Each year the HBI awards 20 to 30 grants to support academic and artistic projects about Jews and gender. My project was selected by the HBI board as "an exceptional research award" to be dedicated to the memory of Michael Hammer, the husband of one of the board members, who died last year.
My project centers around the richly decorated tombstones of women in the Jewish cemetery in Radauti, Romania, where my own great-grandmother, Ettel Gruber, is buried. Many of these stones bear sometimes very elaborate depictions of candlesticks, and of women's hands blessing the flames.
As part of the project, I have set up a combined web site/blog on which I will post photo galleries and text related to my subject and also post blog entries chronicling my reflections and insights as I progress. There is also room for comment from visitors.
As the author of National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe, I have roamed thousands of miles around Europe's historic Jewish heartland, bringing Jewish heritage to light for on-site explorers and armchair travelers alike. On this blog I will post photographs, links and personal experiences related to Jewish heritage sites and travel, particularly in the countries of east-central Europe.
Aside from clearly marked quotations, links and pictures, all material on this blog is copyright ⓒ Ruth Ellen Gruber
I'm an American writer, photographer, and public speaker long based in Europe. I've chronicled Jewish cultural developments and other contemporary European Jewish issues for more than 20 years and currently coordinate the web site www.jewish-heritage-europe.eu. My latest books are "National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe," published in 2007, and "Letters from Europe (and Elsewhere)," published in 2008.
I also am working on "Sturm, Twang and Sauerkraut Cowboys: Imaginary Wild Wests in Contemporary Europe," an exploration of the American West in the European imagination for which I won a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEH summer stipend grant. In 2015 I was the Distinguished Visiting Chair in Jewish Studies at the College of Charleston, SC.