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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Ruth Gruber, award-winning American writer, gives talk at SU

Former UPI correspondent explores Jewish cultural developments

March 9, 2011, by Donna Adamo

Ruth Ellen Gruber, an award-winning American writer, photographer and independent scholar living in Europe, will present a talk at 7 p.m. at the Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life on Wednesday, March 23. Gruber will discuss her thoughts on Jewish life in Eastern Europe after communism.

For more than 20 years, 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 United Press International, Gruber is the senior correspondent in Europe for Jewish Telegraphic Agencies. Her articles and photographs have appeared in the New York Times, Jewish Quarterly Review, Tablet Magazine and many other publications. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend to work on her project “Sauerkraut Cowboys, Indian Dreams: the Imaginary Wild West in Contemporary Europe,” an exploration of how Europeans view, use and imagine the American West. She was a visiting scholar at the Autry National Center’s Institute for the Study of the American West in Los Angeles and in January-March 2011 was scholar in residence at the Hadassah Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University, working on her project “(Candle)sticks on Stone: Representing the Woman in Jewish Tombstone Art.”

Gruber’s books include “National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe” (National Geographic, 2007), “Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe” (University of California Press, 2002) and “Upon the Doorposts of Thy House: Jewish Life in East-Central Europe, Yesterday and Today” (Wiley, 1994).