Jay Michaelson

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Jay Michaelson (born May 5, 1971[1]) is an American writer. He is a columnist for New York Magazine,[2] having been the legal affairs columnist at The Daily Beast[3] for eight years, and an editor and podcast host at 10% Happier,[4] a meditation app and podcast network.

Legal and political writing[edit]

Since 2013, Michaelson's journalistic work has focused on law, religion, climate change, and LGBT issues.[5] Michaelson twice won the New York Society for Professional Journalists award for opinion writing, most recently in 2014.[6] In addition to covering the Supreme Court,[7][8] he has written widely on subjects including climate change,[9] antisemitism,[10][11] voter suppression,[12][13] and judicial nominations.[14][15] His recent work has been featured on CNN,[16] MSNBC,[17][18] and Meet the Press.[19] His 1998 Stanford Environmental Law Journal article[20][21] on geoengineering and climate change, described as "seminal" by Salon Magazine[22] was the first legal analysis of geoengineering in legal academic literature.[23]

In 2013, Michaelson wrote the first long-form report on the right-wing religious exemptions movement, Redefining Religious Liberty: The Covert Campaign Against Civil Rights.[24] Michaelson's work on this issue gained prominence a year later after the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case[25] and he has written many articles on religious liberty in Reuters,[26] The Washington Post[27] and other publications.

From 2004 to 2017, Michaelson was a columnist and contributing editor to The Forward[28] newspaper. In 2009, his essay entitled "How I'm Losing My Love for Israel" generated substantial controversy in the Jewish world, including responses[29] from Daniel Gordis,[30] and Jonathan Sarna,[31] and prefigured the estrangement of progressive American Jews from the government of Israel. Michaelson was listed in the Forward 50 list of the most influential American Jews in 2009.

Meditation teaching[edit]

Michaelson is a rabbi and teaches meditation in Buddhist, Jewish, and secular contexts. He is a teacher of jhana meditation in the Theravadan Buddhist lineage of Ayya Khema and Michaelson's teacher Leigh Brasington;[32] co-leads Jewish meditation retreats at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center; and since 2018 has taught, edited, and written for the Ten Percent Happier meditation platform, where he now hosts the "Teacher Talks" podcast. Michaelson has written several books on meditation and spirituality[33] and was ordained as a rabbi in 2013. He is an occasional contributor to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.[34]

LGBTQ Activism[edit]

Michaelson is Jewish and openly gay and was a professional religious LGBTQ activist from 2004 to 2013.[35] He was the founder and executive director of Nehirim, an LGBTQ Jewish organization, from 2004 to 2013. His 2009 book God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality was an Amazon bestseller and Lambda Literary Award finalist,[36] and Michaelson spoke at over 100 places of worship during the 2009–15 debates about same-sex marriage. Michaelson was called one of the "Most Inspiring LGBT Religious Leaders" in 2011 by the Huffington Post[37] and one of "Our Religious Allies" by the LGBT newspaper The Advocate.[38]

In 2014, Michaelson co-directed a project at The Daily Beast entitled Quorum: Global LGBT Voices, which features TED-style talks by LGBT leaders from the Global South.[39]

Academic work[edit]

Michaelson holds a PhD in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University, where he wrote his dissertation on the antinomian heretic Jacob Frank. His book on Frank, The Heresy of Jacob Frank: From Jewish Antinomianism to Esoteric Myth, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2022. He is an affiliated assistant professor at Chicago Theological Seminary and a visiting fellow at the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion. He previously held teaching positions at Boston University and Yale University.

Michaelson graduated from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1993, and from Yale Law School in 1997. His work on Jewish philosophy and mysticism includes "Queering Martin Buber: Harry Hay's Erotic Dialogical" (Shofar, 2018),[40] "Conceptualizing Jewish Antinomianism in the 'Words of the Lord' by Jacob Frank" (Modern Judaism, 2017);[41] "The Repersonalization of God: Monism and Theological Polymorphism in Zoharic and Hasidic Imagination" (Imagining the Jewish God, 2016)[42] and "Queer Theology and Social Transformation Twenty Years after Jesus ACTED UP" (Theology and Sexuality, 2015).[43] His legal academic work has been published in the Yale Law Journal[44] and Duke Law Journal.[45]


  • God in Your Body: Kabbalah, Mindfulness and Embodied Spiritual Practice[46] (2006)
  • Another Word for Sky: Poems[47] (2007)
  • Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism[48] (2009)
  • God vs. Gay?: The Religious Case for Equality[49] (2011)
  • Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment[50] (2013)
  • The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path[51] (2015)
  • Enlightenment by Trial and Error[52] (2019)


  1. ^ ""Jay Michaelson" born – Google Search". www.google.com.
  2. ^ Michaelson, Jay. "Jay Michaelson Author Archive". NYMag. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  3. ^ "Jay Michaelson – The Daily Beast". The Daily Beast.
  4. ^ "10% Happier".
  5. ^ Jay Michaelson.net
  6. ^ "Congratulations to the 2014 Deadline Club Award Winners".
  7. ^ Michaelson, Jay (February 27, 2019). "Supreme Court Could Bury Separation of Church and State Under a Maryland Cross". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  8. ^ Michaelson, Jay (October 5, 2018). "Kavanaugh Doesn't Belong on the Supreme Court, But It Will Survive Him". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  9. ^ Michaelson, Jay (September 16, 2019). "Why Your Carbon Footprint Is Meaningless". The Daily Beast. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  10. ^ The Daily Beast's Jay Michaelson Talks About Trump's Role In The Recent Rise Of Anti-Semitic Tweets, retrieved March 7, 2019
  11. ^ Michaelson, Jay (October 28, 2018). "Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Is a Moment of Reckoning for American Jews". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  12. ^ Michaelson, Jay (October 12, 2018). "Republicans Have a Secret Weapon in the Midterms: Massive Voter Suppression". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  13. ^ Michaelson, Jay (June 11, 2018). "The Supreme Court Just Let Ohio Commit a Massive Purge of Its Voters". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  14. ^ Michaelson, Jay (November 19, 2018). "He Kept Black People From Voting. GOP Wants Him as a Judge". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  15. ^ Michaelson, Jay (October 4, 2018). "The Right Thinks Toxic Masculinity Is Just 'Being a Man'". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  16. ^ "Does Donald Trump Bear Responsibility for Pittsburgh? | jaymichaelson.net". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  17. ^ Jay Michaelson (April 5, 2018), Is EPA Chief Scott Pruitt "Too Corrupt to Fire"? Katy Tur & Jay Michaelson, 4/4/2018, retrieved March 7, 2019
  18. ^ "Gays under attack over Ebola". MSNBC.
  19. ^ "Prayer Breakfast Dispute: Christianity and the Crusades". NBC News.
  20. ^ http://elj.stanford.edu/elj/public/archives/author.shtml#m Stanford Environmental Law Journal
  21. ^ Online : http://www.metatronics.net/lit/geo2.html Archived May 19, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Elizabeth Svoboda. "The sun blotted out from the sky". Salon.
  23. ^ Graeme Wood (July 1, 2009). "Re-Engineering the Earth". The Atlantic.
  24. ^ "Redefining Religious Liberty The Covert Campaign Against Civil Rights".
  25. ^ "Why corporations don't deserve religious freedom". Reuters. March 24, 2014. Archived from the original on March 27, 2014.
  26. ^ "Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision puts faith in compromise". Reuters. June 30, 2014. Archived from the original on July 7, 2014.
  27. ^ Jay Michaelson – Religion News Service (April 6, 2015). "A 'religious freedom' proposal that I can agree with (COMMENTARY)". Washington Post.
  28. ^ "Jay Michaelson". The Forward. March 13, 2016.
  29. ^ "Where Is the Love for Israel?". The Forward. October 21, 2009.
  30. ^ Daniel Gordis (October 12, 2009). "No Right to Exhaustion". The Forward.
  31. ^ Jonathan D. Sarna (September 30, 2009). "After Utopia, Loving Israel". The Forward.
  32. ^ Michaelson, Jay (2013). Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment. North Atlantic Books. p. 244. ISBN 9781583947159.
  33. ^ Noah Shachtman (June 18, 2013). "In Silicon Valley, Meditation Is No Fad. It Could Make Your Career". WIRED.
  34. ^ "Dr. Jay Michaelson, Author at Tricycle: The Buddhist Review". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  35. ^ Rock, Ben (May 1, 2012). "'God vs. Gay?' author comes to Nashville". Out & About Newspaper. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  36. ^ Reese, Jenn (April 16, 2012). "24th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists And Winners". Lambda Literary. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  37. ^ Raushenbush, Rev Paul Brandeis (October 20, 2011). "Inspiring LGBT Religious Leaders". The Huffington Post.
  38. ^ "An Easter Treat Christians on Your Side - Advocate.com". April 6, 2012.
  39. ^ "Quorum: Global LGBT Voices – Alice Nkom".
  40. ^ Jay Michaelson (2018). "Jay Michaelson, "Queering Martin Buber: Harry Hay's Erotic Dialogical"". Shofar. 36 (3): 31–59. doi:10.5703/shofar.36.3.0031. JSTOR 10.5703/shofar.36.3.0031.
  41. ^ Michaelson, Jay (2017). "Conceptualizing Jewish Antinomianism in the "Words of the Lord" by Jacob Frank". Modern Judaism – A Journal of Jewish Ideas and Experience. 37 (3): 338–362. doi:10.1093/mj/kjx031.
  42. ^ Michaelson, Jay. "The Repersonalization of God: Monism and Theological Polymorphism in Zoharic and Hasidic Imagination". Academia.edu.
  43. ^ Michaelson, Jay (2015). "Queer Theology and Social Transformation Twenty Years after Jesus ACTED UP". Theology & Sexuality. 21 (3): 189–197. doi:10.1080/13558358.2015.1222675. S2CID 151477639.
  44. ^ "Yale Law Journal – Archive". Archived from the original on October 4, 2015. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  45. ^ "Duke Law Journal".
  46. ^ "God in Your Body". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  47. ^ "Another Word for Sky". www.jewishbookcouncil.org. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  48. ^ "Everything Is God". www.shambhala.com. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  49. ^ "God vs. Gay?". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  50. ^ "Evolving Dharma". North Atlantic Books. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  51. ^ "The Gate of Tears by Jay Michaelson". Ben Yehuda Press. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  52. ^ "Enlightenment by Trial and Error". Ben Yehuda Press. Retrieved November 28, 2019.