okwu team and matoaka team with scrollOklahoma Wesleyan University is thrilled to announce a new display in the Drake Library of an early 1700s Sephardic Torah Scroll. The scroll was donated to OKWU by Ken and Barb Larson through their organization, God’s Ancient Library, with the help of Dr. Scott Carroll. God’s Ancient Library serves the Church through a collection of rare Torah scrolls which are donated to seminaries, museums, and other organizations for teaching, research, and public engagement.

“What a tremendous gift bestowed upon Oklahoma Wesleyan University,” said University Provost and Ministry professor, Dr. Mark Weeter. “Not only is this a museum quality artifact, even more it is a shining example of the meticulous care with which scribes copied the sacred Scriptures.  A scribe copying a Torah was required to state the following words before beginning transcription, ‘I am writing the Torah in the name of God in its sanctity’. This beautiful Torah scroll will not only be displayed, but will be a teaching tool for students and faculty alike, exhibiting the trustworthiness of God’s Word.”

The scroll is originally from Morocco and has been used for teaching by OKWU professors since its donation in 2018. The addition of a custom museum-quality display built by local craftsmen Tim Sydebotham and Mike Baldrachi now allows it to be viewed and studied to its full effect.

Sydebotham and Baldrachi heard about the Torah through their pastor, Sherman Jacquess, and built and donated the display on behalf of their church, Matoaka Baptist in Bartlesville.

“I’m obviously very grateful for this incredible gift from Ken and Barb Larson,” said OKWU President, Dr. Everett Piper, “but I’m equally thrilled with the support of Pastor Jacquess and the Matoaka Baptist Church in making it possible for our community to enjoy and learn from God’s word. We are blessed.”

The Torah can be viewed during normal business hours on the first floor of OKWU’s Drake Library, Monday-Friday.


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