Founder & Director
The Early Years
Arnold Fruchtenbaum was born in 1943 in Siberia, Russia after his Jewish father was falsely accused of being a Nazi spy when he fled Poland from Hitler and was released from a Communist prison. With the help of the Israeli underground in 1947, the Fruchtenbaum family escaped from behind the Iron Curtain to Germany, where they were confined to British Displaced Persons’ camps. There, Arnold received Orthodox Jewish training from his father before the family finally immigrated to New York in 1951. Before their release, however, the family was befriended by a Lutheran minister; and it was this contact that eventually led Arnold and his mother to the New York headquarters of the American Board of Missions to the Jews (ABMJ). Five years later, this same meeting brought Arnold, at age 13, to saving knowledge of Jesus the Messiah.
His father strongly opposed Arnold’s beliefs, and when the family moved to Los Angeles in 1958, Arnold was forbidden to read the Bible, attend Christian meetings or associate with Jewish-Christian groups. Under these difficult circumstances, Arnold continued as best he could to maintain contact with Jewish believers and to walk with the Lord.
Upon graduating from high school, Arnold was forced by his father to leave home because of his faith. In 1962, he began undergraduate education at Shelton College in New Jersey. Transferring to Ohio’s Cedarville College, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Hebrew and Greek in 1966. He then moved to Israel, where he studied archaeology, ancient history, historical geography, and Hebrew at the American Institute of Holy Land Studies and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. During this time, he witnessed the historic Six-Day War in 1967. Later that year, Arnold returned to the U.S. and entered Dallas Theological Seminary for studies in Hebrew and Old Testament. He also began working as a missionary with ABMJ (today, Chosen People Ministries).
Arnold was married in 1968 to Mary Ann Morrow, a graduate of Gordon College in Massachusetts. Three years later (1971), he graduated with a Master of Theology degree from Dallas. He and his wife then went to Israel, settling in Jerusalem to work with the local church and to train young Israeli believers for ministry.
Their activities for Messiah drew much attention and anger from the religious authorities in Jerusalem, who eventually applied enough pressure upon government officials to force the Fruchtenbaums to leave Israel in 1973.
For the next two years, Arnold served as a minister and as editor of the monthly publication “The Chosen People” with ABMJ at its headquarters in New Jersey. In 1976, he joined the staff of The Christian Jew Foundation as associate director of the largest Hebrew-Christian broadcasting ministry in the world.
That summer, Arnold met with others in the field of Jewish missions to discuss the problem of the lack of discipleship and the need for intensive biblical and theological training for Jewish believers. The early concepts of Ariel Ministries were born at that time. In December 1977, after a year and a half of prayer and much encouragement from like-minded Jewish believers, Ariel Ministries was founded. Arnold continues to serve as the director of the ministry and is in great demand as a conference speaker.
He has travelled widely in Europe, Israel and the United States, becoming intimately acquainted with the Messianic movement in all its forms and struggles. The completion of his dissertation,Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology, was the culmination of 13 years of research for which he earned his PhD at New York University in 1989. Dr Fruchtenbaum has authored numerous published works and recorded many Biblical studies of keen interest to both Jews and Gentiles. We share with you the fruits of his labour in the “Messianic Studies” pages of this website, as well as that of several others who share his vision to reach Jewish people for Messiah.