Ruth's CV


Award-winning writer, researcher, photographer. Expert on Jewish heritage and contemporary Jewish issues in Europe, as well as on European country music and the imaginary Wild West; participant in international conferences; public speaker; consultant. Coordinator of the web site Decorated by Poland with the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit.



        Letters from Europe (and Elsewhere) (Krakow/Budapest: Austeria Press, 2008)
        National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe (Washington, DC: National Geographic, 2007)
        Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002) Polish language edition published June 2004.
        Upon the Doorposts of Thy House: Jewish Life in East-Central Europe, Yesterday and Today (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1994)
        Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to East-Central Europe (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1992/94; New Jersey: Jason Aronson 1999)

        To Begin Again: Jewish Life in Central and Eastern Europe Since the Fall of Communism in 1989. (Vienna: Centropa, 2009).
       1990-2000: Ebrei Europei Dieci Anni Dopo la Fine del Socialismo Reale (1990-2000: European Jews Ten Years After the Fall of Communism). (Rome: UCEI, 2002) Co-edited with Laura Quercioli Mincer; the book is illustrated with my photographs.


        Live at the Fillmore East, a Photographic Memoir, by Amalie R. Rothschild with Ruth Ellen Gruber (New York: Thunders Mouth Press, 1999)


     "George Oppen and Ted Berrigan, with the Novelist Marvin Cohen, Interviewed by Ruth Ellen Gruber, London, June 11, 1973." in Swigg, Richard (ed). Speaking with George Oppen: Interviews with the Poet and Mary Oppen, 1968-1987. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012)
     "Shalom Times 20: Change and Change Again." Preface to Dodziuk, Anna. Second Soul: Twenty Jewish Culture Festivals in Krakow. (Krakow: 2010)
      “Non-Jewish, Non Kosher, Yet Also Recommended.” In Philo-Semitism in History, Adam Sutcliffe and Jonathan Karp, eds. (Cambridge University Press, 2011)
        Foreword to Jewish Cemeteries of Bucovina, by Simon Geissbuehler. (Bucharest: Noi, 2009)
        "Juedische und 'juedische' Cafés." In Michal Friedlander and Cilly Kugelmann (eds), Koscher & Co. Ueber Essen und Religion. (Berlin: Nicolai, 2009)
        Photographs -- illustrations and cover -- for The Verse Within: Conversing with the Hasidic Tales, poems by Lois Roisman. (Enfield, 2008)
        Sacred Places of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Peaceful and Powerful Destinations. (National Geographic, 2008) I contributed entries on more than a dozen destinations, as well as photos.
        "Beyond Virtually Jewish…Balancing the real, the surreal and real imaginary places." In Monika Murzyn-Kupisz and Jacek Puchla, (eds.) Reclaiming Memory: Urban regeneration in the historic Jewish quarters of Central European cities. (Krakow: International Cultural Center, 2009)
        "Kitschy Jews," in Hanno Loewy (ed.), Gerüchte über die Juden. Antisemitismus, Philosemitismus und aktuelle Verschwörungstheorien. (Essen: Klartext Verlag, 2005)
        “The Jewish Culture Festival, Krakow,” in Polin (Oxford: Littman Library, 2003)
        “Tradicia, renesancia alebo nieco medzi tym? Europske zidovstvo sa snovu definuje,” in Zidia dnes (Bratislava: 2003)
        “A Virtual Jewish World,” in Jewish Studies Program Yearbook (Budapest: Central European University, 2002)
        “From An Interview With George Oppen And Ted Berrigan,” in Anne Waldman, ed., Nice to See You: Homage to Ted Berrigan. (Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 1991)
        The American Jewish Yearbook (Annual chapters from the early 1990s on Jewish Developments in East-Central European countries and in Italy.)


        The Jewish Heritage of Bosnia-Hercegovina, Report to the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, Washington DC, 2002
        The Jewish Heritage of Croatia, Report to the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, Washington DC, 2002
        The Jewish Heritage of Yugoslavia, Report to the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, Washington DC, 2002
        Jewish Monuments of Slovenia (with Samuel D. Gruber), Report, including photographs, to the U. S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, Washington DC, 1996/2002.
        Filling The Jewish Space In Europe, monograph, International Perspectives series (New York: American Jewish Committee, 1996)
        The Struggle Of Memory: The Rehabilitation Of Fascist Heroes In Europe, monograph, International Perspectives series (New York: American Jewish Committee, 1995)
        Rightwing Extremism In Western Europe, monograph, International Perspectives series (New York: American Jewish Committee, 1994)


        English translations of songs by Czech singer-songwriter Robert Krestan, featured on the 2011
        CD Shuttle to Bethlehem by the Czech bluegrass/country/rock/fusion band Druha Trava.


        "Scenes from a Krakow Café." Moment, January-February 2010
        “Beyond Virtually Jewish: New Authenticities and Real Imaginary Spaces in Europe.”The Jewish Quarterly Review vol. 99 no. 4 (Fall 2009) Virtually Jewish meets the Imaginary Wild West!
        "Virtual Judaism." Jewish Quarterly (London), no. 214 (Winter 2009)
        "Sturm, Twang and Sauerkraut Cowboys." Western Way magazine, Summer 2009
        "The West in the World." Convergence (magazine of the Autry National Center) Summer 2005 issue.
        “Un Mondo Ebraico Virtuale,” Lettera Internazionale 68, June 2001
        “European Jewry Is Redefining Itself,” in Das Jüdische Echo: Europäisches Forum für Kultur und Politik, vol. 49, October 2000
        “The Renaissance Of Jewish Media,” in Media Studies Journal, vol. 13, No. 3, Fall 1999
        “In the Labyrinth of Polish-Jewish Relations,” in East European Jewish Affairs, vol. 28. No. 1, Summer 1998
        The Encyclopaedia Judaica (written and photographic contributions to the 1990-1991 Yearbook, the 1993 Decade volume, and the CD-Rom version)


  An American (and by the way Jewish) Writer Reflects on Covering Poland Since the Birth of Solidarity. Polish Embassy, DC; Polish Consulate, NY, March 2011. Yale University, Feb. 2011
     Holocaust Legacy: Empty Spaces, Fading First-hand Memory, Bold New Jewish Realities. Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley; American Jewish Committee, Los Angeles; Temple Beth Shalom, Santa Fe NM (as scholar in residence) October 2010; UMass Amherst, Feb. 2011; Syracuse U., Penn State, Ithaca NY, March 2011 
      Sauerkraut Cowboy and Klezmer Cafes: Europe's Real Imaginary SpacesUniversity of California, Santa Cruz; October 2010
       Sturm, Twang & Sauerkraut Cowboys: The Imaginary Wild West in Europe. UCLA Center for European and Eurasian Studies; also, Autry National Center; Los Angeles, 2010
       New Life in Old Spaces: Budapest's Seventh District. Culture Ministry Seminar, Vilnius, Lithuania, December 2009
        Jewish Heritage, Sacred Heritage in Bucovina. Talks in Radauti, Romania and Chernivtsi, Ukraine, September 2009
        Jewish Heritage in Europe: What's There. International Workshop of Jewish Historic Property Management and Preservation, Bratislava, March 2009.
          Touching and Retouching: Balancing Real, Surreal and Real Imaginary Jewish Spaces. Keynote speech, Conference on Urban Jewish History and Culture, L’viv, Ukraine, November 2008
          Progress and Prospects for Jews in Post-Communist Europe. Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund, The Hague. September 2008
          Prejudices and Cliches in Yiddish Culture. The Other Europeans Symposium, Weimar, Germany, July 2008
          Beyond Virtually Jewish: New Authenticities, Real Imaginary Spaces and the Commodification of Jewish Culture. Fifth Wroclaw International Conference on Jewish Studies -- Modern Jewish Culture: Diversities and Unities. Wroclaw, Poland, June 2008
          Sturm, Twang and Sauerkraut Cowboys: Country Music and Wild Western Spaces in Europe. International Country Music Conference, Nashville, TN, May 2008; The Pop Conference, Experience Music Project, Seattle, WA. April 2008
        From Shtetl to City. Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, January 2008; American Jewish Committee chapter, Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, Ohio, May 2008
        Sauerkraut Cowboys and Klezmer Cafes: Europe’s Real Imaginary Spaces. Sixth and I Synagogue, Washington DC, January 2008
        Three lecture presentations and one panel appearance at Limmud NY, Ellenville, NY, January 2008
        New Authenticities and Real Imaginary Spaces in Europe. Strategy conference for the EU-supported project The Other Europeans. Krakow, Poland, November 2007
●                Beyond Virtually Jewish: New Authenticities and Real Imaginary Spaces in Europe. UCLA, October 2007
          Sturm and Twang: Country Western Music and Bluegrass in Europe. Western History Workshop, Autry National Center/Institute for the Study of the American West, Los Angeles, October 2007
          Jewish Heritage Travel in East-Central Europe. Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, October 2007
          Sturm und Twang: Country Music and Bluegrass in Europe, “Music of the Other” Symposium, Weimar, Germany, July 2007
          Beyond Virtually Jewish. Conference on Polish-Jewish and Polish-Israeli relations, Georgetown University, February 2007
          The Experience of Travel Writing. New York University, Prague. November 2006
●                Scholar in Residence. Jewish Federation, Ft. Worth, Texas, January 2006
                Spaghetti Cowboys, Indian Dreams: The Wild West in Italy. Co-organizer and co-moderator, one-day conference, Centro Studi Americani, Rome, Italy, Dec. 2005
●                Jews in Europe Today: It's Not Just Anti-Semitism. Anti-Defamation League, Chicago, Illinois, November 2005
●                Jewish Virtualities, Virtual Jews. Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland, Nov. 2005
●                Sauerkraut Cowboys, Indian Dreams: Country Music and Wild Western Spaces in Europe. American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Washington DC, and Connecticut College, New London, CT, November 2005
●                Jewish Culture in Europe: from Personal Expression to Public Image. Institute for Jewish Policy Research, London, England, April 19, 2005
●                Jews and the Virtual World. York University, Toronto, Canada. March 30, 2005
●                Book tour in Poland for Polish edition of Virtually Jewish. Spoke and was interviewed on Polish television: Oswiecim, Poznan, Warsaw, Lodz; March 2005
●                Interviewed for a BBC Radio 3 program on world music, aired March 6, 2005
                Interviewed on "Mosaic" talk show, CBS TV, Channel 5, San Francisco, aired January 2005
●                Jewish Life in Europe Today. San Francisco Jewish Community Center, also Congregation Beth Sholom, San Francisco, January, 2005
                Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe. Skirball Museum, Los Angeles, also, Beach Hillel and Jewish Community Center, Long Beach, and Temple Emanuel, Los Angeles, December, 2004
                Considering Jewish Quarters, Conference: Protecting the Architectural Heritage of the old Jewish quarter in Budapest. Budapest, Oct. 26, 2004
●                Life after Life: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe, Festival of Jewish Culture, Krakow, Poland, July 2004
                Jewish Budapest from Herzl to Kertesz, Jewish Museum of Bologna, July 2004
                Jewish Heritage: Ownership and Documentation, General Assembly, European Council of Jewish Communities, Budapest, May 2004
●                Featured onscreen as expert in the films Klezmer on Fish Street, by Yale Strom (April 2004) and Klezmer Musicians Travel Home to Krakow, by Ellen Friedland and Curt Fissel (June 2004, premiering on PBS May 2005)
                Anti-Semitism Without Jews, Keynote lecture, conference on the “New Anti-Semitism” organized by the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, April 2003
●                Redefining Jewish Identity in Europe, Conference on contemporary Jewish issues, Comenius University, Bratislava, May 2003
●                Anti-Semitism and the Media, round-table panelist, Vienna, June 2003
                Virtually Jewish: Jewish Culture Without The Jews In Europe, lectures in 2003/2002/2001 at the Simon Wiesenthal Center  Museum of Tolerance (Los Angeles); Center for European Studies, Harvard University; University of California at Santa Barbara (Taubman Endowed Symposium in Jewish Studies); Brandeis University; Trinity College; Brown University; University of Massachusetts at Amherst; the Moses Mendelssohn Center, Potsdam, Germany; the American Jewish Committee, Berlin; the Jewish Museum, Trieste, Italy; the Jewish Public Library, Montreal, Canada; Astor Judaica Library, San Diego.
                What Is Jewish Art? Presentation at General Assembly of the European Council of Jewish Communities, Madrid, 2001
                Virtually Jewish, lecture presentation at the International  Conference on Yiddish Theater and Music, Rome 2001
●                A Virtual Jewish World, Jewish Studies Program, Central European University, Budapest, November 1999
●                Remnant Or Renaissance? Changes In European Jewry Since The Fall Of Communism, paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, January 1999
                Non-Jewish Interest In Jewish Culture,  presentation at Conference on Strengthening Jewish Life in Europe, Strasbourg, 1997
●                European Jewry: Remnant Or Renaissance? Round-table presentations, Chicago and Los Angeles, May 1996
●                A Tribe Of Stones, Lecture at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Research Institute, February 1996


      Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit, awarded by Poland, September 2011
      Hadassah Brandeis Institute Scholar in Residence Award, 2011
      Michael Hammer Tribute Research Award, Hadassah Brandeis Institute, 2009
     Guggenheim Fellowship, 2006 (taken in 2007)
     National Endowment for the Humanities summer stipend 2006 (taken in 2007)
     Writing/Research grant, Jewish Federation of Los Angeles (February 2005)
     Visiting Scholar Fellowship, Autry National Center, Institute for the Study of the American West, Los Angeles (December 2004)
     Lucius N. Littauer Foundation research grant (1998/9)
     Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture research grant (1998/9)

     The Simon Rockower Award for Excellence in Jewish Journalism, Third Place, personality profiles. Presented in 2007 for profile of Kinky Friedman published in February 2006 on JTA.
     The Simon Rockower Award for Excellence in Jewish Journalism, Honorable Mention,  comprehensive coverage or investigative reporting category. (Presented in 2000 for articles written in 1999 for Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
     The Simon Rockower Award for Excellence in Jewish Journalism; Boris Smolar Award for Excellence in International News or Feature Reporting, Honorable Mention (presented in 1997 for article published in 1996 in B'nai B'rith International Jewish Monthly)
       Distinguished Graduate Award, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, Plymouth Meeting, PA


            -- 1985-present: Freelance writer, photographer, public speaker, consultant. Co-founder in 1995 of the Jewish Heritage Research Center, based in Syracuse, New York; carrying out on-site documentation of Jewish monuments and heritage sites.
      Senior European Correspondent, Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Consultant to the Central Europe Center for Research and Documentation (Vienna) with a regular column on the web site Blogger at; Member of the International Editorial Board, Jewish Cultural Studies (Littman Library

       Coordinator,, a project of the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe

      Past or Present Contributor to, among many others: The New York Times, Tablet Magazine, Hadassah Magazine, Moment Magazine, CBC Radio, Ha’aretz, The International Herald Tribune, Business Week, The Jewish Chronicle (London, England), The Forward, The San Francisco Chronicle,  Newsday, The Christian Science Monitor, The Chicago Tribune Magazine, The Independent on Sunday (London), The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Italy, Italy magazine, Ulysse (Alitalia Inflight Magazine) The Washington Journalism Review, Radio Deutsche Welle English Language service, The Toronto Star, The San Diego Union, The St. Petersburg Times, The Houston Post, U.S. News and World Report, The Montreal Gazette, The Oberlin College Alumni Magazine, AVOTAYNU (the International Review of Jewish Genealogy), Reform Judaism magazine, East European Jewish Affairs, Midrasz (Warsaw), Fodor's Travel Guides

            -- February 1983-November 1984. Chief correspondent, United Press International, Vienna: traveling widely in Eastern Europe and covering East-West arms negotiations.

            -- February 1981-January 1983. Chief correspondent, United Press International, Warsaw, covering the genesis and evolution of Solidarity and imposition of Martial Law. In January 1983 Gruber was arrested and jailed by Polish secret police on trumped-up charges purporting to link her with espionage. In what became a front-page news story and international incident, she was held nearly 24 hours in prison, interrogated for seven hours, and expelled from the country. Following her expulsion from Poland, she was interviewed on CNN, CBS-TV, PBS and NBC (the Today Show), as well as on numerous radio programs. She also gave various talks on her experience.

            -- September 1978-February 1981. Bureau Manager, United Press International, Belgrade, covering most of Eastern Europe (particularly the communist Balkans) as well as local developments in Yugoslavia including the death of President Tito. During this time, she also formed part of a delegation of American poets to the Struga International Poetry Festival on Lake Ohrid in 1979.

            -- September 1973-September 1978. Staff correspondent/editor, The Associated Press, Rome; United Press International,  Rome, Brussels, London.

            -- 1972-1973. Editorial Assistant, Fulcrum Press, London (a poetry publisher). Also some freelance writing, editing and research work.


            Gruber's photographs are in the collections of the Jewish Heritage Program/World Monuments Fund; the International Survey of Jewish Monuments; and the United States Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad. They have been exhibited in Italy and Hungary, as well as on the World Wide Web and have been published by, among others: The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Tablet Magazine, Hadassah Magazine, The Encyclopaedia Judaica, The Independent on Sunday Magazine, JTA,  Italy, Italy magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Newsday, The San Francisco Examiner, The San Diego Union, The St. Petersburg Times, The Toronto Star, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune Magazine, The Oberlin College Alumni Magazine, AVOTAYNU, the Jewish Chronicle (London)


Oberlin College, BA  (Fine Arts) 1971