), but it is not a traditional choice. Red wine was a staple in the ancient world, and Israel was famed for the bounty of its vineyards.
Our ancestors generally used whatever wine they had to hand for the Kiddush. Usually, only the high priests or royalty insisted on saying Kiddush over the finest vintages.
Can Grape Juice be used for Kiddush?
Wine is valued as a product of the grapevine (pri hagefen – פרי הגפן), and it’s perfectly acceptable to put non-alcoholic grape juice in a Kiddush cup.
There are well-known brands of Kiddush grape juice on sale in Israel that are popular with people who don’t drink alcohol or don’t want to give wine to their kids.
If you squeezed the juice out of a handful of grapes in your kitchen, you could put it in a Kiddush cup and say the blessing.
If you choose to put wine in your Kiddush cup, why not try an excellent Israeli red? The Israeli wine industry is flourishing, and the best wines regularly win international acclaim.
You can easily find a good bottle from the Galil, Golan, or Shomron areas. It’s worth putting aside a few bottles for Passover or Rosh HaShanah.
Can you use Apple Juice for Kiddush?
Suppose you don’t have wine or grape juice for Kiddush. In that case, it’s permitted to recite the Friday evening Kiddush over challah or to use another alcoholic drink (chamar medina) as a substitute for wine.
The ancient Jewish sages and scholars never considered the possibility of using apple juice for Kiddush, and it’s probably better to let sleeping dogs lie in that respect.
If you don’t have wine or grape juice, recite Kiddush over the challah. Put some whisky or brandy in your Kiddush cup if you messed up and didn’t have challah.
How Early can you say Kiddush?
The welcoming of Erev Shabbat, or the Sabbath Eve, begins with the ritual candle lighting shortly before sunset.
The Shabbat dinner can begin any time after the sunset, although in the middle of winter (when it can become dark in the late afternoon), many families will wait until later in the evening. If you want to say an early Kiddush, you could set the table and begin with the blessings in the twilight.
The official timings of Shabbat change continually throughout the year. Most modern Jewish families observe the general principles of Shabbat and go with whatever is convenient.
If you have a house full of small kids or hungry teens, you might not want to wait for the sunset at the height of summer. If you live in Scandinavia, Shabbat won’t arrive until 10:30 pm in July.
Can any Cup be a Kiddush Cup?
Yes – any cup can be a Kiddush cup (although some Jews won’t use a disposable cup). The mug is just a utensil; what’s important is the wine or grape juice and the actual blessing.
If you want to sanctify Shabbat and don’t have a traditional Kiddush cup – or even a cup – you can use any convenient vessel to hold the wine.
People buy ornate silver Kiddush cups to honor the ritual and create a beautiful Shabbat table. A silver Kiddush cup is a perfect match if you have silver Shabbat candlesticks and a polished hardwood challah board on a pristine linen tablecloth.
Kiddush is a ritual that helps to bind the family together, and a handmade Kiddush cup from Jerusalem is a family possession that everybody will handle from earliest childhood.
An element of ceremony and ritual is important – even if you are strictly secular – and a luxury Kiddush cup helps to create some of that magic.
How much should a Kiddush Cup Hold?
Ideally, a Kiddush cup should hold at least 4 1/2 ounces of wine. If you have a large family or a lot of Shabbat guests, you might prefer a giant cup.
The cup should contain enough wine to be passed around the table and allow everybody a sip.
Kiddush fountain sets come with small beaker-style wine cups (Becher in Yiddish). Single Kiddush cups come in all sizes, including large goblets.
If you also plan to display your Kiddush cup as an ornament during the week, or you want to buy an item of collectible Judaica, a large Kiddush cup can be a great choice.
Collectors’ items include the luxury onyx and sterling silver Kiddush cup, handcrafted in the style of an ancient goblet, and the excellent grapevine Kiddush cup set with amethysts.
How do I Buy a Kiddush Cup?
If you’re looking for a good quality Kiddush cup that will become a family heirloom, buying handmade Judaica from Israel is the best option. It may be possible to save a few bucks if you buy a Kiddush cup from a Turkish factory, but it’s usually a false economy.
The Kiddush blessing is an ancient ritual celebrated in Biblical Israel and has survived all the tumults and disasters of Jewish history.
A handmade Kiddush cup from Jerusalem (crafted within walking distance of the Wailing Wall) is a unique link to the past. It creates a spiritual connection to the holy city of Jerusalem whenever you bless the Shabbat wine.
You can buy a modern or traditional Kiddush cup online and choose from 925 sterling silver or brightly colored anodized aluminum designs. Our Jerusalem silversmiths are experts at decorating silver Kiddush cups and fountains with intricate silver filigree work.
The silver filigree continues the renowned jewelry traditions of the Yemenite Jews who established themselves as Jerusalem’s leading silversmiths.
Other forms of decoration include silver solder, beading, and stamping, often combined with shiny colored enamel. Luxury Kiddush cups can feature polished onyx and gemstones like amethysts, lapis, and emeralds.
The finest jeweled Kiddush cup sets are inspired by the tableware used in the royal palaces of the Bible. As far as we can tell, they closely resemble goblets used by King Solomon and King David.
Buy a Customized Kiddush Fountain or Kiddush Set
Our English-speaking designers love new challenges and will be delighted to help you to create the perfect customized Kiddush cup.
You can take an existing cup from the 2023 collection in our online store and add your family name, a blessing or dedication, or any symbol that will fit.
Alternatively, we can start from scratch and design a unique Kiddush set for your family or as a special gift. Talk to us today, or if you’re in Jerusalem, you’re welcome to call the store and see our full range of designs.
The beauty and tradition of a Kiddush wine fountain will add lasting impressions to any Shabbat gathering. Whether you are looking for an ornate traditional piece, a modern update, or something custom and unique, there is sure to be something that matches your needs.
Remember the ancient symbolism of blessing within a kiddush cup while enjoying the delightful taste of sweet grape juice in your kiddush wine fountain.
Crafted with care and attention to detail, a high-quality kiddush fountain will be something you will enjoy breaking out every Shabbat for generations to come!
With so many options available online at various price points, you’ll undoubtedly be able to find the perfect kiddush cup or customized set for your home!