European Institute of Jewish Music (EIJM) – 10 years already !

2006 - 2016

Created in 2006, the EIJM celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016. 10 busy years that led the EIJM to become today the biggest European center of documentation and materials dedicated to Jewish music.
Explanations and 3 different videos will describe this extraordinary story !

Origin of the EIJM: chronology

February 2000: Hervé Roten, PhD in musicology is hired by Nelly Hansson, director of the Foundation for French Judaism, to launch a program in France for the saving and valorization of Jewish music.

2001 – 2002: After a first period of collecting and inventory of musical archives, Hervé Roten draws an alarming situation analysis showing the fragility of the French Jewish musical heritage.

October 2002 – September 2003: Recording and publication of 2 CD’s by the FFJ (Music from the synagogue of Bordeaux and Jewish-French music from the 18th and 19th centuries) in the collection Musical Heritage of the Jews from France.

July 2nd 2004: Hervé Roten becomes director of Yuval, French organization for the preservation of Jewish musical traditions, after Israel Adler and Simha Arom.

June 2005: The Foundation for French Judaism and Yuval decide to collaborate together, gathering their different collections under the same roof and joining their means of action in the music field.

Beginning of 2006: a group of 3 students from the universities of Marne-la-Vallée and Paris VIII - Saint-Denis work to create a website and a database to index and consult online the collections of what will become the French Center for Jewish Music (FCJM).
At the same time, 3 other students from Marne-la-Vallée do a presentation film of the future activities of the FCJM (see video below, in French).

June 2006, Birth of the French Center for Jewish Music (FCJM), thanks to the impulse of the Henriette Halphen Foundation, under the aegis of FFJ, and of its generous donor Isabelle Friedman.
The FCJM, created by the Foundation for French Judaism and Yuval, settles down in a room from the FFJ premises, where it starts its work of digitalization and index of the musical holdings, such as the archives Alberto Hemsi (1898-1975), composer of Judeo-Spanish origin, Fernand Halphen (1872-1917), composer and philanthropist, or Shalom Berlinski (1918-2008), cantor of polish origin.

Since 2006, the goals of the FCJM, precursor of the EIJM, are clearly stated:
“Center of resources and research, the FCJM can receive university students, scholarship holders from partner institutions […]. With time, its vocation is to gather other organizations working in the same field in Europe, in order to constitute a European network on Jewish music.
Finally, a website will permit people to access a set of thematic data in link with this music. The idea is to offer a guided and pedagogical tour to visitors who would like an initiation in this field which grows from day to day. It is therefore intended to be an online digital library where people can listen to excerpts from pieces from the music library. Finally, an important part will be given to the actuality of this music, in terms of repertoire and of creation.”

Translated excerpt from the Foundation for French Judaism’s newsletter.

November 2008 – March 2009: the FCJM moves into more spacious premises, just above the Foundation for French Judaism. Around 10 volunteers work for it as well as a full-time employee.

July 2012: under the impulse of the new direction of the FFJ, in particular Patrick Chasquès, the French Center for Jewish Music becomes the European Institute for Jewish Music (EIJM) with an enlarged goal:
- Collecting, digitization and setting on line of the Jewish Musical heritage
- Creation of an edition structure (CD’s, music sheets…)
- Organization of regular events (music workshops, internships, conferences, concerts…) with the aim of presenting the Jewish musical heritage under all aspects
- Creation of a festival of Jewish Music festival in Paris (this project hasn’t been fulfilled yet)
- Creation of a European network of Jewish music centers, with the organization every 3 to 4 years of the European Days of Jewish Music (that project hasn’t been fulfilled yet).

September 2012: the EIJM settles down in its new premises rue Nationale in Paris. 130 sq meter entirely dedicated to Jewish music!

2013 to 2016: the staff grows with 3 more employees and 8 volunteers. 3 new disc collection are created (Collections Discovery, Archives and Classical), and more than 22 music scores are published by EIJM Editions.

In 2016, the music collections of the EIJM gather more than 80.000 sound files, 150.000 pages of music sheets, thousands of pictures, videos and various archives (letters, concert programs…). These documents are entirely or partially accessible online in our premises or through Rachel catalog, accessible from our website.
Furthermore, the EIJM sends every week to its subscribers and supporters a newsletter offering on line resources. EIJM’s website attracts around 8000 visitors every month. Finally, the EIJM organize each year its gala concert, as well as around 10 different events (singing workshops, conferences, concerts) in partnership with the Jewish and non-Jewish institutions (FSJU, MAHJ, AIU, Institut Elie Wiesel, Festival d’Ile-de-France, Mairie de Paris…)

Listen to a music selection of our publications.


The EIJM from 2006 to 2016: 3 videos to watch

Presentation of the FCJM in 2006


A blink at our collections


A day in the EIJM, today in 2016

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