Jacques Arnold was born on December 29, 1946, in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, into a traditionalist family attached to the Jewish culture. He attended the local primary school and then the Yavné school until he obtained his baccalauréat. As this Jewish school was located near the Séminaire Israélite de France at the time, he joined the Liturgy-Pedagogy section of the Séminaire in 1963, where he followed the training course for officiants directed by Léon Algazi, with the assistance of Alberto Hemsi, Roland Mossé, Adolphe Attia, Shalom Berlinski, etc. During these years of apprenticeship, he took on the role of cantor (Chazan) and teacher in several Jewish communities (La Varenne, Bayonne, Synagogue de la Victoire in Paris…).
From 1968 to 1971, Jacques Arnold studied and discovered Israel to strengthen his knowledge of Judaism. A tireless worker, he obtained a degree in modern Hebrew from INALCO in 1991.
In November 1971, he took on the role of religious leader at the Fondation de Rothschild retirement home on rue de Picpus in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. His task, which he carried out faithfully for 36 years, consisted of leading the services in the establishment’s synagogue, organising Jewish life and the celebration of holidays for the residents, and providing training for the staff and welcoming the faithful of the neighbourhood.
At the same time, from 1987 to 2008, he taught Jewish subjects (Hebrew, liturgy, etc.) at the Yavné junior and high school. This total involvement, particularly in the educational field, earned him the title of Honorary Rabbi in December 2009 by Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim.
Since 2009, when he retired, Jacques and his wife Isabelle have made frequent trips between Jerusalem and Paris to be with their four Parisian and Israeli children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
With his free time, Jacques Arnold joined the team of volunteers of the European Institute of Jewish Music to devote himself, among other things, to the classification and identification of the numerous digitised sound documents relating to Jewish liturgy and musical traditions. He also collaborates with Hervé Roten on several Jewish music radio programmes on Judaïques FM and is also a member of the Jewish Choir of France.
Finally, he created the magnificent stained glass windows for the two large windows of the Synagogue of the Rothschild Foundation. Inspired by themes from Jewish tradition and elements from the Bible, he conceived and executed the preparatory drawings with the aim of creating a harmonious composition. He then made the models which enabled Sylvie Fagot, master glass-maker, to execute the work according to the rules of art. These stained glass windows, which include Hebrew inscriptions accompanying the motifs, add a colourful note and contribute to the serenity of this renovated place of prayer.
- Learn more about Jacques Arnold and listen to his radio shows on the EIJM website
- Listen to a conference by Jacques Arnold on the role of the chazan in the synagogal cult
- Browse the archives (audio recordings, sheet music, etc.) deposited by Jacques Arnold at the EIJM
- Watch the video Jacques Arnold, A life serving chazanut