Jay Michaelson

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Jay Michaelson (born May 5, 1971[1]) is a writer and teacher in the United States who writes on law, religion, Judaism, and LGBT issues.[2] Michaelson is legal affairs and religion columnist at The Daily Beast[3] and a contributing editor to The Forward,[4] newspaper. Michaelson has twice won the New York Society for Professional Journalists award for opinion writing, most recently in 2014.[5]

Legal and political writing[edit]

After graduating from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1993, Michaelson graduated from Yale Law School in 1997. His 1998 Stanford Environmental Law Journal article[6][7] on geoengineering and climate change was described as "seminal" by Salon Magazine[8] and he is regarded as an early advocate of the policy.[9] Other legal academic work was published in the Yale Law Journal[10] and Duke Law Journal.[11]

Since 2004, Michaelson's legal and political writing has focused on religion, progressive politics, and LGBT issues. In 2009, his essay entitled "How I'm Losing My Love for Israel" generated substantial controversy in the Jewish world, including responses [12] from Daniel Gordis,[13] and Jonathan Sarna,.[14] His recent work has been featured on MSNBC ("Gays under attack over Ebola")[15] and Meet the Press ("Prayer breakfast dispute").[16] As a result, Michaelson was listed in the Forward 50 list of the most influential American Jews in 2009.

In 2013, Michaelson wrote a long-form report on the religious exemptions movement, Redefining Religious Liberty: The Covert Campaign Against Civil Rights..[17] Michaelson's work on this issue gained prominence a year later after the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case.[18] Since then he has appeared on NPR[19] and at the Newseum[20] and written many articles on religious liberty in Reuters,[21] The Washington Post[22] and other publications.

In 2014, Michaelson co-founded a project at The Daily Beast entitled Quorum: Global LGBT Voices, which features TED-style talks by LGBT leaders from the Global South.[23] And in 2015, Michaelson began a series of articles for The Daily Beast on prosecutorial misconduct.[24] He has also written controversial articles on abortion, including one in the Washington Post claiming that Planned Parenthood is "doing God's work."[25]

Religious work[edit]

In addition to his political writing, Michaelson is also a rabbi and a teacher of jhana meditation in the Theravadan Buddhist lineage of Ayya Khema and Michaelson's teacher Leigh Brasington.[26] Michaelson has written several books on meditation and contemporary culture.[27] Michaelson holds a Ph.D. in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University, and was ordained as a rabbi in 2013.

Michaelson is Jewish and openly gay and often works in the intersecting fields of LGBT people and Jewish traditions.[28] Michaelson was called one of the "Most Inspiring LGBT Religious Leaders" in 2011 by the Huffington Post[29] and one of "Our Religious" Allies by the LGBT newspaper The Advocate.[30] He founded Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture in 2002 and Nehirim, an LGBT Jewish organization, in 2004. His 2009 book God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality was an Amazon bestseller, and Michaelson spoke at over 100 places of worship during the debates about same-sex marriage.

Michaelson is an affiliated assistant professor at Chicago Theological Seminary. He previously held teaching positions at Boston University and Yale University.


  • The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path] (2015)
  • Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment] (2013)
  • God vs. Gay?: The Religious Case for Equality] (2011)
  • Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism] (2009)
  • Another Word for Sky: Poems] (2007)
  • God in Your Body: Kabbalah, Mindfulness and Embodied Spiritual Practice] (2006)


  1. ^ https://www.google.com/search?ei=Ve68WtqnGcGuzwK6kJiQDg&q=%22Jay+Michaelson%22+born&oq=%22Jay+Michaelson%22+born&gs_l=psy-ab.3...45748.51332.0.51568.
  2. ^ Jay Michaelson.net
  3. ^ "Jay Michaelson - The Daily Beast". The Daily Beast.
  4. ^ "Jay Michaelson". The Forward. 13 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Congratulations to the 2014 Deadline Club Award Winners".
  6. ^ http://elj.stanford.edu/elj/public/archives/author.shtml#m Stanford Environmental Law Journal
  7. ^ Online : http://www.metatronics.net/lit/geo2.html
  8. ^ Elizabeth Svoboda. "The sun blotted out from the sky". Salon.
  9. ^ Graeme Wood (1 July 2009). "Re-Engineering the Earth". The Atlantic.
  10. ^ "Yale Law Journal - Archive".
  11. ^ "Duke Law Journal".
  12. ^ "Where Is the Love for Israel?". The Forward. 21 October 2009.
  13. ^ Daniel Gordis (12 October 2009). "No Right to Exhaustion". The Forward.
  14. ^ Jonathan D. Sarna (30 September 2009). "After Utopia, Loving Israel". The Forward.
  15. ^ "Gays under attack over Ebola". MSNBC.
  16. ^ "Prayer Breakfast Dispute: Christianity and the Crusades". NBC News.
  17. ^ "Redefining Religious Liberty The Covert Campaign Against Civil Rights".
  18. ^ "Why corporations don't deserve religious freedom". Reuters.
  19. ^ "Amid Controversy, 'Right To Refuse' Bill Hits Governor's Desk". NPR.org. 25 February 2014.
  20. ^ "Media and Missouri: What the heck is going on?".
  21. ^ "Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision puts faith in compromise". Reuters.
  22. ^ Jay Michaelson - Religion News Service (6 April 2015). "A 'religious freedom' proposal that I can agree with (COMMENTARY)". Washington Post.
  23. ^ "Quorum: Global LGBT Voices - Alice Nkom".
  24. ^ "How Prosecutors Get Away With Cutting Black Jurors". The Daily Beast.
  25. ^ Jay Michaelson - Religion News Service (24 July 2015). "To some, Planned Parenthood is immoral; to others, it's doing God's work (COMMENTARY)". Washington Post.
  26. ^ Michaelson, Jay (2013). Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment. North Atlantic Books. p. 244. ISBN 9781583947159.
  27. ^ Noah Shachtman (18 June 2013). "In Silicon Valley, Meditation Is No Fad. It Could Make Your Career". WIRED.
  28. ^ Rock, Ben (May 1, 2012). "'God vs. Gay?' author comes to Nashville". Out & About Newspaper. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  29. ^ "Inspiring LGBT Religious Leaders". The Huffington Post. 20 October 2011.
  30. ^ "An Easter Treat Christians on Your Side - Advocate.com".