Sarah Tuttle-Singer
Sarah Tuttle-Singer

I don’t want to rebuild the Temple

It’s almost Tisha B’Av – the day we mourn the destruction of the Temple.

And for many — both in Israel, and in the diaspora — the conversation turns toward when we will rebuild a new one.

Well, guess what.

I don’t want to rebuild the Temple.

Not even a little.

Because I like who we are: a rebellious group of arguing Jews who stay up all night discussing Big Ideas while candles melt wax into puddles.

And that’s who we became while living in the diaspora when we moved from Temple Judaism to Rabbinic Judaism – when we had to.

And we took that spirit home with us back to Israel and it’s a beautiful thing.

I LIKE that we have no High Priest — because let’s be real: we got enough trouble with the Rabbinut telling us what stores can be open, how to get married, and who is even a Jew…. So I’m pretty sure that if the Temple were rebuilt, the most sexist, homophobic, noxious dude of ALL would be in charge. Because that’s how political power seems to work.

And that won’t work for this rebellious Jewess, who will wear what she wants and eat what she wants and kiss who she wants and say what she wants so long as she does her best to be kind and fair and hurt no one.

And my bare collarbone hurts NO ONE. 😛

I want to have faith that it would be different, but seriously? Look at the evidence: All I need to do is look down on the Western Wall plaza and see how women are hindered from praying the way they want, women DETAINED for carrying a Torah, women spit on by angry young men, to say “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Not me. Not my kids.

Besides. Have you seen how Israeli contractors build stuff?

The Temple would look like DIZENGOFF CENTER! We would be trapped for days wandering around with our goat sacrifices – I guess we’d start to hallucinate, and start gibbering… But that’s not God. That’s dehydration.

And goat.

But let’s be real: Shmulik would bring the cheap dry wall, and the whole thing would crumble into ruin after the first rough winter.

Also: let’s talk about goats.

I like goats.

Goats are adorable.


Do we really want to go back to a time we sacrificed goats?


And bureaucracy – getting an emergency appointment for a systemic kidney infection in ‪Israel takes two weeks. How fast do you think we can get people to agree on which one of their homies gets to drive the fork lift?

A millennia.

They’ll have hologram forklifts by then but we are so stubborn we will still be fighting.

So no, I don’t want to rebuild the Temple.

When the Second Temple crumbled we proved our strength – the Romans said we wouldn’t make it without our holy heart intact, and lo: we did.

We became this wonderful, contentious people – loving, striving to be a light.

We took the best of the Temple with us in our blood and bones, and instead of trying to rebuild something we no longer need, I want to take all that energy and effort and just keep on making the world a better place for everyone.

Goats included.

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel, She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems. She now lives in Israel with her two kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors and talks to strangers, and writes stories about people. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She also loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.
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