The Temple Institute announced Tuesday it had played an active part in an actual wedding ceremony on the Temple Mount "one recent morning", adding that this was only the second time a Jewish wedding was carried out on the Mount in over 2,000 years.
"It was a great blessing for this couple to begin their new life together at the holiest place on earth for the people of Israel, the location of the Holy Temple," said the Institute on Facebook. "This was a great achievement, in the face of the extreme anti-Jewish discrimination of the Muslim Waqf and the Israel Police which quashes all Jewish expression at the sacred site".
An engaged couple recently approached Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Institute and asked him if he would supervise their marriage on the Temple Mount. "After scrupulously examining the detailed halachot (Jewish law) concerning the marriage ceremony, and consulting with other rabbinical authorities, Rabbi Richman happily accepted the task upon himself".
The Institute related what transpired in detective story style:
"The couple met with Rabbi Richman early one recent morning in the Old City of Jerusalem headquarters of the Temple Institute, where the blessing over wine was made, a prerequisite to the marriage ceremony. Two appointed witnesses then met the couple at the entrance to the Temple Mount. The witnesses were obligated to both hear the declaration of marriage from the lips of the groom and see him place the gold wedding band on the bride's finger.
"All members of the party were instructed by Rabbi Richman that this had to be done without drawing the attention of the Israel police or the Muslim Waqf guards who would be accompanying the group of Jewish worshipers on the Temple Mount. Were they to notice they would certainly arrest all the parties involved and remove them immediately from the Mount.
"The plan went like clockwork, and while walking along the eastern perimeter of the Temple Mount, Rabbi Richman gave a tacit signal. 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".
Through this act, known as kiddushin (sanctification, the couple was now officially married. They later stood beneath the marriage canopy elsewhere and heard the reading of the ketubah, or marriage contract.
The Temple Institute said it was able to capture the entire Temple Mount wedding on video, but citing the wishes of the newlywed couple, only publicly shared two still shots from the event, which can be viewed on the Institute's Facebook page.
The ancient custom of brides and grooms visiting the Temple Mount – separately – on the day of their wedding has been revived in recent years, but the actual performance of the wedding ceremony on the Temple Mount is "a unique act in history following the destruction of the Holy Temple 2,000 years ago," according to the Institute
Asked about the other time a Jewish wedding was held on the Mount, the Institute coyly replied: "We had heard that Rav Menachem Fruman's son did it".
On July 30, 2015, the Israel Police arrested a Jewish bride who ascended the Temple Mount before her wedding, in her wedding dress.