Job opening: High priests needed for ancient Temple ritual

Rhonda Ballance News Editor. E-mail:

Rhonda Ballance News Editor. E-mail:


Kohanim, wearing their priestly garments, blow silver trumpets made by the Temple Institute for use in the Third Temple. Photo courtesy of Temple Institute

JERUSALEM (RNS) An Israeli institute dedicated to building the Third Temple in Judaism’s history is seeking males ritually pure enough to carry out Torah-based commandments that haven’t been performed in nearly 2,000 years.

Earlier this week, the Temple Institute announced a search for a select group of male kohanim, members of the Jewish priestly class, qualified to perform animal sacrifices, including the slaying and burning of a red heifer.

The arcane rituals the institute wants to revive stretch back to the biblical book of Numbers, which stipulates, among other things, that the ashes of an unblemished red cow sacrificed by Jewish priests at the Jerusalem Temple can purify people who come in contact with the dead.

Problem is, a Jewish Temple hasn’t existed since the year 70, when the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans, and  Jews have been led by rabbis, not priests, though they continue to keep track of priestly lineage.