I’m an award-winning American writer, photographer, editor and independent scholar. For more than two decades I’ve chronicled Jewish cultural developments and other contemporary European Jewish issues — I  coined the term “Virtually Jewish” to describe the way the so-called “Jewish space” in Europe is often filled by non-Jews. I’m also an authority on European country music and the American frontier in the European imagination — I had a Guggenheim Fellowship to work on my project “Sauerkraut Cowboys, Indian Dreams: Imaginary Wild Wests in Contemporary Europe.”

At the ruined synagogue in Kalvarija, Lithuania — hometown of my great-grandfather

My latest books are National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern EuropeLetters from Europe (and Elsewhere), and Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe. I’m an active freelance journalist, lecturer and writer and the Coordinator of the web site www.jewish-heritage-europe.eu –  an online resource for Jewish heritage issues in 48 European countries that is a project of the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe. In September 2011, I was awarded Poland’s  Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit, one of the highest awards that Poland grants to foreign citizens.

 

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