Jay Michaelson (born May, 1971) is a writer and LGBT activist in the USA who writes on spirituality, Judaism, sexuality, and law. Michaelson is legal affairs and religion columnist at The Daily Beast and a contributing editor to The Forward, newspaper. Michaelson has twice won the New York Society for Professional Journalists award for opinion writing, most recently in 2014.
Legal and Political Writing
Michaelson graduated Yale Law School in 1997. His 1998 Stanford Environmental Law Journal article on geoengineering and climate change was described as "seminal" by Salon Magazine and he is regarded as an early advocate of the policy. Other legal academic work was published in the Yale Law Journal and Duke Law Journal.
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  from Daniel Gordis, and Jonathan Sarna,. His recent work has been featured on MSNBC ("Gays under attack over Ebola") and Meet the Press ("Prayer breakfast dispute"). 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.. Michaelson's work on this issue gained prominence a year later after the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case. Since then he has appeared on NPR and at the Newseum and written many articles on religious liberty in Reuters, The Washington Post 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. And in 2015, Michaelson began a series of articles for The Daily Beast on prosecutorial misconduct. He has also written controversial articles on abortion, including one in the Washington Post claiming that Planned Parenthood is "doing God's work."
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. Michaelson has written several books on meditation and contemporary culture. 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. Michaelson was called one of the "Most Inspiring LGBT Religious Leaders" in 2011 by the Huffington Post and one of "Our Religious" Allies by the LGBT newspaper The Advocate. 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.
God in Your Body: Kabbalah, Mindfulness, and Embodied Spiritual Practice. Michaelson's first book discusses an embodied path to spirituality, culling from mystical and traditional Jewish traditions, as well as Buddhism and meditation.
Another Word for Sky is a book of poetry. One reviewer stated that "Michaelson sustains an intimate tonality that frames even obtuse sketches of people and place, but always with economy and concrete imagery."
God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality. his fourth book argues that the preponderance of Christian and Jewish values support, rather than oppose, full equality for LGBT persons. It was an Amazon.com bestseller and finalist for a 2012 Lambda Literary Award.
Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment, his fifth book, is about the ways in which Buddhist meditation have entered the American mainstream.
The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path, is about the place of sadness in Buddhist and Jewish spirituality.
Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture. Michaelson was the founding editor of Zeek which he founded in 2002. It ceased operations in 2015.
- Jay Michaelson.net
- The Daily Beast, Jay Michaelson
- Forward, Jay Michaelson
- Deadline Club, September 26, 2014
- http://elj.stanford.edu/elj/public/archives/author.shtml#m Stanford Environmental Law Journal
- Online : http://www.metatronics.net/lit/geo2.html
- Salon Magazine, April 2, 2008
- Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2009
- Jay Michaelson, Redefining Regulatory Reform: Toxics, Politics, and Ethics. Yale Law Journal, Vol. 105, Issue 7
- Jay Michaelson, On Listening to the Kulturkampf: How America Overruled Bowers v. Hardwick, Even Though Romer v. Evans Didn't. Duke Law Review, Vol. 49, Issue 6
- Forward, October 21, 2009
- Forward, October 12, 2009
- Forward, October 9, 2009
- MSNBC, November 3, 2014
- Meet The Press, February 4, 2014
- Jay Michaelson, Redefining Religious Liberty, Political Research Associates, 2013
- Reuters, March 24, 2014
- All Things Considered, February 25, 2014
- Gay Rights and Religious Freedom: Is Common Ground Possible?
- Reuters, June 30, 2014
- Washington Post, April 6, 2015
- Quorum: Global LGBT Voices
- The Daily Beast, September 28, 2015
- Washington Post, July 24, 2015
- Leigh Brasington Website
- Wired, June 2013
- Rock, Ben (May 1, 2012). "'God vs. Gay?' author comes to Nashville". Out & About Newspaper. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- Huffington Post, October 20, 2011
- Advocate, April 6, 2012
- God in Your Body: Kabbalah, Mindfulness, and Embodied Spiritual Practice
- Publishers Weekly, September 26, 2007
- Another Word for Sky: Poems
- Edge Magazine, April 19, 2008
- Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism
- God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality
- Lambda Literary Awards, 2012
- Patheos, March 11, 2014
- Jewish Book Council, "The Gate of Tears"
- Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture (website)
- Nehirim (website)
- Time Out New York, October 18, 2007