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Work experience


Ruth consults on heritage issues and also advises clients on travel itineraries. On request, she joins groups or individuals as a cultural and heritage resource on tours.

Public Speaker


Ruth is a frequent lecturer and public speaker, at a variety of venues including museums, universities, Jewish centers, conferences and seminars. Venues have included, among others:

  • Museums: The Skirball (Los Angeles); The Autry National Center (Los Angeles); The Smithsonian Institution (DC); The Jewish Museum of Bologna, Italy; Anne Frank House (Amsterdam); the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; the Auschwitz Jewish Center (Poland)
  • Universities and Colleges: Harvard; Brown; Georgetown; SUNY Cortland; Ithaca College; UMass; UCLA; UC Santa Barbara; UC Santa Cruz; UC Berkeley; Brandeis; Hunter College; Trinity College
  • Jewish Centers and Organizations: American Jewish Committee; Anti-Defamation League; European Council of Jewish Communities; Ft. Worth Jewish Federation (scholar in residence); Montreal Jewish Book Fair; San Diego Jewish Book Fair; New York Jewish Book Fair; Temple Beth Shalom, Santa Fe, NM (scholar in residence)
  • Conferences and other venues: International Country Music Conference (Nashville); The Pop Conference (Seattle); American History Association Annual Meeting; American Studies Association Annual Meeting; Yiddish Summer Weimar seminar; Center for Urban History (L'viv); Institute for Jewish Policy Research (London); Festival of Jewish Culture (Krakow); International Book Festival (Budapest); Conference on Modern Jewish Culture (Wroclaw, Poland)


United Press International

Ruth was a foreign correspondent with UPI from 1974-1984. During this period she served in

  • Rome
  • Brussels
  • London
  • Belgrade (Bureau Manager)
  • Warsaw (Chief Correspondent) -- During her tenure in Warsaw, Ruth was arrested and jailed by Poland's Martial Law regime on trumped up espionage charges. She was expelled from the country in what became an international incident.
  • Vienna (Chief Correspondent for Eastern Europe)

Freelance writer, editor, photographer


Ruth is a freelance writer, editor, photographer and consultant. She has authored, edited, collaborated on or contributed to more than half a dozen books and writes for many publications.

  • Senior correspondent for Europe, JTA
  • Contributor: International Herald Tribune/, Tablet Magazine, Hadassah Magazine, Moment Magazine, and more
  • Regular columns at, JTA, The New Leader (1997-2010)
  • International Correspondent, National Day of the Cowboy
  • Mother-tongue English-language editing of articles, books, reports, web content (clients include Enjoy Slovakia travel agency; the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; university professors; Menorah Jewish Heritage organization, Bratislava; Central Europe Center



Oberlin College


Lectures and Presentations

Awards and Honors

Scholar in Residence, Hadassah Brandeis Institute (appointed for January-February 2011)

Michael Hammer Tribute Research Grant, Hadassah Brandeis Institute (2009)

Guggenheim Fellowship  (2006/7)

National Endowment for the Humanities/NEH summer stipend (2006/7)

Los Angeles Jewish Federation research grant (2005)

Visiting Scholar, Autry National Center, Los Angeles (2004)

Lucius N. Littauer Foundation research grant (1998/99)

Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture research grant (1998/99)

Simon Rockower Award for Excellence in Jewish Journalism (Third place, personality profiles 2007; Honorable mention, comprehensive or investigative, 2000; Honorable mention, International News or Features, 1997)

Distinguished Graduate Award, Plymouth Whitemarsh Senior High School


Ruth Ellen Gruber is an award-winning American writer, photographer, editor and independent scholar living in Europe. For more than two decades she has chronicled Jewish cultural developments and other contemporary European Jewish issues.  She coined the term “Virtually Jewish” to describe the way the so-called “Jewish space” in Europe is often filled by non-Jews.

A former foreign correspondent for UPI, she is the senior European correspondent for JTA. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Tablet Magazine,  Hadassah Magazine, Moment Magazine, the Jewish Quarterly Review, The Western Way, and many other publications.

Her books includeNationalGeographicJewishHeritageTravel: A Guide to Eastern Europe, Letters from Europe (and Elsewhere),  Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe, and Upon the Doorposts of Thy House: Jewish Life in East-Central Europe, Yesterday and Today.

She won a Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEH summer stipend to work on her ongoing project  "Sauerkraut Cowboys, Indian Dreams: Imaginary Wild Wests in Contemporary Europe," an exploration of the American frontier in the European imagination.

Her project  “(Candle)sticks on Stone: Representing the Woman in Jewish Tombstone Art,” has been supported by a Hadassah Brandeis Institute research grant.


      -- is an experienced and compelling public speaker.

      -- consults on tourist itineraries and heritage issues.

      -- writes and edits articles, books and reports.

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Jewish Heritage Blog

Imaginary Wild West Blog

Articles and Random Notes

(Candle)Sticks on Stone Project