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About Samuel D. Gruber, Ph.D.

Samuel D. Gruber, Ph.D, accomplished researcher, author, teacher, curator and consultant, is the founder and managing director of Gruber Heritage Global (GHG) - a cultural resources consulting firm. GHG includes the Jewish Heritage Research Center (JHRC), which he has directed since 1995, and also serves the not-for-profit International Survey of Jewish Monuments (ISJM). Gruber Heritage Global serves as consultant and adviser to numerous organizations, institutions, private foundations, government agencies and individuals.

Sam has taught part-time in the Jewish Studies Program at Syracuse University since 1994. His courses on Jewish art, architecture and cultural studies are often cross-listed by the History of Art, Religion, Architecture, History and English (ETS) Departments and Schools. Sam has also taught at Binghamton, Colgate, Columbia, Cornell and Temple Universities and Cazenovia and LeMoyne Colleges where he has offered courses on medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art, architecture and urbanism; Jewish art and architecture; Holocaust art; and the history of plastics.

For thirty years he has been a leader in the documentation, protection, preservation and presentation of Jewish cultural heritage sites around the world. He has written two books about synagogue architecture; American Synagogues: A Century of Architecture and Jewish Community (2003) and Synagogues (1999), and has contributed many chapters, articles and conference papers to other publications. For many years he edited the newsletter Jewish Heritage Report and since 2008 he has written a popular blog "Samuel Gruber's Jewish Art and Monuments".

In 1990, he organized the first international conference on the preservation of historic and cultural Jewish sites and curated an accompanying exhibition, "The Future of Jewish Monuments". Subsequently he either chaired or served on the organizing committees for follow-up conferences in Paris (1999), Prague (2004) and Bratislava (2009). In April 2013 he was the keynote speaker at the conference "Managing Immovable Jewish Heritage in Europe" held in Krakow, Poland and in 2014 keynoter of the Southern Jewish Historical Society annual meeting in Austin, Texas. He has been an invited speaker at conferences and seminars in Israel, Lithuania and Germany in 2016.

Sam served for a decade as Research Director of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad (1998-2008), for which he planned and supervised more than a dozen major countrywide surveys of cultural heritage sites of ethnic and religious minorities. Many of the reports he wrote and/or edited are published and have served as the foundation for national endeavors to protect Jewish and other historic religious and cultural sites.

from 1988 to 1996, as founding director of the Jewish Heritage Council of the World Monuments Fund (WMF), and subsequently as consultant to WMF, Sam planned and oversaw historic preservation projects in over a dozen countries, including major documentation, planning and restoration projects. Completed projects in which played a key role include the Tempel Synagogue in Krakow, Poland; the Etz Hayyim Synagogue in Hania (Crete)Greece; and synagogues in Mad, Hungary; Plovdiv, Bulgaria; Pfaffenhoffen, France; and elsewhere.

He has a B.A, in Medieval Studies from Princeton University (1977), and M.A, M.Phil. and Ph.D. Degrees from Columbia University in Art History and Archeology with a specialization in the the history of architecture. His M.A. Paper (1984) was a first-hand analysis of Early Medieval Italian masonry techniques, he has maintained a research interest in construction materials and technology - from field stone to plastics.

His Ph.D. dissertation (1998) is a study of the architecture and urbanism of medieval Todi, Italy, where among other topics he addressed what he termed the “incremental urbanism” of medieval hill towns, which has gradually replaced previous ideas about their “organic” development. He has published several articles about medieval urbanism and in recent years has researched medieval Jewish settlement patterns and architecture. He earned a certificate in surveying and measured drawing from Cornell University (1981). Sam is a Rome Prize winner (1986-87) and Fellow of the American Academy of Rome, and has received numerous research grants and has participated in many grant-funded team projects.

Sam has participated in many archaeological excavations in the United States, Israel and Italy, including supervisory work at the medieval Italian monastic site of San Vincenzo al Volturno in Molise, Italy. He is presently an adviser to many archaeological projects in Europe and the Caribbean, about which he is writing a book.

In Syracuse, Sam president of the Arts and Crafts Society of Central New York and he is past president of the Preservation Association of Central New York (PACNY). He is active in local history and architecture efforts in central New York where he continues to assist many local community organizations, offers popular neighborhood walking tours, and writes the blog "My Central New York". He is PACNY's only recipient of both the Wilma Auer Volunteer Award (2010) and the Jasena Foley Education Award (2014). He also serves as a volunteer on boards and advisory committees of many cultural organizations in America and abroad.


Present PT Instructor, Jewish Studies, Syracuse University, Syracuse University

Curriculum Vitae

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  • Art & Architecture of Jewish Sacred Space
  • The Plastics Age: Technology, Design and Culture
  • The Holocaust, Memory and the Visual Arts
  • Jewish Art: From Sinai to Superheroes
  • The Art and Architecture of the Synagogue


1979 - 1998 M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Columbia University ‐ Art History & Archaeology
1973 - 1977 B.A., Princeton University ‐ Medieval Studies

Contact Information

123 Clarke Street
Syracuse, NY 13210


Jewish Art, Architecture & Cultural Heritage Sites (83)