"Sam is a brilliant scholar and writer and an engaging, accessible speaker. He makes architectural history interesting with beautiful images and well-researched anecdotes. Following his sell-out lecture on New York synagogue architecture at New York’s Temple Emanu-El we received great feedback from our diverse audience of 300, including historians, preservationists, board members, donors, clergy of several faith traditions, Jews and non-Jews."

— Ann-Isabel Friedman, Director, New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Sacred Sites Program

Dr. Samuel D. Gruber is an internationally recognized art and architectural historian. For 25 years he has been a leader in the protection and preservation of synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and other historic sites around the world. He is an authority on American synagogue architecture, Jewish art, and the Jewish cemeteries and synagogues of Eastern Europe. Since 1994 he has regularly taught courses in Jewish art at Syracuse University and elsewhere.

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Spend an entire Friday-Sunday weekend learning about Jewish art and architecture, including synagogue art and architecture and Jewish artists of the 19th to 21th centuries. Dr. Gruber offers an introduction to a wide range of topics from past and present. Weekends include a mix of three to six presentations during a Friday-Sunday weekend in the form of public lectures, classes and workshops built around a single main topic, or a selection of topics.

The Art and Architecture of the Synagogue

  • Great Synagogues of the World
  • American Synagogues and Jewish Identity
  • Modern Synagogue Architecture: Between Memory and Innovation
  • Saving Synagogues: The Preservation of Jewish Monuments in Eastern Europe
  • The Architecture of Immigration: American Synagogues from 1760 to 1920
  • The Concept of Hiddur Mitzvah and Art in the Synagogue
  • An Illuminating Story: the History and Symbolism of Synagogue Light

Jewish Art

  • Religious Traditions in Jewish Art
  • Creating a Modern Jewish Artistic Identity: 1825 -1925
  • “Seeing Leads to Remembering”: The Ethnographic and Architectural Expeditions of An-Ski (1912-15) and Szymon Zajczyk (1929-39) and Their Legacy Today
  • Marc Chagall in Paris, Russia and Israel
  • Describing Jews: Photography of Jews and Jewish Photographers
  • Recent Trends in Jewish Art: Who is Jewish and Who’s Judaism?
  • The Art of Dying: The Treasury of Jewish Cemeteries

The Holocaust, Memory and the Visual Arts

  • Art of the Oppressed: In Hiding, On the Run, In the Camps
  • Facing Catastrophe: The Art of Survivors and Their Children
  • Before the Lens: The Camera and the Holocaust
  • The Art and Politics of Holocaust Monuments
  • America Faces the Holocaust
  • Women and the Holocaust as Seen Through Art
  • Landscape and Memory


Choose any of Dr. Gruber’s topics for an individual lecture or focus on one of the topics for a 2 hour, half-day, or full day workshop. Also, work with Dr. Gruber to present the history, art and architecture of your synagogue.