Articles & Other Writing

Selected Articles and Other Publications




Shuttle to Bethlehem. A CD issued in 2011 by the award-winning Czech country/bluegrass/fusion band Druha Trava that mainly features Ruth’s English-language translations of singer-songwriter Robert Krestan’s songs; Ruth also wrote the liner notes.




“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.

“Reportage: Beyond Prague’s “Precious Legacy”: post-communist Jewish exhibits and synagogue restorations in the Czech Republic.” East European Jewish Affairs Vol. 45 , Iss. 2-3, 2015

“Beyond Virtual Jewishness: Monuments to Jewish Experience in Eastern Europe.” Forum essay and response in  Framing Jewish Culture: Boundaries and Representations (ed. Simon J. Bronner) Jewish Cultural Studies, Volume 4. 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 Visualizing and Exhibiting Jewish Space and History. (ed. Richard I. Cohen) Studies in Contemporary Jewry, vol. 26. Oxford University Press, 2012

“Polish Jewish Heritage.” In Preserving Jewish Heritage in Poland. Warsaw: Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, 2012

“Non-Jewish, Non-Kosher, Yet Also Recommended”: Beyond “Virtually Jewish” in Post-Millennium Central Europe.” in Philosemitism in History. Ed: Jonathan Karp and Adam Sutcliffe, Cambridge University Press, 2011

“Shalom Times 20: Change and Change Again.” Preface to Dodziuk, Anna. Second Soul: Twenty Jewish Culture Festivals in Krakow.  Krakow: 2010

“Beyond Virtually Jewish…balancing the real, surreal and real imaginary places.” In   Reclaiming Memory: Urban regeneration in the historic Jewish quarters of Central European cities. Ed.Monika Murzyn, Jacek Purchla. Krakow: International Culture Center, 2009

“Sturm, Twang and Sauerkraut Cowboys: Country Music and Wild Western Spaces in Europe.”

Text of paper I’ve given multi-media versions of at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles in October 2007 (Western History  Workshop),  The Pop Conference at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, WA, in April 2008, the International Country Music Conference (Nashville, may 2008) and elsewhere.

Western Way Summer 2009The Western Way magazine published a much shortened version of my Sturm, Twang and Sauerkraut Cowboy essay in its Summer 2009 issue.

“Beyond Virtually Jewish: New Authenticities and Real Imaginary Spaces in Europe.” Virtually Jewish meets the Imaginary Wild West! Jewish Quarterly Review. Vol 99, No. 4 (Fall, 2009)

“The View from Europe: the West in the World,”Convergence magazine, Summer 2005. Illustrated article on the Imaginary Wild West published in the magazine of the Autry National Center.

German Country Music — CBC Radio report, Apr/May 2004 —

“A Virtual Jewish World,” Chapter in Jewish Studies Yearbook II, Budapest: Central European University



Jews Plus Bluegrass Equals Toe-Stompin’ Jewgrass. Hadassah Magazine, August 2017

Yellow Starlight in Budapest. Jewish Quarterly. November 4, 2016

That Time John Glenn Wrote Me a Letter in 1961. JTA,December 9, 2016

One Ruth Gruber Says Goodbye to Another. JTA, November 21, 2016

Venice, 500 Years of the Ghetto. Hadassah Magazine, August 2016

Venice Welcomes Back Shylock in Marking Its Jewish History. JTA, August 2, 2016

In Krakow, Night of the Synagogues Bolsters Jewish Pride. JTA, June 6, 2016

Pope Francis and Catholic-Jewish Relations. JTA, January 15, 2016

The Night I Spent in Jail in Hitler’s Hometown. Tablet Magazine, Sept. 10, 2014

Uniting Jewish Heritage Sites Across Czech Republic.  The Forward, August 11, 2014

Eric Clapton at Auschwitz.  Tablet Magazine, June 30, 2014

In Poland a Renewal of Memory, from Belzec to Rychwal.  JTA, June 27, 2014

In Poland, a Wedding Celebrates Jewish Rediscovery and Revival. JTA, June 24, 2014

Boycotting Government Holocaust Commemorations, Hungary’s Jews Forge New Path.  JTA, June 10, 2014

On pope’s trip to Israel, rabbi and sheik will be traveling companions. JTA, May 19, 2014

The Jewish Poet Who Slept in Hitler’s Bedroom. Tablet Magazine, April 28, 2014

Becoming Saints: Two Popes Who Revolutionized Jewish-Catholic Relations. JTA, April 24, 2014

70 Years Later, Memory of Nazi Massacre Still Divides Some Italians—and Unites Others. Tablet Magazine, March 21, 2014

Remembering Murdered Researcher Jiři Fiedler. Tablet Magazine, March 10, 2014

When Peter Seeger Brought Bluegrass — and His Banjo — To Czechoslovakia in 1964. Tablet Magazine. January 28, 2014

“Plan To Open Another Holocaust Museum in Budapest Faces Criticism—From Jews.”Tablet Magazine. January 10, 2014

“The Arts: A Museum in the Void.”Hadassah Magazine, December 2013. Article about the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

The actor who quit Milan’s Jewish community. JTA. Nov. 14, 2013

The night Lou Reed came to my house. JTA. Oct. 29, 2013

“The Resurrection of Chmielnik.”The Forward, August 20, 2013

Onward and Upward with Matisyahu in Krakow. Reflections on this year’s Krakow Jewish Culture Festival. The Forward, July 19, 2013

Piazza Palatucci. Column, Los Angeles Jewish Journal, June 24, 2013

Creating modern Israeli heroine, LeBor crosses Lisbeth Salander and biblical Yael. JTA. June 16, 2013

Across Warsaw, remembering Warsaw Ghetto heroes with yellow daffodils. JTA. April 22, 2013

At last, Warsaw’s Museum of the History of Polish Jews is dedicated. JTA. April 18, 2013

Jews find early signs from Pope Francis encouraging. JTA. March 18, 2013

Benedict’s papacy: a period of close Jewish relations with occasional bumps. JTA. Feb. 11, 2013

Bureaucracy stalls construction of Italy’s first Holocaust museum. JTA. Jan. 27, 2013

New Czech Jewish museum to spread exhibits across 10 sites nationwide. JTA. Dec. 11, 2012

Medieval Jewish banquet in small Italian town resurrects forgotten menus.JTA. Oct. 17, 2012

In southern Italy, long-lost Jews returning to the fold. JTA. Oct. 3, 2012

Man with a mission: Italian pianist revives music created in concentration camps. JTA. Sept. 27, 2012

In Poland and Slovakia, restoring awareness of a forgotten Jewish past. JTA. July 23, 2012

Letter from Krakow: When is anti-Semitism not anti-Semitism?JTA. July 18, 2012

Europe’s Jews still chasing an elusive collective identity. JTA. July 8, 2012

Political, social turmoil worries Hungary’s Jews. JTA. May 13. 2012

Young families bringing new life to Budapest synagogues. JTA. May 2, 2012

Neglect, new construction squeezing historic Serbian Jewish cemetery. JTA. April 17, 2012

For some schoolkids in southern Italy, meeting their first Jew on Holocaust Day.JTA. Jan. 31, 2012

In Budapest, corruption probe amplifies calls for reform of communal institutionsJTA. Jan. 10, 2012

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Echoes of Solidarnosc in Egypt. JTA. Feb. 15, 2011

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Recovering Jewish History in L’viv. JTA. Jan. 20, 2011

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: New book on Hungarian anti-Semitism. JTA. Dec. 21, 2010

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Start-up continent — European Jewry. JTA. Nov. 10, 2010

Heym on the Range. Tablet Magazine. Nov. 4, 2010

On the Trail of Gustav Mahler. International Herald Tribune/NYTimes online. Oct. 15, 2010.

Italian Village Honors Work of Philly Artist. Jewish Exponent. Sept. 23, 2010

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Savoring Goulash Judaism in the Hungarian Capital. JTA, Sept. 16, 2010

European Day of Jewish Culture. JTA. Sept. 1, 2010

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Shabbatons for non-Jews in Poland. JTA. Aug. 2, 2010

Jewish Fusion Museum Key to Jewstock Festival in Hungary. JTA. July 22. 2010

New Museum Tells Krakow’s Stories of World War II International Herald Tribune/NYTimes online, July 15, 2010

Jewish, July 2010

Jewish July 2010

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: In Venice, a Jewish Disconnect between Locals and Visitors. JTA. June 16, 2010

Pure and Complicated: Mikvah Exhibition in Austria. Tablet Magazine. April 21, 2010

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Reaction to Tragedy Shows Changes in Polish-Jewish Relations. JTA. April 20, 2010

Budapest’s Jewish Quarter Wakes Up. April 2010

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Flap over the IMussolini App. JTA, Feb. 21, 2010

Scenes from a Krakow Cafe. Moment Magazine. Jan.-Feb, 2010

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Attack on Crete synagogue has special meaning. JTA, Jan. 13, 2010

Virtual Judaism.Jewish Quarterly Review. December 2009

Night and Day in Jewish Time. Hadassah Magazine. December 2009-January 2010

My Hanukkah Gift (olive oil). Tablet Magazine. Dec. 17, 2009

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Swiss minaret ban recalls synagogue bans of past eras. JTA. Dec. 14, 2009

A Nod to Budapest’s Future in a Grassroots Celebration of Its Past. International Herald Tribune/New York Times online, Dec. 8, 2009

Revisiting Romania. The New Leader, September/October 2009. (Click on title to download pdf.)

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: A Sea Change in 20 Years.JTA. Nov. 10, 2009

Where Art and Faith Embrace. New York Times online/International Herald Tribune. Article and online slide-show, Nov. 7, 2009

Holocaust Memorials Go Up in Eastern Europe, with Some Flaws. JTA. Oct. 30, 2009

In Eastern Europe, Advances Toward Accountability but More to Do. JTA. Oct. 28, 2009

Italian Jews Launch New Jewish Newspaper – for Non-Jews. JTA. Oct. 12, 2009

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Discovering an ancestor’s footsteps. JTA. Oct. 1, 2009

STICKS AND STONES. Tablet Magazine, Sept. 30, 2009 (Article and slideshow about my (Candle)sticks on Stone project.)

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: A Tale of Two Synagogues. JTA. Sept. 7, 2009

Jewish Heritage Travel in Bielsko-Biala, Poland. My column. August 20, 2009

A Road Trip Through a Revolution: Mine by Mine and Factory by Factory. International Herald Tribune/New York Times web site. July 30, 2009

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Summer Reading and the Holocaust. JTA. August 1, 2009

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Michael Jackson and the Jewish Nose. JTA. June 29, 2009

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Poland’s Jewish Heritage Is About More Than Just Death. JTA. June 1, 2009

“Facebook-Fakebook: A Letter from Who Knows Where?”  “Facebook-Fakebook: A Letter from Who Knows Where?” My column for THE NEW LEADER, March-April 2009 — about the perils and pleasures of the Facebook phenomenon.

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Online Epitaphs. JTA. April 17, 2009

Bluegrass Thrives, Far from Home. International Herald Tribune/New York Times online. April 9, 2009

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: New effort to preserve restituted property. JTA. March 26, 2009

On the Road and Off the Beaten Track in Ukraine. column. March 2009

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Klezmer and the Ghost of Germany Past. JTA. February 25, 2009

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Farewell to a Pintele Yid. JTA, January 22, 2009. A tribute to the late Henryk Halkowski, a Krakow personality who died Jan. 1.

“For A Fortress Town, a Second Renaissance.”International Herald Tribune/NYTimes online. Jan. 12, 2009

“A Letter from Rome: The Expatriate Vote.” My “Letter from Europe” for THE NEW LEADER — about how Americans overseas lived the U.S. Presidential election.

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Just Being (Jewish). Dec. 22, 2008

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Living Like Anne Frank? Nov. 19, 2008.

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Jewish Places and Spaces. Oct. 23, 2008.

“Poland Prepares for Chopin’s Bicentennial.”International Herald Tribune/NYTimes online, Oct. 13, 2008

A Jewish Singer Towers Over the Country Western Scene.JTA, Sept. 26, 2008

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: My Senior Prom and the Six-Day War. Sept. 4, 2008.

A Letter from Europe: A Jewish Holiday for Everyone. Hadassah Magazine. September 2008

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Does a “certain Jewish something” really set Jews apart? Aug. 7, 2008.

“A Letter from Baschi: My Pilgrimage to the Pasquarella.” My “Letter from” in The New Leader, May-Sept. 2008

Wroclaw: Tracing Poland’s History in a City of Panoramas. International Herald Tribune/NYtimes online. July 30, 2008. (Photo gallery attached at site.)

RUTHLESS COSMOPOLITAN: “From Klezmer to Country — Linking the Soundtracks”, July 1, 2008.

“Promoting Jewish in Krakow”. The Forward. June 2008

Meandering along the Elbe, by River Boat and Train.”International Herald Tribune/NYtimes online, June 3, 2008.

In Czech City, 1930s Modernism Lives On”. Article on modernist architecture in Brno. International  Herald Tribune, April 9, 2008. (There is a photo gallery attached to the online site.)

“Billy Jenkins: Half-Jewish, Nazi Cowboy in Berlin”. The Forward, Jan. 3, 2008

“How I Remember Mom — A Letter from Morruzze” A memoir of my mother, who died in April 2007. The New Leader, September-October, 2007

A Rendez-vous in France with the Wild West,” International Herald Tribune, Aug. 9, 2007

“Sauerkraut Cowboys — A Letter from Berlin.” The New Leader, March-April 2007 (page 12-14)

Majk monastery: History and lore,” International Herald Tribune, January 13, 2006

A border as crossroad for culture,” International Herald Tribune, November 18, 2005

Songs from the heart of the Ghetto,” International Herald Tribune, November 8, 2005

Austrian welcome: Comfy country inns,” International Herald Tribune, October 28, 2005

The quiet pleasures of 3 Czech towns,” International Herald Tribune, September 16, 2005

A yearly tour of Jewish culture,” International Herald Tribune, September 12, 2005

“Tramps and Bluegrass: A Letter from the Czech Republic,”New Leader, August 2005.

One of my first pieces about bluegrass and tramping in the CZ.

Roznov pod Radhostem: Czech Folk Heritage Has Its Champion,” International Herald Tribune, August 9, 2005.

Mad: Restored Synagogue Honors Village’s Past,” International Herald Tribune, August 5, 2005.

“Czechs take Bluegrass and Make It Their Own,”New York Times, July 4, 2005..

A Lake-studded Detour near Berlin,” International Herald Tribune, July 1, 2005.

“Growing Their Own ‘Czechgrass,’” International Herald Tribune, June 29, 2005.

Among the Ruins of Empire,” International Herald Tribune, June 13, 2005.

“A Pit Stop Where One Can Linger.International Herald Tribune, May 27, 2005.

A Letter from London: England Revisited,The New Leader, May 2005.

A Conductor’s Batons Cast a Magical Spell, International Herald Tribune, March 31, 2005.

Austrian Town Celebrates a Lost Song, International Herald Tribune, December 8, 2004.

Switzerland in Cowboy Gear International Herald Tribune, November 11, 2004.

As the Scars Heal, a Return to Bosnia,International Herald Tribune, October 15, 2004.

Creating Symbiosis with Jewelry, International Herald Tribune, October 2, 2004.

Ambling Down Rural Czech Roads,International Herald Tribune, August 27, 2004.

“Swiss Jam at a Truckin’ Festival,”International Herald Tribune, August 18, 2004.

European Festivals Keep Wild West Alive and Kickin’, International Herald Tribune, August 7, 2004.

“The Carpathians’ Appalachian Twang,” International Herald Tribune, July 2, 2004.

The Adriatic Blossoms in the Off-Season,” International Herald Tribune, October 31, 2003.

“Deep in the Heart of Bavaria,”New York Times, April 11, 2004.

“Aging with the Stones.The New Leader, July-August, 2003.

“Where Jeans Legend Won’t Fade,” International Herald Tribune, July 4, 2003.

“Europe’s ‘Jewish Space’ at Center Stage,”International Herald Tribune, June 4, 2003

“A Driver’s History of Modern Europe.”The New York Times, May 27, 2001

“In Krakow, a ‘Jewish Woodstock.’International Herald Tribune, July 19, 1995.

My first major article on the Jewish Festival in Krakow