Michel Heymann is one of the last holders of the Achkenazi liturgy of the Rhine Valley. Born in 1952 in Strasbourg, he learned the liturgy from Bertrand Joseph, a former officiating minister in Strasbourg. He was then one of the last students of the Pedagogy and Liturgy section of the Séminaire Israélite de France before it closed in 1973. At the age of 21, in September 1973, he was appointed to Haguenau, a position he left for Mulhouse in 1980. He officiated for twelve years in this city and recorded cassettes and compact discs with the aim of preserving the liturgy of Alsace, before being hired by the Community of Luxembourg, where he created a choir that sometimes accompanied him during Shabbat services and feasts during the 30 years of his ministry.
Having retired in 2017, Michel Heymann wanted to give the EIJM all of his musical archives accumulated during his long career. This very important collection includes several hundred rare and precious documents, including collections of printed or handwritten scores dating from the 19th century, hundreds of recordings of music (liturgical concerts, ceremonies, services…) and dozens of video cassettes.
The Michel Heymann archives, which we brought back from Luxembourg, arrived at the IEMJ on December 8, 2022. This collection, which is currently being inventoried, will probably require a good year of work before it can be made available online.
By entrusting us with his life’s work, Michel Heymann not only showed his confidence in us, but also implicitly committed us to passing on to future generations the Alsatian liturgy which is unfortunately now in danger of disappearing.
- Consult Michel Heymann’s biography
- Listen to excerpts from the Rosh Hashanah liturgy sung by Michel Heymann
- Learn more about Michel Heymann and listen to other pieces online
An overview of Michel Heymann’s archives