About Jay Michaelson

Jay Michaelson is a writer & journalist, rabbi & meditation teacher, keynote speaker, and scholar of religion.

Jay is the author of ten books, most recently The Secret That Is Not A Secret: Ten Heretical Tales. His 2022 book, The Heresy of Jacob Frank: From Jewish Messianism to Esoteric Myth, won the National Jewish Book Award for scholarship. He holds a JD from Yale, a PhD in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University, and nondenominational rabbinic ordination.

Jay has written over  1500 articles for publications including Rolling Stone, the Forward, The Daily Beast, and his weekly newsletter, Both/And with Jay Michaelson. He is a frequent commentator on CNN, and often writes about the intersections of religion and politics in the areas of climate change, LGBTQ equality, the Supreme Court, Christian Nationalism, and American Judaism.  Jay broke the story of extremist Leonard Leo, wrote the first long-form analysis of the weaponization of religious liberty, and has twice won the New York Society of Professional Journalists award for opinion writing.

Dr. Michaelson has spoken at numerous Fortune 500 companies, academic conferences, religious institutions, and universities. He has led meditation for Delta Airlines and Apple, performed a Bar Mitzvah at Burning Man, and spoken at over 100 churches about his bestselling book God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality. Jay is a also longtime teacher of meditation and spirituality. He is authorized to teach in a Theravadan Buddhist lineage, and worked as a podcast host at Ten Percent Happier for five years. Jay’s books on contemplative practice include The Gate of Tears , Evolving Dharma, Everything is God and God in Your Body

Finally, Jay is a field scholar at the Emory Center for Psychedelics and Spirituality where his work focuses on the varieties of psychedelic mystical experiences and how communities can better utilize these newly-accessible tools for spiritual growth. He previously held teaching positions at Chicago Theological Seminary, Boston University Law School and City College of New York. Dr. Michaelson’s academic CV is here.

Prior to all this, Jay worked as an LGBTQ activist for ten years, started three nonprofits, founded the first Jewish magazine, and clerked for Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  You may have noticed this is a rather long bio; if you’re looking for a short one for a media appearance or event, please contact us.