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Temple Institute Tailors Kohanims' Garments

reprinted from Arutz 7
30 Sivan 5768, 03 July 08 01:05

( Since Monday, the Temple Institute in the Old City of Jerusalem has opened a workshop for the tailoring and production of the Priestly Garments to be used by Kohanim (priests) in the Temple service. Priestly garments have not been worn since the destruction of the Second Temple almost 2000 years ago. Each set has a turban, tunic pants and belt which must be individually tailored at a cost of NIS 2,500 per Kohen. At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, himself a Kohen, was measured for a set of the garments.

The garments are the fruits of a worldwide search. Special flaxen thread from India and Turkish mountain worms for the correct shade of crimson are two examples of the necessary materials. "The Temple is not a message (to only) the Jewish people. It reunites the world all around one central prayer house... all the nations will be coming to Jerusalem" the Temple Institute Director said.

Future Temple Jewish Priests Get Fitted For Holy Garments

reprinted from Arutz 7
5 Tammuz 5768, 08 July 08 12:39

by Ze'ev Ben-Yechiel

( As the Jewish People continue their national return to their ancient homeland, tailors at the Temple Institute in Jerusalem’s Old City began taking measurements of Kohanim (the priestly tribe destined to run the Temple services) earlier this month in anticipation of an even bigger event - the dedication of the Third Temple.

The director of the Temple Institute presided over the first-ever fitting of Kohanim for their priestly garments. "Today, in this room, Kohanim are being measured for the first time in 2,000 years for the type of garments they will be wearing in the rebuilt Temple", announced the director to an audience of rabbis, reporters and cameramen on hand to witness the historic event.

The garments of the Kohanim are described in great detail in the Torah. While scale models of the future Temple can be seen in shop windows and the clothes of the Priesthood can be seen hanging on mannequins, the event marked the first time since the destruction of the Second Temple that real-life Kohanim have been measured for the clothing of their holy work in the Temple.

At the beginning of the ceremony, Rabbi Israel Ariel delivered a speech describing the importance of the occasion. “Just like the animal sacrifices atone for the Nation of Israel, so do the clothes of the Kohen,” he remarked. A man named Aviad Jerufi was on hand to model the full uniform of the Kohen, while each individual garment was described.

Pamphlets were then distributed to each Kohen being measured, containing a Jewish legal description of the clothes they were to receive, along with a sheet in which representatives from the Israel Textile Association recorded each Kohen’s head circumference, shoulder width, leg length and other body as the measurements were taken before the audience.

Among the Kohanim being measured were Rabbi Nachman Kahane, brother of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, and Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat. Each Kohen measured received a "Kohen number", with Rabbi Kahane awarded the honorary first number, 1, to much applause. Rabbi Riskin appeared as the next Kohen to be measured, and was assigned the number 2.

Kohanim are required by the Torah to wear a special set of garments while on duty in the Temple, and their priestly attire, known as Begdei Kehuna, is to be worn only during their Temple service.

According to Yaacov Gutfreund and Yitzchak Shechter of the Israel Textile Association, the clothes that the Kohanim measured during the special fitting and are to receive are not intended to be worn during actual Temple service, but are meant to be identical in fabric and dimension to the Begdei Kohanim that they hope and pray to wear when the Holy Temple is rededicated.

The fitting of the High Priest who has a special set of garments will have to wait until then.

Want to be priest in new Temple? Jerusalem shop has just the outfit

reprinted from Haaretz
12:37 07/07/2008

by The Associated Press

In a stuffy basement off an Old City alleyway in Jerusalem, tailors using ancient texts as a blueprint have begun making a curious line of clothing that they hope will be worn by priests in a reconstructed Temple - the spiritual center of Judaism destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E.

The project, run by a Jerusalem group called the Temple Institute, is part of an ideology that advocates making practical preparations for the rebuilding of the ancient Temple on the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism and the site of the remains of the last Temple, the Western Wall.

For the past 1,300 years, the site has also been the location of Islam's third-holiest shrine, the Noble Sanctuary, including the golden Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The conflicting claims to this area in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Temple Institute has made priestly garments in the past for display in the small museum it runs in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, but those were hand-sewn and cost upward of $10,000 each.

The institute recently received rabbinic permission to begin using sewing machines for the first time, bringing the cost down and allowing them to produce dozens or hundreds of garments, depending on how many orders come in.

If you are a descendant of the Jewish priests, a full outfit, including an embroidered belt 32 biblical cubits (15 meters) long, can be yours for about $800.

"Before, the clothes we made were to go on display. Now we're engaged in the practical fulfillment of the divine commandment," said the Temple Institute's director, at a ceremony marking the workshop's opening last week.

The thread, six-ply flax, was purchased in India, and the diamond-patterned fabric was woven in Israel. The blue dye, which the Bible calls tchelet, is made from the secretions of a snail found in the Mediterranean Sea, and the red color comes from an aphid found on local trees.

The priests, made up of descendants of the Biblical figure Aaron, were an elite group entrusted with the Temple and its rituals, such as sacrificing animals and making other offerings to God. The memory of belonging to that class has been preserved by Jews through the centuries. Their most common family name is Cohen, meaning priest.

The Temple Institute and similarly minded believers think those modern priests will soon have to resume the rituals of their ancestors in a rebuilt Temple, and that by preparing their garments they are bringing that day closer.

"The light of God is coming back, and it's happening before our eyes," the director said. "By sewing garments for the temple priests, his institute is continuing a process that was neglected for 2,000 years," he said.

The Temple Institute does not advocate violent action and says its activities are purely educational. But groups like the institute, however marginal, have played on Muslim fears that Jews plan to destroy their holy sites to pave the way for rebuilding the Temple.

Adnan Husseini, formerly the top Muslim official at the site and now an adviser on Jerusalem affairs to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called the work of such groups a provocation.

"If they talk about building the third Temple, what does it mean? It means they will destroy the Islamic mosques," Husseini said. "And if they do, they will make 1.5 billion enemies. It is God's will that this is a place for Muslims to pray, and they must respect that."

The first Jewish Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians 2,500 years ago, and the second was leveled by the Romans in the year 70. Since then, Judaism's focus has changed drastically, from a Temple-centered ritual of animal sacrifice led by priests to a faith revolving around individual study and piety taught by rabbis.

Most Orthodox Jews see the rebuilding of the Temple as a theoretical event to be undertaken by God when the Jewish people are deemed deserving of it, and Judaism has traditionally forbidden making practical preparations of this kind.

But this small group made up of members of a hardline fringe among Israel's religious nationalists, view that thinking as an excuse for inaction.

"From the moment we see we're ready here, the clothes will be ready and the priests can get to work when the time comes," said Hagai Barashi, an assistant tailor. He wore a Biblical-looking robe, long sidelocks, and a pair of Nike flip-flops.

The first member of the priestly class who came to be measured was Nachman Kahana, a local rabbi. He removed his black jacket, and tailor Aviad Jarufi, a small man in a white robe and horn-rimmed glasses, took out his green measuring tape. The priestly garments can't be sold off the rack - Jewish law specifies that they must be made to measure.

Yisrael Ariel, the rabbi who founded the Temple Institute, recited a traditional blessing, thanking God for keeping us alive, and sustaining us, and enabling us to reach this time.

Ariel, an expert on Temple ritual who was present as a soldier when Israel captured the Old City from Jordan in 1967, is associated with the extreme flank of Israel's religious settlement movement. In the 1980s, he was the No. 2 man on a virulently anti-Arab parliamentary list that was eventually outlawed for racism.

His institute is dedicated to recreating the implements used in the Temple not only as a historical exercise but as a way to prepare for its reconstruction and, if possible, to speed up the process. In its 20 years of existence, the institute has recreated a golden seven-branched candelabra that cost $3 million, as well as harps, altars and containers for incense.

Many of the objects are on display in the institute's museum, which also has a gift shop selling Temple-themed souvenirs like puzzles, balsa-wood models and board games. There are also posters depicting the Temple in Jerusalem, standing where the Dome of the Rock does now.

Many see the agenda as explosive.

"The more awareness you raise, and the more you stress that Judaism isn't real without the Temple, the more you're encouraging conflict over holy space in Jerusalem," said Gershom Gorenberg, an Israeli historian and journalist who wrote, The End of Days, a book about the struggle over the Temple Mount.

Third Temple Preparations Begin with Priestly Garb

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Jul. 1, 2008

by Danielle Kubes

Wearing a turban and a light blue tunic threaded with silver, a man stands in a workshop in Jerusalem's Old City beside spools of white thread affixed to sewing machines. A painting of high priests performing an animal sacrifice beside the First Temple illustrates the function of the room.

On Monday, the Temple Institute started preparing to build a Third Temple on Jerusalem's Mount Moriah, the site of the Dome of the Rock and the Aksa mosque, by inaugurating a workshop that manufactures priestly garments.

After Efrat Chief Rabbi Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, a Kohen himself, gets measured for his own set of Kohanim garments, Aviad Jeruffi, the clothing's designer, strums "To Ascend to the Temple Mount" on his guitar in celebration.

Priestly garments have not been worn since the destruction of the Second Temple by Rome in 70 CE and cannot be functional until a Third Temple is constructed.

Kohanim, priests directly descended from Moses's brother Aaron, are recognized by the Institute as such if their paternal grandfather observed the tradition. Today, they have special religious responsibilities; in days of yore they performed the most significant duties within the Temple.

Approximately one-third of the commandments in the Torah cannot be accomplished without a temple, including the obligations of the Kohanim.

But a Third Temple seems a flighty dream with nightmarish political implications to many, as both a shrine, the Dome of the Rock, and the Aksa mosque, Islam's third holiest structure, currently stand on the Temple Mount.

The director of the Temple Institute, says he assumes Muslims will be supportive when the Temple is ready to be built:

"We already have some Muslims who are secretly in touch with us," he says.

When the Temple is rebuilt, Kohanim must wear the proper outfit to perform their obligations, the director continues.

Each set has a turban, tunic pants and belt and is individually tailored at a cost of NIS 2,500.

"If it were a bathrobe for watching SNL [Saturday Night Live], it would not be worth it. But we're talking about people who have a very strong yearning for working in the Beit Hamikdash [Temple]," says the director.

Years of diligent research was needed to create the garments in conformance with Jewish law.

Special flaxen thread was imported from India and overseas travel was necessary to obtain the correct colors for the clothes, including to Istanbul, to purchase mountain worms from which the correct shade of crimson is derived.

The secret of the correct shade of blue has been lost since the destruction of the Second Temple, as the identity of chilazon, the snail from which it was extracted, was uncertain until the Ptil Tekhelet nonprofit organization identified it as the murex trunculus, aka hexaplex trunculus, the banded dye-murex found near the Mediterranean Sea.

"The Temple is not a message [just for] the Jewish people. It reunites the world all around one central prayer house. All the prophets say that at the End Times all the nations will be coming to Jerusalem and take part of building [the Temple]," the director says.



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