Ruth’s CV


Writer, independent scholar, photographer. Focus on Jewish cultural heritage, as well as on “the imaginary Wild West” in Europe, including the European country music scene. Honors and awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, NEH summer grant, Rockower Jewish journalism awards; fellowships/positions at the College of Charleston, Hadassah Brandeis Institute, and the Autry National Center; Poland’s Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit.

  • Coordinator and co-developer of the web site — a project of the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe (current). In this role, lead or co- organizer of several international conferences on Jewish heritage (in 2013; 2015; 2017; 2022)
  • Arnold Distinguished Visiting Chair in Jewish Studies, College of Charleston, Spring semester, 2015
  • Author of several books, mainly on Jewish culture and heritage topics; Editor, Collaborator or Contributor of chapters in over a score of other books. (See below)
  • Articles & photographs published in newspapers, magazines, books, online publications, and scholarly journals.
  • Member of the Scientific Committee, the Foundation for the Jewish Museum in Padova, Italy; Member of the Advisory Committee, Holocaust Memorials Database Project; Member of the International Editorial Board, Jewish Cultural Studies; Member of the International Advisory Panel, Foundation for Jewish Heritage; Member of Scholarly Board, Rassegna Mensile di Israel (Rome, Italy); Member of International Jury, International Competition for the Preservation of Jewish Sites in L’viv, Ukraine (2010); Member of the Advisory Board, The Vienna Project
  • Advisor/Consultant/Onscreen protagonist: Banjo Romantika – American Bluegrass Music & the Czech Imagination (documentary film completed 2013)
  • Public speaker/scholar in residence at many international conferences, universities, museums, synagogues & other venues – including Zoom webinars
  • Foreign Correspondent for United Press International based in Rome, Brussels, London, Belgrade, Warsaw, Vienna; 1974-1984. Former Senior European Correspondent, JTA.

BOOKS: Authored

  • 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) Previous editions: 1992/1994/1999.
  • Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002)
  • Upon the Doorposts of Thy House: Jewish Life in East-Central Europe, Yesterday and Today (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1994)

BOOKS: Collaborator

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

BOOKS: Edited

  • 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.

BOOKS: Chapters/Contributions

  • “ Jewish? ‘Jewish’ Jewish!” In Jewish Revival Inside Out Remaking Jewishness in a Transnational Age. (ed. Daniel Monterescu and Rachel Werczberger.) Wayne State University Press, 2022
  • “Preservers/Rescuers/Keepers/Guardians of Memory: Recognizing non-Jewish Poles who preserve, protect, conserve, and promote Jewish history, heritage and memory.” In Jews and Slavs. Volume 27:Jewish-Slavic Cultural Horizons: Essays on Jewish History and Art in Slavic Lands ( Sergey R. Kravtsov, Polona Vidmar) Jerusalem, 2022
  • “Foreword (Vorwort).” In Reiten Wir: Phantastikautoren für Karl May (ed. Alex Jahnke). Roter Drache, 2017.
  • “Real Imaginary Spaces and Places: Virtual, Actual, and Otherwise.” In Space and Spatiality in Modern German-Jewish History (ed. Simone Lässig and Miriam Rürup). Berghahn Books, 2017
  • “Beyond Virtually Jewish: Monuments to the Jewish Experience in Eastern Europe.” Main Forum essay (and response) – Chapters 13 & 17. In Simon Bronner, ed. Jewish Cultural Studies 4: Framing Jewish Culture: Boundaries and Representations. (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2014)
  • “Post-trauma ‘Precious Legacies’: Jewish Museums in Eastern Europe after the Holocaust and before the Fall of Communism.” In Richard I. Cohen, ed. Visualizing and Exhibiting Jewish Space and History. (Oxford University Press, 2012)
  • “George Oppen and Ted Berrigan, with the Novelist Marvin Cohen, Interviewed by Ruth Ellen Gruber, London, June 11, 1973.” in Richard Swigg, ed. Speaking with George Oppen: Interviews with the Poet and Mary Oppen, 1968-1987. (Jefferson, NC: 2012)
  • Introduction to A Second Soul: 20 Jewish Culture Festivals in Krakow, by Anna Dodziuk. (Krakow: Czarna Owca, 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: 2009)
  • Introduction to Lost World of Small-town Jewish Cemeteries, by Tomasz Wisniewski. (Bialystok: Kreator, 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)
  • “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)
  • “A Virtual Jewish World,” in Jewish Studies Program Yearbook (Budapest: 2002)


  • “Reportage: Beyond Prague’s ‘Precious Legacy’: post-communist Jewish exhibits and synagogue restorations in the Czech Republic.” In East European Jewish Affairs, vol. 45; 2-3. 2015
  • “Dark Tourism: a Comparative Perspective.” The Drayton Hall Diaries, April 28, 2015
  • (Candle)sticks on Stone: the Representation of Women in Jewish Tombstone Art. Working paper, Hadassah Brandeis Institute, 2011. A version was published in Juden in Mitteleuropa 2011 — “Ostjuden” Geschichte und Mythos. St. Pölten: Institut für Jüdische Geschichte pp 60-6
  • “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 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)


  • Songs by the Czech singer-songwriter Robert Krestan of the “Czechgrass” band Druha Trava; featured on the 2011 CD Shuttle to Bethlehem (also liner notes for the CD)


  • Arnold Distinguished Visiting Chair in Jewish Studies, College of Charleston, Spring semester 2015
  • Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Poland (awarded September 2011)
  • Scholar in Residence, Hadassah Brandeis Institute, January-March 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 (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)
  • Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism (various categories), First Place (with team of reporters) 2016; Third Place, 2007; Honorable Mentions, 2000 and 1997
  • Distinguished Graduate Award, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, Plymouth Meeting, PA


Oberlin College, BA (Fine Arts)