Mark Oppenheimer is one of our country's leading writers and speakers about contemporary religion, faith, and ethics. The biweekly writer of "Beliefs," The New York Times' legendary religion column, he is also a frequent contributor to Slate, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times Magazine, and is the author of two cutting-edge studies of religion and popular culture. The first, Knocking on Heaven's Door: American Religion in the Age of Counterculture, describes how the tumult of the 1960s affected Protestants, Catholics, and Jews in America. The second, Thirteen and a Day: The Bar and Bat Mitzvah Across America, tells the story of Oppenheimer's cross-country trip in search of unique bar and bat mitzvahs, from the Ozark Mountains to rural Louisiana to Alaska. Oppenheimer's writing takes a new turn with the release of his memoir Wisenheimer in April 2010. Covering his transformation from problem child to elite debater, Booklist calls Wisenheimer a "shout out to geek culture" and states, "Read it for its sheer entertainment value or for its exuberant celebration of language - just make sure you read it."
Oppenheimer takes a special interest in how people make tough choices - whether adults working in business, medicine, or other professions, or young people from their teen years to their thirties.
Mark Oppenheimer holds a PhD in religious studies from Yale University. He has been an NPR commentator, a newspaper editor, and a visiting professor at Stanford and Wesleyan universities and Hartford Seminary. He has delivered his humorous, accessible, intellectual speeches at colleges, high schools, churches, synagogues, and civic group meetings across the country.