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Books by Jay Michaelson

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The Secret that is not a Secret: Ten Heretical Tales

A collection of interconnected short stories, Jay Michaelson’s first book of fiction invites you into a hidden world of faith, desire, transgression, and revelation.

The Heresy of Jacob Frank: From Jewish Messianism to Esoteric Myth

The first monograph on the religious teachings of Jacob Frank (1726-1791), a much-reviled antinomian heretic, published by Oxford University Press.

Enlightenment by Trial and Error: Ten Years on the Slippery Slopes of Jewish Spirituality, Postmodern Buddhism, and Other Mystical Heresies 

A unique record of the spiritual search, from the perspective of someone who made plenty of mistakes along the way.

is: Heretical Jewish Blessings and Poems

is is book of heretical prayers, Dharma aphorisms, neo-Hasidic koans, and unorthodox blessings for unexpected occasions.

The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path

The Gate of Tears explores the insight that sadness and joy are not opposites.

Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment

A guide to the evolution of meditation from its Buddhist religious origins to its more secular incarnations in the West—and where it might be headed from here.

God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality

God vs. Gay argues that Christian and Jewish religious values support the full celebration of queer lives, and dismantles the handful of “clobber texts” that some read to deny them.

Everything Is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism

This book aligns Kabbalistic, Hasidic, and contemporary Jewish conceptions of a God that fills the entire universe with nondualistic teachings and practices from Advaita, Buddhism, and other sources.


God in Your Body: Kabbalah, Mindfulness and Embodied Spiritual Practice

With meditation practices, physical exercises, and explorations of sacred text, God in Your Body is a guide to experiencing the Divine in, and through, your body.

Another Word for Sky: Poems

Jay’s first collection of poetry, Another Word for Sky, runs the gamut from Ashbery-like analytics to raucous queer mystical love poems, Ginsbergesque rants and fantasies to quiet reflections on the passage of time.

A Book of Songs and Blessings (Az Yashir Moshe)

A Book of Songs and Blessings (Az Yashir Moshe) is an exquisite and complete book of traditional Jewish songs and blessings, perfect for the sabbath or holiday table. Unlike other “benchers,” Az Yashir Moshe contains full translation and linear transliteration of every word of every song and blessing.

Anthologies with Jay Michaelson’s work

The Queer Bible Commentary (Second Edition)

The Queer Bible Commentary brings together the work of scholars and pastors known for their interest in the areas of gender, sexuality and Biblical studies. Rabbi Michaelson contributed the chapter on the Book of Exodus.

Queering the Text: Biblical, Medieval, and Modern Jewish Stories

Inspired by the pioneering work of Jewish feminists, Andrew Ramer draws from traditional midrashim and homoerotic love poems from medieval Spain to craft stories that anchor queer lives in the three-thousand-year-old history of the Jewish people. Includes a forward by Rabbi Michaelson.

Imagining the Jewish God

This book attempts to give voice to these diverse imaginings of the Jewish God, and includes Dr. Michaelson’s essay “The Repersonalization of God: Monism and Theological Polymorphism in Zoharic and Hasidic Imagination.”

Beside Still Waters: A Journey of Comfort and Renewal

Beside Still Waters is a book for mourners, for those who will someday become mourners, and for those anticipating their own journey out of this life.  It offers Jewish liturgy both classical and contemporary for different stages along the mourner’s path.

Jews and the Law

This anthology engages with the growing complexity of what it means to be at once Jewish and to participate in secular legal systems as lawyers, judges, legal thinkers, civil rights advocates, and teachers. Jay Michaelson’s contribution is called, “Hating the Law for Christian Reasons: The Religious Roots of American Antinomianism.” Published June 2014 by Quid Pro.

The Sacred Encounter

This wide-ranging anthology takes a close look at the breadth of human sexuality from a Jewish perspective. Features Jay Michaelson’s essay on “Queering Tshuvah.”

Exploring the Edge Realms of Consciousness: Liminal Zones, Psychic Science, and the Hidden Dimensions of the Mind

A diverse group of authors journey into the fringes of human consciousness, tackling psychic and paranormal phenomena, lucid dreaming, synchronistic encounters, and more. Collected from the online magazine Reality Sandwich, and featuring Jay’s essay on Buddhist absorption states, “The Jhanas.” Published June 2012.

Queer Religion: Homosexuality in Modern Religious History

Queer Religion provides a systematic and detailed overview of the challenges and issues that the intersections of religion, same-sex desire, and gender variance have generated, both now and in the past. Published December 2011, it features Jay’s scholarly essay “Queering Kabbalistic Gender Dimorphism.”

Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality

The first anthology of its kind, with poets representing several countries, Collective Brightness gathers over 100 established and emerging contemporary LGBTIQ poets writing from and about various faiths, religions and spiritual traditions. Published October 2011, including poetry by Jay.

Best Gay Stories 2010

Includes Jay’s memoir-essay, “Loneliness and the Sanctuary of Spirit.” Published November 2010.

Making Prayer Real: Leading Jewish Spiritual Voices on Why Prayer Is Difficult and What to Do about It

Making Prayer Real is about why so many American Jews us find prayer at best difficult, and at worst, meaningless and boring—and how to make it more satisfying. Includes an essay and interview with Jay Michaelson. Published in February, 2010.

Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible

Torah Queeries brings together some of the world’s leading rabbis, scholars, and writers to interpret the Torah through a ‘bent lens.’ Featuring three commentaries by Jay Michaelson. Published in 2009.

Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture

This Fall/Winter 2007 issue of Zeek includes Jay’s essay “The Redemptive Music of Sadness.”