The Temple Institute, dedicated to reestablishing the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and in keeping its memory alive, announced it is opening a school for training Levitical priests for their eventual service in a new temple.
The institute ran several pilot programs in recent years and now "is embarking on a mission to teach Kohanim all the practical skills required to serve in the Third Holy Temple," it said in a statement.
The institute has opened an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise at least $75,000 for the project.
The Temple Institute hopes one day to replace the Dome of the Rock with the Third Holy Temple, but not by violent means. Observant Jews pray for that to happen in every daily prayer service, with some awaiting the appearance of the Messiah and others believing that they must act to bring the Messiah closer.
Muslim religious and political leaders, however, use this to fan fears that Israel will change the status quo that has kept the site in control of a Jordanian authority, known as the Waqf. Speeches meant to inflame believers have led to repeated clashes over the years and were used to inspire a recent wave of murderous terrorist attacks aimed at Israelis.
The Wakf stayed in power at the end of the 1967 Six Day War when the Temple Mount returned to Jewish hands, because the government allowed then CoS Moshe Dayan, who was not at all observant and felt that the Western Wall was enough for Israel, to "give the keys" - that is, control of the site - to the Wakf in vain hope of forging peaceful relations. Since then, rights for Jews have deteriorated to the point that Jewish visitors to the Mount, Judaism's holiest site, may not even utter prayers without being arrested.
The Institute has reconstructed nearly all of the sacred vessels needed to perform the services in a rebuilt Temple in their original size, including the High Priest's breastplate featuring the 12 precious stones of the tribes of Israel, the half-ton golden menorah and the musical instruments of the Levitical choir. Visitors to the Old City can see the beautiful display of these vessels and see creative, animated films on how they were used at the Institute's center in the Jewish Quarter.
The curriculum at the Nezer HaKodesh Institute for Kohanic Studies will include courses on the Temple service, theory and practice and the role and application of modern technology in the Third Temple, according to the Institute.
“We are extremely excited to announce this new step towards the restoration of the Holy Temple service. We call first and foremost upon Kohanim worldwide to support this special project, which signifies a return to their birth right. We have chosen to use Indiegogo as a tool to enable as many people as possible to be a part of this historic initiative,” Rabbi Chaim Richman, international director of the Temple Institute, said in a statement.
The second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.