Church Pastor Donates $1000 To Yeshiva To Purchase New Sefer Torah


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t2.jpg(Click on image to ENLARGE) In October, Yeshivaworld posted a story (HERE) about a Yeshiva which had a Sefer Torah stolen. A campaign was established to raise the needed funds to purchase a new one.

According to an article in the SWC Bulletin, the Yeshiva has almost reached their $50,000 goal. Help came from many people – including the Pastor of a Church!

The following are excerpts from the article:

One person, St. Paul businessman Benjamin Cohen donated $25,000 to the Sefer Torah Fund in honor of his late-father.

Brad Brandon was feeling dispirited, too, aghast that someone would have the chutzpah to steal Yeshiva’s precious scroll.

But Brandon isn’t Jewish; nor does he live in Cottage Grove. He’s a pastor at Berea Baptist Church in Hastings, where he started a Torah collection of his own to help the school replace the 60- to 70-year-old religious text — a fund that raised $1,000 for the Cottage Grove school in only two weeks.

“I thought it was just too bad,” Brandon said recently. “I thought it was a tragedy that someone would break in and steal that.”

But the gesture – along with Weiss said, helped turn a painful negative into a heartwarming positive that showed people are willing to reach across religious barriers to help out neighbors.

“It was just mind-blowing,” Weiss said. “It was beautiful, really, just to have support from people who are not Jewish. And it was a good sign of the unity that we all share.”

Brandon went to Cottage Grove shortly after hearing of the theft, telling Yeshiva officials he’d like to get his church involved in some way. So a Culligan bottle in the rear of the Hastings house of worship was set up. And soon enough, the donations were rolling in.

“We’re not a big mega-church, but we’re going to raise as much as we can,” Brandon said. “And I was pretty surprised.”

(Source: SWC Bulletin)

(Photo: From Twin Cities Yeshiva Website)


  1. I wonder if it’s mutter to use money from avodah zarah for a sefer torah. May we soon realize the difference between a Kiddush Hashem and a Chillul Hashem.

  2. Anyone that steals from ANY house of worship should be when caught punished to the full extent of the law….no sob stories accepted. That said I think what was done by the pastor and his flock a very kind thing indeed. The pastor sounds like a wonderfull man with nothing to gain but having done the right thing. As for Mr. Cohen’s donation
    a very generous act!

  3. dasyosher-
    because some people are much frummer than Hashem. Just because that was what was done for the Bais Hamikdosh, doesnt make it RIGHT!! HELLO – werent both destroyed?? So if were even more machmir, were much better off yea?

  4. Let’s fast forward to a future posting on YW for the prologue to this story…
    Mother of Pastor on her deathbed reveals that he is adopted and really is jewish…..

  5. Wonderful gesture form a caring individual and his flock! Avul afilo aino m’avodah zarah – stam m’akum – ain nosnim lo zechus k’zeh. Konim m’maos akum tzarchay habayis – k’gon neor l’n’givas yodayim etc!

  6. To all the talmidei chachomim,and geonim it is yeshiva world after all.Im surprised no one mentioned its a mefureshe mogen avrohom.o”ch siman 154 s”k 18 in the name of the sefer chasidim and the mabit that it is muttar ayin can also look in the maharam shick yoreh deah siman 231

  7. house77 said: So if were even more machmir, were much better off yea?

    That’s not really the attitude illustrated by our sages ZY”A. Why do you think the law sides with Hillel so much more than Shammai?

  8. This was such a beautiful story. Why did the very first comment from yshivish Hocker have to question this noble act. The shul doesn’t have to use the money for the Sefer Torah. Perhaps they can use it for other noble causes.

    Yeshivish Hocker, Just enjoy a story without always knocking.

  9. Gishmak in Lkwd,
    A noble act indeed. However one of the Gedolai Hador Shlita once told me to be very careful with the money you use for a Sefer Torah. On one of my many conversations with the great sage, someone came in with a Sefer Torah for the Rav to write a letter. The Rav only agreed to write the letter after inquiring if the Sefer Torah was purchased with kosher money. It also bothers me when people donate bookshelves to a Beis Medrash l’illui nishmas controversial people. May we al be considered from the deepest of the deep. Amen!

  10. I hope that the pastor doesn’t Google himself and read the comments to this story. All of the Poskim here need to realize that posting on the internet is not quite as private as having a conversation around the coffee urn during Seder.

    Of course, the Yeshiva can choose to use the $1,000 for whatever it wants, and does not not need to include the Church’s name on the Mantel. But that’s not the point.

    What a Chilul Hashem it is to display ingratitude publicly like this.

    In addition, Halevai we should be so Makpid about the Kashrus of the JEWISH money that is donated to our Shuls and Yeshivos.


    Halevai we should be so Makpid about the Kashrus of the JEWISH money that is donated to our Shuls and Yeshivos.

    You see, THAT is something I wouldnt want the pastor and others in his flock to read!!!

  12. I don’t see the problem, NAMELESS.

    On the contrary, I think that it is a Kiddush Hashem for people to see Orthodox Jews continuing to refine the standards of behaviour in their communities, rather than refusing to acknowledge that issues exist.

    In my opinion, for a Shul to reject a donation because, for example, the donor is a known fraudster would be a tremendous Kiddush Hashem — even if it were publicized on the front page of the Times.

    There is no shame in the fact that people (even Orthodox people) occasionally do bad things. This cannot be controlled. However, it is the communal/Rabinnical response to bad behaviour that is what is controllable, what matters, and what determines whether a Kiddush or Chillul Hashem has been effected.

  13. Norma,

    You’d be surprised how many ‘vertlich’ others know or can figure out in context.

    True, its human to do bad things, if it is only ‘OCCASIONALLY’. However, lets not forget that we are expected to reach a higher standard than most and we noramally DO succeed!

  14. Where do you think most of the money for Nefesh B’nefesh comes from? How about the Texas Ministries of John Hagee?
    He also donates a lot to Rabbi Grossman’s Migdal Ohr.

  15. Yeshivish hocker:
    Your extreme outlook towards this story scares me. i think we all have to be a little bit more tolerant. The end of your comment concerning a bookcase is a complete mystery. You seem to imply that the late Rav Shlomo Carlebach z’l was controversial. This is rediculous. he was a gaon in middos, and chessed.
    Please think before typing.

  16. #1

    First of all, the Baptists think the Catholic are Avoda Zara. While they do believe in JC, it is without deifying his mother, and they use no statues of any kind. Though they do deify JC, they see JC as a part of G-d, wearing flesh so to speak.

    Though it certainly is not compatible with what we believe, it is not Avodah Zara in the same sense as Catholicism would be. In fact, they do not only criticize the Catholics for the statues, but they say that the way the Catholics view the whole trinity thing is pure Avoda Zara.

    (How do I know all this? When I lived in Alabama, I noticed them friendly towards Jews, and prejudiced towards Catholics, and asked one of their pastors for an explanation.)

    Secondly, these are people donating their private money, not takroves l’avoda zara.

    So, no issue either way. Just check out the Shulchan Aruch. 100% muttar according to all.


    It is such a nice thing for these people to do this. This Pastor deserves a warm Thank You, and he gets one from me:

    “Thank you, Pastor Brandon, your warm, caring efforts are appreciated, as well as everyone who contributed to it.”

    and this is kosher money. It is properly donated, and not stolen money, and not money that came as a result of an avaira, etc.,

    Stop looking for negatives. There is enough real negatives in the world without turning something nice into a negative.

    Thanks again, Pastor.

  17. Was it a nice gesture? Yes, it was a nice gesture. Shkoiach Ben Noach. However… One has to wonder why Reb Chiya would put so much time and effort into planting flax; to weave linen; to make nets; to catch deer; to tan their hides; to write a sefer Torah… (Baba Metzia 85B) when he could have have just mooched the money off persons of the goyish persuasion.