What’s the most efficient way to hasten the Messianic age?

How about a crowdfunding campaign.

It might not have to do with potato salad, but the Temple Institute, a non-profit educational and religious organization located in Jerusalem’s Old City, is on to something. The Institute just launched crowd-funding efforts on Indiegogo (a website akin to Kickstarter) to raise $100,000. Their end-goal: to rebuild the third Temple on the Temple mount, in all its biblical glory and detail.

Since today is the Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av, commemorating the destruction of the first and second temples, there seems no better time to launch the campaign. “Don’t make history. Make the future. Build the Temple,” the page urges.

A $36 donation will bring you to the Levitical choir level. A $54 donation to the high priest garments level. A $120 donation will bring you to the incense offering level, and a $500 donation (claimed by seven so far) will earn you a platinum family membership.

But Temple 3.0 won’t stop there. According to the campaign page, the third Temple will boast some serious new-age swag, including full computerization, docks for public transportation, wheelchair access, temperature control, elevators and underground parking.

Though elements of the modern age will enhance the new model, the Temple Institute remains dedicated to recreating the days of yore. The Institute’s mission-statement claims they are “dedicated to every aspect of the Biblical commandment to build the Holy Temple of G-d on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem,” including the sacrificial rituals that haven’t been performed in two thousand years.

Almost $17,000 of the $100K goal has already been achieved. This beginning sum will pay for the “architectural plans for the actual construction,” the campaign description explains.

Though several esoteric Jewish texts indicate that the third temple will descend, fully-formed, from heaven, the Temple Institute has admitted that this impressive function will not be part of the campaign goals. Nor will the temple be rebuilt through violent means, as many prophetic Jewish texts predict. Instead, “the third Temple will be built through human effort in the natural course of human events,” the campaign reads.

Additionally, the temple will be a house of prayer for "all nations," not just Jews.

Still, there is no explanation for how the Insitute will get around the rather significant problem of the Dome of the Rock or the Al Aqsa mosque, the two Islamic structures that currently occupy Mt. Moriah. Judging by the current situation in Israel, the spontaneous removal of these two structures would cause some unrest (let alone another world war).

Despite these concerns, the campaign is off to an auspicious start. On Tisha B’Av, Jews around the world gather to pray for their speedy return to Jerusalem and an end to a prolonged and persecuted exile.

If the Temple Institute succeeds with its ambitious plan, that day might be headed our way sooner than anticipated.

editor@jewishweek.org