A wizened old man sits on a park bench, studying tractates of talmud. Looking around he sees kids despondently kicking a soccer ball, sitting in a circle playing acoustic guitars, shoving each other half-heartedly. Normal kids stuff, I guess? All of a sudden, the children surround the old man who stand up, looks, and sees the third Jewish Temple of Jerusalem and oh my god it’s amazing. Music swells, an inspirational message flashes across the screen, and you’re left wondering what the actual fuck you just saw.
The Temple Institute describes itself as “a non-profit educational and religious organization located in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. […] dedicated to every aspect of the Biblical commandment to build the Holy Temple of G-d on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem.” In effect, they’d like to bring back ancient sacrificial rituals Jews haven’t performed in nearly two thousand years in an effort to bring about the Messianic world-to-come. Real forward thinkers. Now, with their just-launched crowd funding efforts to raise $100,000, the Institute has brought their warm fuzzy message of messianic redemption to the kickstarter age.
According to their Indiegogo campaign, the $100,000 is being raised specifically to complete “architectural plans for the actual construction [of the Temple]” Which is to say: $100k to draw some up some blueprints. Because when it comes to their vision of the Temple rebuilt, they’ve got big ideas. Their Temple, according to the campaign page, will be replete with:
- full computerization
- underground parking
- temperature control
- docks for public transportation
- wheelchair access
- and much more
The Institute does make a point of dispelling the notion that this temple will descend from heaven, or will be rebuilt through violent means, calling those beliefs a “myth.” That said, their caveat that “the Third Temple will be built through human effort in the natural course of human events” seems iffy-at-best considering the “natural course of human events” has embroiled the Middle East in horrific violence for centuries.
This brings us to the major problem with drawing up specific blueprints to put toward building a Third Temple: Nowhere in The Institute’s campaign is there any mention of the Dome of The Rock, or the Al Aqsa mosque; Two sacred-to-Islam structures that currently occupy the peak of Mt. Moriah, the removal of which would be necessary make way for a 3rd temple, and would subsequently, almost certainly, set off World War III.
Campaign Owners are not permitted to create a Campaign to raise funds for illegal activities, to cause harm to people or property, or to scam others.
Granted, this campaign isn’t raising funds for a demolition team (at least, not yet) so no one’s technically doing anything illegal. But if the disappearance of two of Islam’s holiest buildings is the sin qua non of The Temple Institute’s raison d’être, we find ourselves on a slippery slope. Would rebuilding a third Temple – for which these blueprints are, evidently, a concrete first step – cause harm to existing property? Sure seems like it. Would that inevitably lead to harming people? Almost certainly.
The question here really is whether a crowdfunding site can/should host a campaign with a specific goal that falls within a site’s ToU, even if the goals of the group behind the campaign may not. Unfortunately, this may be one of those paradoxical conundrums for which we might not have an answer “until” as the talmudic Rabbis say, “…the world to come.”
And if The Temple Institute is successful, that may be sooner than we thought.
[image via youtube screenshot]