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Asbury Theological Seminary Dedicates Ashkenazi Torah Scroll

Published Date: October 3, 2016

tennent-and-julieWILMORE, KY—Asbury Theological Seminary dedicates a 16th century Ashkenazi Torah scroll donated by Ken and Barbara
Larson on September 6, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. in McKenna Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

To date, the Larsons have gifted 24 Torah Scrolls to seminaries around the world because they believe it’s important for students of the Word and faculty to read from original documents. In Hebrew, the Torah means to “guide or teach.” Fittingly, these scrolls, also known as the Pentateuch, provide the foundational narratives for the Christian faith, as well as teaching, doctrine and instruction.

torah-dedication_smaller_11“Living in a digital age, we forget how much labor went into the creation of literature in times past, especially sacred literature,” Dr. Lawson G. Stone, Chair of the Department of Old Testament, said. “The Torah scroll received by Asbury Theological Seminary embodies the labor, love, knowledge and craft of generations of scribes who painstakingly preserved the scriptures so that later generations would not only know their contents, but also be able to see in their lovely hand-written lines the beauty of the Word of God. All of us at Asbury, but most especially those of us charged with the study of the Hebrew Scriptures, gratefully celebrate the Larson’s gift and look forward to its enrichment of our study, teaching, worship and community life.”

torah-dedication_smaller_32The Ashkenazi Torah originated from the central-eastern European regions and survived the Holocaust. This Torah is 17 inches tall and 10 inches in diameter. Fully unrolled, it stretches approximately 100 feet.

The Seminary’s Torah will be displayed in the Special Collections section of the B.L. Fisher Library and will be incorporated into community life through chapel services and events relating to Jewish holidays. For example, Eta Beta Rho, the Seminary’s on-campus honor society is coordinating its fall semester chapel with Simkhat Torah, which marks the end of the Jewish fall “high holy days.” The scrolls will also be featured in courses that study the Old Testament.

The Larsons donated their first Torah to Bethel Seminary in 2014 to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and have continued the tradition since that time. The Larsons own Slumberland Furniture, now a chain of 128 stores in a 12-state area.

torah-dedication_smaller_17Barbara has been leading Bible studies for about 40 years and loves mentoring young women in their faith. She and Ken travel to see many ministries all over the world and have ministered in Haiti four times in the last two years. Ken has been an active leader in many non-profit organizations, including serving as a board member of the Navigators and chairman of the board for the Evangelical Free Church of America. He is also completing a three-year board term for the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

When not traveling in Israel, Russia, to a board meeting or to visit their grandkids, the Larsons reside in Florida.

Asbury Theological Seminary was founded in 1923 by H.C. Morrison with a class of three students and an audacious seal that said, “The whole Bible for the whole world.” torah-dedication_smaller_3Its mission is to prepare theologically educated, sanctified, Spirit-filled men and women to evangelize and to spread scriptural holiness throughout the world. Almost 100 years later, the Seminary has more than 10,000 graduates serving in every time zone around the world through social justice initiatives, government, art, mission organizations, education and the church.


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One response to “Asbury Theological Seminary Dedicates Ashkenazi Torah Scroll”

  1. Mrs. Joseph (Laurie) Gage says:

    As a Jewish believer in Messiah Jesus, I was thrilled that you have a Torah scroll. I did notice, however, that it was being held by ungloved hands. The Torah parchment is never touched be bare skin, as the oils on the skin can lift the ink off of the parchment, rendering it unreadable… While being read, it is held by the poles (called Atzei hayyim), and the text is indicated by a yad, which looks like an arm attached a hand with a pointing finger…
    You may or may not want to publish my comment….

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