Michael (Reuben) Nachim 1836-1926
Nachim was born in Odessa, and was named after his grandfather, Michael Nachim, who had been chief rabbi of that city. He came to faith at the age of 20 through the witness of Rev. Stern, in Constaninople, and embarked on a life of ministry and service, ministering the Gospel to his own people. He was for some years engaged by the London Jews Society, but entered the service of the British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews in 1869.
Ordained to the Christian ministry in 1877, he never, however, occupied a pastorate, but laboured abundantly in pleading the cause of Christ among his Jewish brethren in England and abroad for sixty-seven years. He was highly honoured and successful in his work, and esteemed in the society of fellow Hebrew Christians. For a time he was the Superintendent of the home for Aged Hebrew Christians run by the British Society. Sadly, Nachim met with an accident in London, and died in hospital on December 21, 1926 in his ninety-first year.
note: An interesting incident in Nachim’s life is recorded in the records of Old Bailey. At the time he was Superintendent of the Society’s Home for Aged Jewish Christians, a former inmate murdered a resident of the home. Nachim was called upon to witness. See the link below.
Nachim writes of himself:
I was initiated into the covenant on the eighth day (according to the Jewish rite), and I received the name of Reuben, after my grandfather, who had been chief rabbi. I do not know the time when I began to learn Hebrew, but I do remember I was not quite eight years old when I commenced to study the Talmud.
In the year 1854, I started on a journey to Palestine. When in Constantinople I met a Hebrew Christian colporteur name Solomon, who offered me a New Testament.
Up to this period of my life I had never heard there was such a book in existence! That dear Christian man induced me to visit the London Jews’ Society’s missionary (the Rev. Dr. Stern). Space does not permit me to go into detail, but that memorable visit, which lasted several hours, thanks be to our Heavenly Father, changed my future life. It was then for the first time I heard that Christianity was not, as I had been led to believe, a system of idolatry, but based on Moses and the Prophets, and I left Dr. Stern’s house with a burning desire to hear more, and learn more about it.
For two years I visited Dr. Stern constantly, and the more I learned of the saving truth as it is in Jesus, the more agonized was my struggle; but at last, though my pillow was oft bedewed with tears, as I realized fully what decision for Christ would involve, I was enabled by Divine grace to say, ‘I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things;’ and on September 16, 1856, I was baptized in Constantinople by my beloved spiritual father, Dr. Stern, and I then received the name of Michael (who is like unto God). From that time I had an earnest desire to witness for Christ amongst my brethren; and in 1860 I entered the mission field in connexion with the London Jews’ Society, with whom I remained till November, 1869, and then I commenced my missionary labours with the British Society.
In closing this brief outline of my life, I desire to express my deep gratitude to our gracious Lord, who has permitted me to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Russia, Roumania, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Egypt, Palestine, Turkey and Bulgaria, and has blessed the message to many a Jewish heart, and to the salvation of many souls. I have also been privileged to preach the Gospel to many members of my own family, holding influential positions in Russia, and I am thankful to say that nine of my cousins have been baptized.
My future is in God’s hands, and my earnest prayer is, that the remainder of my life may be more fully dedicated to His service and for His glory.”
Bernstein, A. Jewish Witnesses for Christ. Keren Ahvah Meshihit, new edition 1999.
Congregational Year Book 1928. The Congregational Union of England and Wales. London, 1928
Old Bailey records, Nov. 15, 1910