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.

Polytheism and Nonduality

By February 1, 2008

It is a noteworthy paradox of religion that those traditions which most embrace nonduality also embrace polytheism. Hinduism is the greatest example, accommodating within itself both the rigorous philosophical nondualism of Advaita Vedanta and an effulgent pantheon of deities, incarnations, … Read More

New Psychedelics Are Transforming the Future of Spirituality

By January 7, 2008

In 1954, Aldous Huxley published "The Doors of Perception," a famous essay observing that the effects of mescaline were remarkably similar to the unitive mysticism of the world’s great religions, particularly Vedanta, the philosophical-mystical form of Hinduism which Huxley practiced. … Read More

It’s the Deep Structure, Stupid

By December 1, 2007

We are creatures of narrative. Our sacred myths, our everyday lives, and our political minds all are built upon stories; narrative is how we organize ourselves as human beings, and it has been this way, it would seem, ever since … Read More

Free Will: The Last Gasp of the Unenlightened Mind

By July 1, 2007

"Everything is foreseen; yet free will is given" – Pirkei Avot 3:15 Much of Western ethics, religious and secular, seems to rely on the concept of "free will," the principle that each of us is free to choose – in … Read More

Why I Study Sabbateanism

By June 1, 2007

The story I tell people is this: I went to Israel in 2005 to become a rabbi and study Hasidism. I left in 2006, a rabbinical dropout studying Jacob Frank, the greatest heretic who ever lived. The implied joke is … Read More

The House of the Messiah … in Ruins

By June 1, 2007

There is a house, or the ruins of one, at 920 Agora Girisi, in the old part of Izmir (formerly Smyrna), Turkey, which believers say was the home of Sabbatai Sevi. Today it looks like a derelict vacant lot, awaiting … Read More

Blogging the Cleanse #6: I’m ready for my swiss chard, Mr. Demille

By April 27, 2007

And all good things must come to an end — sometimes, as with Godfather III or Clerks 2, after they've overstayed their welcome a bit.  The parallels with meditation retreat continue; on the last day of a retreat, it's really … Read More

Purifying My Colon—And My Soul

By April 27, 2007

Depending on whom you ask, the Master Cleanse is either a highway to rejuvenation and mental clarity or a cayenne-pepper-saturated crash diet. For a minimum of ten days, cleansers consume nothing but a spicy lemon drink followed by a special … Read More