Henry Aaron Stern

1820-1885. Missionary to the Jews. Born to Jewish parents in Hesse-Cassel, he was educated at Frankfurt. At seventeen he began a commercial career in Hamburg, but became interested in Christianity, and he was baptized in London in 1840. He trained as a missionary in the College of the London Jews' Society. In 1844 he sailed for Baghdad and en route was ordained deacon by Bishop Alexander in Jerusalem. He worked among Jews and Muslims in Asia Minor and Persia until 1853, when he was transferred to Constantinople. In 1858-59 he went on missionary journeys to the Crimea and Arabia, and then joined J.M. Flad* in his work among the Falasha Jews of Ethiopia. Two years later, twenty-two were baptized, representing the firstfruits of the work. Later he incurred the hostility of the eccentric King Theodore, and he was imprisoned and tortured (1863- 67), together with Flad and the consul and all other Europeans resident in the capital. Eventually Flad was released and brought the news to the British authorities, and an expeditionary force under Sir Robert Napier defeated Theodore, who committed suicide. Stern and the others were liberated and returned to England. The remaining years of his active ministry were spent in London, where he wrote and distributed literature among the Jews and became famous for his missionary sermons in Spitalfields and Whitechapel. Among his books were two on Ethiopia published in 1862 and 1868.