"I am a perpetual seeker. I go on journeys of self-healing and spiritual growth; then I write about them. My hope is that my books and blog posts will inspire readers to go on their own journeys."
Lee Kravitz is the author of PILGRIM: Risking the Life I Have to Find the Faith I Seek (Hudson Street Press) and UNFINISHED BUSINESS: One Man's Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do the Right Things (Bloomsbury USA). He is a former journalist, editor and media executive.
Kravitz was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended Yale University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. In his early 20s he traveled overland by Land Rover from London to Calcutta, beginning a 10-year stint as a freelance writer and photographer that took him to more than 30 countries reporting on political, cultural and human rights issues.
In his 20-year career as an editor and magazine executive, Kravitz launched, led and ran some of the nation's most widely read publications. At Scholastic Inc, he was editorial director of several classroom magazines and initiated literacy, civic-awareness and human rights campaigns that reached millions of young people in print and online. In the late 1990s he was founding editor of React, a pioneering news and entertainment magazine for teens that was published by Parade and Conde Nast and distributed through 265 newspapers. From 2000 to 2007, he was editor-in-chief of Parade, the newspaper magazine read weekly by 75 million Americans. "As an editor, my goal has been to tell stories that connect emotionally with everyday Americans, moving them to actions that improve their lives and the world."
In UNFINISHED BUSINESS, Kravitz tells his own story -- he begins with his unexpected departure from Parade and his subsequent realization that he had allowed work to distance him from everything important in his life, including his friends, family and ideals. He commits himself to a year of closing circles and making amends. "All of us have unfinished business." he writes. "It can be a friend we lost touch with or a mentor we never thanked; it can be a call we meant to make or a pledge we failed to honor. It can be a goal we lost sight of or a spiritual quest we put on hold. Too often, life takes over and pushes the experiences that might enrich, enlarge or even complete us to the bottom of our to-do list."
UNFINISHED BUSINESS has been translated into French, Portuguese, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Bahasa Indonesian. The paperback edition contains a foreword by PASSAGES author Gail Sheehy and includes reader stories, a discussion guide and a toolkit for readers who want to address their own unfinished business.
PILGRIM, published in June 2014, chronicles Kravitz's long-buried yearning for God and a spiritual home. As the father of three young children, he writes, "I couldn't even think of traveling to an ashram in India or a monastery in Greece. Any dancing with dervishes I'd do would need to take place with 100 miles or so of New York City." His two-year journey takes him down many different paths: from the profound silence of Quaker meetings and Buddhist meditation groups to the uplifting vibrations of a candlelit Christmas mass and a weekend spent chanting Hinduism's many names for God; from Kabbalah and Torah classes at a neo-Hasidic Jewish shul to a session with a spiritually gifted astrologer -- until he finally finds the community he has been seeking. Along the way, he strives to reconcile his needs and beliefs with those of his non-believing family and friends, knowing that he may be risking his bond with them. He also explores the latest research on the effects of how religion and God impact our brains, emotions and health.
Kravitz and his wife Elizabeth Kaplan, a literary agent, live in New York City and Clinton Corners, New York, with their three children -- Benjamin, Caroline, and Noah -- who attend New York City public schools.
My blog focuses on our unfinished emotional and spiritual business: how we can identify it, keep it from accumulating, and use it to understand who we are and what we value. I report on the relevant science and research, but mostly I feature the stories of people like you and me who are struggling to make the most of their lives in these uncertain times. Compassion -- for ourselves and for others -- is this blog's overarching theme.