“Come, let us ascend to the mountain of the Lord.” (Isaiah 2:3)
Rabbi Yehudah Glick’s Temple Mount advocacy organization, the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation, has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of raising enough money to publish a unique guidebook to the Temple Mount complex.
The book, called “Arise and Ascend”, was written by Dr. Meir Antopolsky and produced as a joint effort between the Meeting Place Association and the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation with the goal of making the Temple Mount accessible and meaningful not only to its visitors, but to the millions of people around the world who want to learn more about the site, considered the holiest in Judaism.
Because of the nature of the site, whose controversial history has led to a tense state of affairs in which Jewish and Christian visitors are nearly constantly harassed and threatened by Muslim agitators, the Temple Mount is not always a tourist-friendly place. There are no helpful pamphlets handed out at the entrance, and no informative signs on the buildings and features of the Mount. Without an expert guide, visitors are often unable to truly grasp the spiritual and historical importance of the Temple Mount.
The creators of “Arise and Ascend” are hopeful that the book will fill this need, and help to heal some of the site’s conflict at the same time. Antopolsky told Breaking Israel News, “I hope that the book will help to change the vision of the Temple Mount from a point of conflict to a point of connection. We want to reach a point at which we can unite all people of goodwill, from all over the world, around service to the Only God.”
The book, exhaustively researched from historical, archaeological, religious, and Biblical perspectives, leads visitors on a self-guided walking tour in a clearly laid-out path intended to preserve the sanctity of the Temple Mount site. It includes maps, timelines, and color photos, and cites scholastic as well as Biblical and Talmudic sources, drawing from historical accounts, archeological records and scriptural verses to reconstruct the site as it was in the past and explain its present condition.
While the book identifies and describes the many features on the Temple Mount itself, including the Dome of the Rock, the various mosques on the site, and the ancient gates leading to the Mount, it also provides guide information about the Mount’s exterior walls, such as the Western Wall (Kotel) and the southern wall excavations.
“Arise and Ascend” also addresses the religious issues and requirements of ascending to the Mount, which have raised concerns among many observant Jews who believe that ascending to the Mount is forbidden. Since this question is one of contention among rabbinic leaders today, the Meeting Place Association and the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation offer readers the opportunity to contact religious authorities with any questions they might have.
The book has been widely endorsed by diverse religious leaders around the world and includes introductions written by Israel’s Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, chief rabbi of the town of Efrat; American Pastor Keith Johnson, who founded the Biblical Foundations Academy International; and Muslim and Islamic scholar Adnan Oktar from Turkey.
“The Holy Temple in Jerusalem – The City of God, the City of Peace (shalom), the City of Wholeness (shalem) – is ultimately to be the source from which teachings of love, morality and peace will extend to all the families of the earth,” wrote Rabbi Riskin in his introduction. “The Guide to the Temple Mount is a user-friendly handbook that carefully examines the present reality of the Temple Mount and through it provides glimpses of the past and a vision for the future.”
Pastor Johnson wrote, “It is a rare opportunity to set our feet where the Creator of the universe has set His name. Such is the case when we arise and ascend to the Temple Mount. I pray that all who make their way to this sacred place will interact with the historical, archaeological, and biblical information in this book and personally experience the promise of the One who said, ‘I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting my Name there forever, and My eyes and my heart will be there perpetually’ (1 Kings 9:3).”
Oktar added in a message of brotherhood and peace, writing, “The Temple Mount is a holy place that we wish to be the abode of love, peace and brotherhood. We pray that this site becomes a peaceful place where we can express our faith, allegiance, submission and love of God…By the will of God, within a short time Muslims, Jews and Christians will all walk down that road accompanied by the sound of the shofar, azan, and church bells, praying to and praising God under the guidance of Moshiach (Messiah).”
In addition to support from other religious leaders, “Arise and Ascend” has the approval of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well. Glick presented the prime minister with an advance copy of the book at a meeting during which the two discussed the current situation on the Temple Mount.
“He who does not study and understand his past misses out on any understanding of the present and the future,” Netanyahu said during the meeting. “This is the only way we can really understand the connection between the people of Israel [and] Jerusalem.”
Glick hopes to raise enough funds to print 10,000 copies of the guidebook. Donations to the month-long online campaign will be matched dollar for dollar, and supporters who donate $50 or more will receive their own copies of “Arise and Ascend.”
“It is a great responsibility to put out, for the first time in history, a guidebook for visitors to the holiest place in the universe,” Glick told Breaking Israel News. “We tried to do our best to present a comprehensive work, including maximum details but keeping the popular style so that it will be a ‘user friendly’ tool. I pray to God that it will bring more and more people from all over the world close to Him and His chosen City.”