I know that Christian’s believe that Jesus’s death on the cross was the final atonement for sins–past, present, and future. So around 2000 years ago, any former Jew who had become a Christian would no longer engage in the ritual practice of animal sacrifice. Presumably, those who remained Jewish carried on business as usual.
Unless I am very much mistaken, modern Jews do not engage in animal sacrifice or burnt offerings either. So when did they stop, and why?
Also (possibly related), do Jews have the equivalent of a Pope ( that is, a single recognized leader of the faith, intercessory of God himself) and if not, what kind of hierarchy does exist ( beyond a rabbi for each temple, I suppose). I say possibly related because I suppose if there were a Jewish Pope equivalent, they could presumably at some point have simply decreed that animal sacrifices were no longer required ( but would still have a reason or explanation).
As for your second question, there’s no Jewish Pope, no. Some communities will have Chief Rabbis, but there’s no official hierarchy or conclave or anything of that sort. Rabbis are scholars and teachers, not priests in the Christian sense.
To add to Johnny_Bravo’s point about there not being a Temple anymore in which to do sacrifices, despite there no being a Jewish Pope as such, after the Jewish nation was exiled, a set of books known as the Talmud was codified. This laid out both historical practices and ways that those practising as Jews could continue to do so. To simplify, what had been actively/physically carried out in the Temple (while it existed) would now be done either symbolically through ritual, or through prayers which acted as a memorial of them. Obviously, this is a simplification, but hopefully a reasonably clear and accurate one.
ETA: Or you could follow ParallelLines’ advice, and read the SDSAB article!
The short answer is that sacrifice was centralized in the Temple at Jerusalem, and when the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans, sacrifice was no longer possible. Prayer replaced sacrifice as the form of worship.
While I’m not @susan, I suspect she means that we Jews do not require a CPA (Certified Priestly Accountant) to evaluate our sins and penance on God’s behalf, we are expected to do so on our own. In the case where we are confused, conflicted, or perhaps unwilling to admits faults, a Rabbi is a good counsel on how to do so, but does so because of scholarship and presumably wisdom, rather than a right granted by God.
I’m afraid you’ve got that backwards. Most Christian groups talk about “the priesthood of the believer,” which means that every Christian has the power and authority to function as his own priest, to make intercession with God. This is a vast change from the Jewish practice, which required a professional, full-time priestly class to take care of the various sacrifices and so forth.
It’s my understanding the issue revolves around the Temple itself.
I don’t believe there were any Cohen priests (I don’t know the Hebrew word but I think it’s something like kohenim) during the time between the destruction of the First Temple and the construction of the Second Temple. If the Temple were ever rebuilt, Israel would assign a new high priest.
The Rabbi actually came into existence during that period, and never went away. Unlike the priests, they were specifically intended to be “portable”.
Is that really the only issue? If someone were to build a temple tomorrow, then Jews agree that animal sacrifice would be back on the table, as it were? And all Jewish sects would then agree that a high priest should be assigned, and who that might be?