It looked like a scene from year 200 BCE, or the end of days – yet it all played out just two days ago, on Monday, not far from the Temple Mount.
Kohanim in authentic attire blessed the excited crowd, Levites sang hymns, and a young lamb was offered up as a Passover sacrifice in keeping with all the dictates of the ancient ritual.
This "dress rehearsal," staged every year by members of the Temple Mount Faithful movement, is designed to present the public with an accurate rendition of the ritual that was in practice during the time of the Temple, which they hope to erect anew.
Back then, Seder night was not merely a sumptuous meal with uncles and aunts and four cups of wine, but a production that started almost a week earlier with the selection and slaughter of one of the family's lambs, and culminated in a festive meal in memory of the night when our ancestors were rescued from slavery in Egypt.
And Monday saw the Temple Mount Faithful at it again, with the ritual enacted to the letter – from the slaughtering of the lamb, its skinning, the spilling of its blood on the specially constructed altar, the burning of some of its organs on the altar, the roasting of the meat, and through to the serving of the best bits to the Kohanim, on the backdrop of trumpeting and songs of praise.
Despite the Temple Mount Faithful's fringe-group status, attending the ritual this year were several rabbis from the mainstream of religious Zionism, including Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Arye Stern, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu and Rabbi Yaaqov Medan from the Har Etzion Yeshiva, along with Jerusalem councilman Aryeh King, who arranged funding for the event from the municipality.
Also in attendance was Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick, who survived an assassination attempt by an Arab terrorist some six months ago.
"Five months ago, the doctors didn't give me more than a two to five percent chance of surviving," Glick said at the event.
"My children came to the hospital to say goodbye to me. I wish I could offer up a sacrifice to express my gratitude, but we can't do so today. Who knows, perhaps we will be able to soon."
Around 100 animal rights activists demonstrated in Jerusalem on Tuesday against the ritual.