Jay Michaelson

Jay Michaelson portait

Jay Michaelson

Affiliated Assistant Professor of Religious Studies


Professor Jay 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 LGBT activist.  Dr. Michaelson founded two LGBT 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, Dr. Michaelson was recently included on the Forward 50 list of influential American Jews.

Dr. Michaelson has held teaching positions at Harvard Divinity School, Yale University, and Boston University Law School. His research interests include LGBT issues in religion, queer theology, Kabbalah, Western Esotericism, law and religion, and contemporary American spirituality.


  • BA, Columbia University, 1993
  • JD, Yale Law School, 1997
  • MA, Ph.D, Hebrew University, 1998, 2013
  • MFA, Sarah Lawrence College, 2010

Sample Courses:

  • Religious Liberty, Civil Rights, and Public Policy
  • Evolving Dharma: Contemporary Meditation and Buddhist Modernism


  • Jacob Frank: The Great Jewish Heretic, currently under review
  • The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path (2015)
  • Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment (2013)
  • Rethinking Religious Liberty: The Hidden Assault on Civil Rights (2013)
  • God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality (2011)
  • Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism (2009)
  • God in Your Body: Kabbalah, Mindfulness, and Embodied Spiritual Practice (2007)