Several hundred people on Monday attended a “rehearsal” for the Passover sacrifice, held in a schoolyard in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood of Jerusalem. The lamb was slaughtered by kohanim (members of the priestly class) who performed the various stages of the sacrifice through the roasting of the lamb and eating it.
It was a show of strength by Temple Mount activists – and this year they had additional reasons to celebrate, including the recovery of senior activist Yehuda Glick from an assassination attempt and the possibility that the next cabinet will include three ministers (Habayit Hayehudi’s Uri Ariel, and Likud’s Miri Regev and Tzipi Hotoveli) who enthusiastically support changing the Temple Mount’s status quo to allow Jewish prayer.
Support from the rabbinical establishment came in the form of Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern, who attended the ceremony and gave organizers his blessing. Despite all this, the practical aspects of the ceremony were a bit pathetic, exposing the gap between the imagination and Halakha and the real world. Outside the event there was a protest by several dozen animal rights activists, who got into arguments with ceremony participants.
Those present included Kach activists, known right-wing figures, veterans of the Jewish Underground of the 1980s, and lots of families with children. Though the children were invited to a presentation about the Temple Mount when the slaughter took place, most preferred to stay to learn the lamb’s fate. The lamb was actually slaughtered out of the audience’s sight. Afterward the kohanim poured the lamb’s blood onto an altar, and the lamb was shown to the crowd after it had been skinned. Its organs were placed on the altar and a large skewer was inserted into its body. It was then roasted and the meat was distributed to those present.
The organizers stressed that this was not the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, but a rehearsal for the real thing. “So that we’ll know what to do, so that we can feel this ancient experience,” said Arnon Segal, a Temple Mount activists and the event’s emcee. The real Passover sacrifice must be on Passover eve, toward evening, on the Temple Mount.
“The minute the government approves, we know exactly how to do it,” Segal said, noting that the Temple Mount Institute in Jerusalem’s Old City had a portable altar ready that could be set up at the proper place within minutes.