2017 Castañeda Lecture

The Annual Gilberto Castañeda Lecture in partnership with Lambda Legal was held on Thursday, May 4, 2017 at Chicago Theological Seminary and welcomed Rabbi Dr. Jay Michaelson as speaker. His lecture topic was “Queering Jewish Theology.” Professor Michaelson is a non-denominational rabbi and a teacher of meditation in a Theravadan Buddhist lineage, and, in his other career, the legal affairs columnist for The Daily Beast, a frequent commentator on NPR, and a longtime LGBTQ activist. Michaelson founded two LGBTQ Jewish nonprofits and two international LGBT initiatives, and was the author of the 2011 bestseller and Lambda Literary Award finalist, God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality. A widely-read commentator on contemporary Judaism, Michaelson was recently included on the Forward 50 list of influential American Jews. Rabbi Dr. Michaelson has held teaching positions at Chicago Theological Seminary, Harvard Divinity School, Yale University, and Boston University Law School. His research interests include LGBTQ issues in religion, queer theology, Kabbalah, Western Esotericism, law and religion, and contemporary American spirituality.

The Gilberto Castañeda Award was established in 1994 in loving memory of Gilberto Castañeda, the son of Dr. Theodore Jennings and Rev. Dr. Ronna Case. Gilberto first met Case in California, where she was worked to develop mission congregations among undocumented workers from Mexico. Gilberto “found the love of God so compelling that he not only became a member but also a leader in the new congregations of young people” that were being established by Rev. Case. In 1994, at the age of 29, he died of complications from AIDS.


Major support for the Castañeda Lecture is provided by Rev. Dr. Ronna Case (DMin 1977) and Dr. Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. This event is being presented in partnership with Lambda Legal, a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.