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April 5, 1999

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:SP:225 D89022


TARIFF NO.: 9505.90.6000

Mr. Asher Rubinstein
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman, LLP 245 Park Ave. 33rd Floor
New York, N.Y. 10167-3397

RE: The tariff classification of a ceramic Elijah Cup from the Philippines and China

Dear Mr. Rubinstein:

In your letter dated March 9, 1999 you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client Aviv Judaica Imports, Ltd.

The item is a ceramic Elijah Cup used as part of the Seder. Measuring approximately seven inches tall, the cup sits upon a matching saucer. The cup has the words “Elijah Cup” in English and in Hebrew on one side of its outer surface. The Elijah Cup is used once a year, as a specific part of the Seder dinner which celebrates the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Items of ceramic are generally classified in Chapter 69. However, as a result of Midwest of Cannon Falls consideration must be given to the possibility of classification within Heading 9505.

In the Informed Compliance Handbook Classification of Festive Articles, various Holidays and motifs were listed which were identified as accepted holidays and their appropriate symbols. Passover was not on that list. However, in that same handbook it was stated that the listed holidays and symbols were not definitive, and additional holidays and motifs would be added. Since the posting of the Informed Compliance Handbook on the world wide web in November of 1997, Passover has become an accepted holiday.

In Midwest the Court considered as Festive Articles certain items which were advertised and sold to consumers before the particular holiday with which they were associated. It was determined that the items must be used in celebration of and for entertainment on a joyous holiday. It would appear that Passover meets the court’s standard of a joyous holiday. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica: Passover, is a “holiday commemorating the Hebrews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt and the ‘passing over’ of the forces of destruction, or the sparing of the firstborn of the Israelites, when the Lord ‘smote the land of Egypt’ on the eve of the Exodus.”

Further, the Elijah Cup is an item specifically associated with the celebration in the home of this joyous occasion. Again citing the Encyclopedia Britannica:

“Passover is often celebrated with great pomp and ceremony, especially on the fist night, when a special family meal, called the Seder is held. At the Seder foods of symbolic significance commemorating the Hebrews’ liberation are eaten, and prayers and traditional recitations are performed.”

“Elijah’s cup is the fifth ceremonial cup of wine poured during the family Seder dinner on Passover. It is left untouched in honour of Elijah, who, according to tradition, will arrive one day as an unknown guest to herald the advent of the Messiah. During the Seder dinner, biblical verses are read while the door is briefly opened to welcome Elijah...”

Like the Seder plate, the Elijah Cup, is used to entertain in the home during Passover and at no other time.

By classifying the Elijah Cup within Heading 9505, the Elijah Cup is recognized as an accepted article of the Passover holiday.

The applicable subheading for the Elijah Cup will be 9505.90.6000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles,....: Other: Other. The rate of duty will be free.

The sample has been returned as requested.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Alice J. Wong at (212) 637-7028.


Robert B. Swierupski
Director National Commodity
Specialist Division

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