Right now, I am writing Squirrel Hill, the definitive study of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh and how a neighborhood came together to support each other in the aftermath (to be published by Knopf in 2021).
But also: I wrote the “Beliefs” column for The New York Times from 2010 until the summer of 2016. I now host a weekly podcast Unorthodox, produced by Tablet magazine. On iTunes’s #1 Jewish-themed podcast, I deliver the News of the Jews to the world, and interviews guests (Jewish and non-) from Roxane Gay to Simon Doonan, from Transparent’s Kathryn Hahn to Dan Savage. But I am most proud to be one of the only writers ever to contribute to both The Christian Century magazine and Playboy. Or maybe of my very brief improv-comedy stint with the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade. My magazine journalism and reviews appear in The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, The Atlantic, The Nation, The Believer, and elsewhere. I hold a Ph.D. in religion from Yale and have taught at Yale, Stanford, Wesleyan, Boston College, and NYU.
I have written two studies of religion and popular culture. The first, Knocking on Heaven’s Door, describes how the tumult of the 1960s affected Protestants, Catholics and Jews in America. The second, Thirteen and a Day, tells the story of my cross-country trip in search of unique bar and bat mitzvahs, from the Ozark Mountains to rural Louisiana to Alaska. (We should have called it The Bar Mitzvah Crashers — in a new edition, I have.)
I give a lot of talks, mostly on faith, community, media, and politics, and I appear on TV and host on the radio. I wrote and hosted this documentary about David Blankenhorn, the famous same-sex-marriage opponent who changed his mind. I have given NPR commentaries about Quaker summer camp and the demise of the hippie, and I was featured in an NPR segment about Portnoy’s Complaint. You can also see footage of my appearances on TV: here I am on the CBS Early Show talking about Tom Cruise and Scientology, and here he I am on CBS Sunday Morning. I’ve appeared several times on Morning Joe, as well. Here is an archive of my appearances at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
I’ve won awards for my writing and scholarship, including the Hiett Prize, the Koret Young Writer on Jewish Themes Award, the Connecticut Book Award, and the John Addison Porter Prize from Yale University. I live in New Haven, Connecticut, with my wife, four daughters, one son, two dogs, and cat.
So you want to reach me? I am at mark.e.oppenheimer@[that Google service that starts with a g]