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Jay Michaelson

Rabbi Dr. Jay Michaelson is the author of six books and three hundred articles on religion, sexuality, law, and contemplative practice. He is a weekly columnist for the Daily Beast and the Forward newspaper, and is a frequent commentator on public affairs on National Public Radio. In 2010 and 2014 he won the New York Society of Professional Journalists’ award for opinion writing.

Dr. Michaelson enjoys a second career as a scholar and teacher of contemplative practice. He holds nondenominational rabbinic ordination and, is an affiliated assistant professor at Chicago Theological Seminary, and teaches meditation in a Theravadan Buddhist lineage. His books on this subject include The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path (2015) and Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism (2009).

A leading figure in emergent Jewish culture, Jay has been named to the 'Forward 50' list of the most influential Jews in the United States. He founded Zeek, the first Jewish online magazine, in 2000, and has written widely on new forms of Jewish identity.

Jay was also a professional LGBT activist for ten years. His book God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality (Beacon), was an Amazon.com bestseller and Lambda Literary Award finalist. He founded two Jewish LGBT nonprofits, served as vice president of the Arcus Foundation, the leading global funder of LGBT issues, and has played a key role in supporting the voices of LGBTQ leaders from the Global South.

Jay holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. in Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University, a B.A. from Columbia, and an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence.