24 April 2019
The eighth annual reenactment of a Passover sacrifice conducted under the auspices of members of the Temple Movement took place in the Old City of Jerusalem on April 15. Approximately 1000 people gathered in the Galicia Courtyard, a rooftop area over a Palestinian souk in unseasonal rain. They were there to witness the Kohanim – in the Biblically mandated garb – perform the ceremony in a manner that is claimed to mirror ancient rituals.
The ceremony was accompanied by blasts from silver horns. A band played songs based on the Hallel service, a prayer service composed of verses from Psalms.
A goat was slaughtered and its blood was collected in a special vessel designed with a pointed base so that it may not be placed down to rest. The blood was spilled out on a model of the altar.
The goat was prepared roasted whole on a long pomegranate branch in the manner supposedly described in the Torah and served to settlers gathered to witness the reenactment.
Mordechai Persoff, head of the Mikdash Educational Center, a non-profit organization for education about the ‘Temple’, helped organize the event.
Persoff was encouraged by “improvements” he has seen over the years.
“The event used to be treated as incitement by extremists,” Persoff said. “Several secular media and filmmakers are attending these events on a regular basis and have come to realize that this is not political or extremist. This is an educational reenactment of something that was an essential element of the Jewish people that is explicitly described in the Bible. When the media view the reenactment in that light, they are very accepting.”
Many rabbis criticize the current ritual, saying it must wait until the Temple is built and consecrated.
Others, however, counter that the reenactment is carried out for educational purposes and for instilling the desire to build the Temple, and is not the actual ceremony.