About Jay Michaelson

Jay Michaelson is a columnist for the ForwardZeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture (which he co-founded in 2002), and Reality Sandwich magazines, and the executive director of Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture & Spirituality.  He recently returned (in February 2009) from five months of silent meditation retreat in Massachusetts and Nepal.  Jay is the author of God in Your Body: Kabbalah, Mindfulness, and Embodied Spiritual Practice (2007), Another Word for Sky: Poems (2008), and Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism (2009). A recent visiting professor at Boston University Law School, Jay has taught at Yale University, City College, Elat Chayyim, the Wexner Summer Institute, and many other institutions. Jay holds an M.A. in Religious Studies from Hebrew University, where he currently is pursuing his Ph.D., as well as a J.D. from Yale and B.A. from Columbia.

The Lame Duck in Israel

By May 29, 2008

Jerusalem has never seemed so American. By chance, my first trip since living here two years ago coincides with President Bush's second trip in the last six months. And so the capital city is in lockdown: buses rerouted, streets closed, … Read More

The Gods of Drowning

By May 21, 2008

In the forms of meditation practiced by many Westerners, one central practice is simply "being with" everything that arises in the body, mind, heart, etc., neither holding onto anything nor pushing anything away. This is quite different from most Jewish … Read More

Israel, Injustice, and Philip Glass’s Call to Arms

By May 1, 2008

It's become a cliché to search for Jewish influences or themes in works by Jewish artist. Generally the effort is one of overzealous interpretation, if not projection. Consider the following, then, not a reading of Philip Glass's Jewish opera Satyagraha, … Read More

Jewish Intelligent Design Proponents Are Jewish Uncle Toms

By April 20, 2008

[Ed note: Our point/counterpoint with David Klinghoffer and Sahotra Sarkar on Ben Stein's Expelled provoked a heated reaction from readers and some regular writers. Jay Michaelson's follows below, the first of several more likely to be posted soon.] "All of … Read More

Kabbalah is Over, But It Wasn’t Daphne Merkin Who Killed It

By April 15, 2008

Kabbalah is over. It was over before Daphne Merkin's two-year-researched, impeccably well written report on the Kabbalah Center last week in the Times. It was over before the JCC in Manhattan started offering a "Day of Kabbalah" and independent teachers … Read More

Mixing Heresy and High Fashion, Levi Okunov Dresses Women Up as Torahs

By March 31, 2008

Last night's hottie-filled fashion show debuting Hasidic Levi Okunov's spring collection was, despite the shvitzing of a hundred Heebs packed into an auditorium, very cool. Kudos to Andy Ingall and the JuMu staff for turning what is often a highly … Read More

Sexual Hypocrisy Is Not A Jewish Value

By March 19, 2008

When Rav would visit the city of Dardishir, he would announce, "Who will be mine for a day?" And when Rav Nachman would visit the city of Shachnetziv, he would announce, "Who will be mine for a day?" (Yevamot 37b) … Read More

Is “Cassandra’s Dream” About Soon-Yi?

By February 14, 2008

For fans of Woody Allen, the elephant has been in the room for fifteen years now. We remember it's there, right? That Allen took up with his quasi-stepdaughter, Soon-Yi Previn when he was 56, she 22? That he had nude … Read More