The Temple Institute
Many tours of the Holy Land include visits to the Temple Institute, which opens a window into the workings of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple played a pivotal role in the life of Jesus. Jesus was presented at the Temple as a child and celebrated festivals there. As an adult, Jesus prayed and preached at the Temple, and most famously, he cleansed the Temple of its crooked merchants and moneychangers.
The Institute has recently moved into a newly renovated large facility with the goal of portraying the history of the Holy Temple, its place in modern Israel and the major project undertaken by those who seek to rebuild the Temple in the future.
Here, the story of the Temple is told through words and pictures. Tour guides trained by the Institute take you on an hour-long tour of the exhibit, where painstakingly recreated sacred vessels show how the menorah, stone altar, table of loaves and other ritual objects were constructed. The garments of the High Priest and the lay priests have been recreated as well.
Original oil paintings created exclusively for the Temple Institute depict various scenes from the service at the Temple. A small-scale model of the entire Temple Mount during the period of Jesus is on display in a glass case.
The Institute is located on the edge of the Old City's Jewish Quarter, opposite the staircase that leads directly down to the Western Wall plaza. An appropriate ending to your visit at the Temple Institute is to pray at the location of the Temple itself, which Jewish tradition calls the "gateway to heaven."