Second Jewish marriage ceremony in 2,000 years purportedly held on Temple Mount

Couple said to have secretly exchanged vows at Judaism’s holiest site for first time since destruction of Second Temple.

An image from the secret marriage ceremony on Temple Mount.  (photo credit: THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE)
An image from the secret marriage ceremony on Temple Mount.
(photo credit: THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE)
A young, unidentified Jewish couple purportedly made history on the Temple Mount earlier this week by having a wedding ceremony at Judaism’s holiest site.
According to a statement on Tuesday from the right-wing Temple Institute, based in Jerusalem, they were only the second couple in 2,000 years to have gotten married at the site.
The Institute claimed that the first wedding ceremony at the holy site occurred before the destruction of the Second Temple, but it did not provide evidence for the assertion.
The Institute said that its international director, Rabbi Chaim Richman, was asked by the latest duo to officiate their marriage on the contested compound.
“After scrupulously examining the detailed halachot concerning the marriage ceremony and consulting with other rabbinical authorities, Rabbi Richman happily took the task upon himself,” the statement said.
According to the Temple Institute, which champions Jewish visitation rights on the Temple Mount, the couple met with Richman at his office in the Old City, where the official blessing over wine was made prior to the ceremony.
“Two appointed witness es then met the couple at the entrance to the Temple Mount,” the institute said. “The witnesses were dually obligated to hear the declaration of marriage from the lips of the groom and see him place the gold wedding band on the bride’s finger.”
Noting that open Jewish prayer at the compound is strictly prohibited, all members of the party were instructed by Richman that the vows had to be exchanged “without drawing the attention of the Israel Police or the Muslim Wakf guards who would be accompanying the group of Jewish worshipers.”
Indeed, had authorities noticed the exchange, the group would have been removed from the site and potentially arrested for “causing a public disturbance.”
However, the institute said, “the plan went like clockwork.”
“While walking along the eastern perimeter of the Temple Mount, Rabbi Richman gave a tacit signal,” the statement continued.
“The two witnesses drew close to the groom, who, ring in hand, said quietly to the bride: “Behold, you are sanctified to me with this ring, in accordance with the law of Moshe and Israel,” and quickly slipped the ring on the bride’s finger.
“This act, known as kiddushin [sanctification] is the binding act of marriage in any Jewish wedding ceremony. The couple was now married. They later stood beneath the huppa at a different location and heard the reading of the ketuba.”
According to the institute, the entire ceremony was recorded, but at the request of the couple, only two images from the wedding have been released.
They show the rings being exchanged, while not showing the faces of the newlyweds.
No violence or arrests were reported during or after the ceremony, which could not be verified by official sources outside of the institute.