Jewish activists launch crowdfunding appeal to breed perfect red heifer

Group dedicated to fulfilling biblical prophesy by building a Third Temple look for scientific solution to propagate holy cow with key role in messianic rituals

The institute hopes to raise $125,000 (£80,000) for the red heifer project to pay for embryo implantation, care and identification of candidates to breed the perfect red heifer in Israel.

The Temple Institute was founded in 1987 by Rabbi Yisrael Ariel and has recreated artefacts for rituals required in a new temple of which the red heifer would be the most ambitious.

.. The cow is mentioned in Numbers and other religious texts and has significance to strands of both messianic Christianity and Judaism.

Jewish religious teaching holds that between the time of Moses until the destruction of the Second Temple, only nine perfect red heifers were discovered. The 10th – according to the Jewish philosopher Maimonides, whose writings in this case the group adheres to – will herald the coming of the messiah.

.. For messianic Christians, the red cow is also regarded as a precursor to the building of the Third Temple, an act itself that would herald the “end times”.

.. Rabbi Chaim Richman, head of the Temple Institute’s international division, insisted: “Make no mistake, this project is nothing less than the first stage of the reintroduction of biblical purity into the world, the prerequisite of the building of the holy temple.

“For 2,000 years we’ve been mourning for the destruction of the holy temple, but the future is in our hands.”

.. Religious experts too have pointed out a more esoteric and perhaps insoluble problem with the institute’s plans to make their own red heifer.

Ritual requires that the priest who sacrifices the heifer be ritually pure as well. Lacking the mei niddah from a previous holy cow, that seems like a catch-22.