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Everything Is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism [Kindle Edition]

Jay Michaelson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This exploration of the radical, yet ancient, idea that everything and everyone is God will transform how you understand your life and the nature of religion itself. While God is conventionally viewed as an entity separate from us, there are some Jews—Kabbalists, Hasidim, and their modern-day heirs—who assert that God is not separate from us at all. In this nondual view, everyone and everything manifests God. For centuries a closely guarded secret of Kabbalah, nondual Judaism is a radical reorientation of religious life that is increasingly influencing mainstream Judaism today.

Writer and scholar Jay Michaelson presents a wide-ranging and compelling explanation of nondual Judaism: what it is, its traditional and contemporary sources, its historical roots and philosophical significance, how it compares to nondual Buddhism and Hinduism, and how it is lived in practice. He explains what this mystical nondual view means in our daily ego-centered lives, for our communities, and for the future of Judaism.



Editorial Reviews

Review

“One of the most widely read Jewish writers of his generation…Michaelson's deeply contemplative, thoughtful book will open the doors of the heart and mind to the possibility that what we have come to take for the “self” is just a way to label the way things look from a certain angle.”—Spirituality & Health magazine 

“[Michaelson] writes with clarity, passion, and a poetic sensibility.”—Jewish Week


“Jay Michaelson’s captivating post-secular musings present for the generation of the new Jewish culture a vision of expanded religious possibilities.”—Forward 

“Stripping away the barnacles of outdated concepts, Jay Michaelson aligns the best nondual thinking in Judaism with the best nondual thinking in other profound systems. Everything Is God is a timely and necessary contribution.”—Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, coauthor of Jewish with Feeling

“Jay Michaelson has written a poetic, detailed, and radical book expressing a Jewish language of oneness: not the oneness of a bearded man in the sky but the Oneness of a universe not divided against itself. He gives the reader a gift of self-beyond-the-self, a gift that cannot be owned but is well worth having.”—Rabbi Jill Hammer, author of The Jewish Book of Days

“This is an awesome, highly recommended presentation of crucial mystical concepts.”—Rabbi David A. Cooper, author of God Is a Verb

“Fantastic—a book that offers a compelling theology for thinking Jews! Read this book, and buy a copy for your rabbi as well.”—Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness

“Michaelson patiently explains, again and again, truths that are beyond words. He shares this treasure generously and passionately.”—Rabbi Jacob Staub, Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Spirituality, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

“If my mind were not already God’s unstretchable Mind, I’d say the book is a mind-stretcher. And if the book were not already God, beyond even delight, I’d say the book is a delight.”—Rabbi Arthur Waskow, author of Godwrestling: Round 2

“Compelling . . . jolts us from an ego-centered illusion of separateness. The author’s language of oneness is certain to resonate with a younger generation of spiritual seekers.”—Jewish Book World 

About the Author

Jay Michaelson is a scholar and activist who has written extensively on spirituality, Judaism, sexuality, and law. He is the author of God in Your Body and the founding editor of the award-winning publication Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture. He is a columnist for The Forward, the Huffington Post, and Tikkun. He holds a JD from Yale University and is completing his PhD in Jewish thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Product Details

  • File Size: 736 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Trumpeter (April 30, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007ZE7S2W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #658,669 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Type of Judaism November 29, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Everything is God is a book with a great deal of heart. The reader can easily tell that Jay Michaelson is a very sincere thinker on Jewish matters and in the wider world of spirituality. With this in mind, it is easy to forgive the book some of its shortcomings. For one, the work is not overtly Jewish. Michaelson quotes Hindu and Buddhist sources far more than traditional Jewish ones. The reader gets the impression that Michaelson is more comfortable in that world. Second, the book is organized in a way that does not help the reader access this difficult subject matter. Michaelson should have thought more about the arrangement of his materials. With that said, this is a grounded and beautiful work. Michaelson presents a picture of God, spirituality, and Jewishness which appealing, productive and humane.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nondual Judaism made accessible to all November 14, 2009
Format:Paperback
There is a growing segment of Judaism which is nondual in nature -- it joins other nondual paths such as Buddhism, Vedanta Hindusim, Sufism, and nondual Christianity as a specific iteration of the universal. Nonduality is found at the summit of nearly every mystical tradition in the world.

Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism is groundbreaking in its scope, intellectual honesty, and devotional fervor. The book is divided into two sections: theory, and practice. Throughout are many quotes from Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta, the Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Rabbi Arthur Green, and other nondual luminaries.

Reading Everything is God is a blessing -- discovering the language and methods of nondual Judaism provides insights into delving deeper into other traditions, in particular Vedanta Hindusim. And, it is refreshing and rewarding to begin to understand that Judaism and other nondual paths are enriched, not impoverished, when they come in contact with other traditions.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Coach K
Format:Paperback
For the traditional Jew on the spiritual path, there are few contemporary books that can help him or her find his way toward reconciliation of organized religion, rationality, and spirituality . This is one of them, and is a highly recommended read.

There are many different layers to this book. For one, the book can serve as a guide to other teachings and readings. Michaelson is clearly a scholar of this highest order, and the wealth of knowledge that he brings is vast. Every other page, I found myself looking up online another name, adding more and more books to my Amazon queue, as I try to take in the big picture of the spiritual path.

Second, after Michaelson explains the nature of non-dualism, he shares, with much detail, how non-duality within Judaism has a rich history. He shows how such an understanding follows the mystical traditions of Kabballah and the devotional inclinations of the Hasidic movement, and more. While non-duality may not be your mainstream Young Israel Judaism, it isn't beyond the pale either.

Last, Michaelson describes how a traditional observance of Halacha today is not entirely inconsistent with such a non-dual understanding. While Hasidic Rabbis were somehow able to reconcile a divine Torah and the commandments with non-duality, Michaelson's approach is very different and doesn't invoke a divinely given Torah -- he sees observance of Mitzvot as acts of love toward one's non-dual God. "Stupid" acts, he calls them, but valuable practices nonetheless.

This last section is the most practical one, and the one that left me with the most questions. While I respect Michaelson's approach and methods of reconciliation, I doubt that it could work for many people other than philosophers of Michaelson's ilk.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indeed, this book is a blessing January 4, 2011
Format:Paperback
Thank you Jay for helping this Judeo-Buddhist touch the depth and the summit of my faith of origin. This book, Everything is G-d, is nothing less than a homecoming for Jews like myself who have embraced the non-dualistic traditions of the East to seek personal growth and fulfillment.

Gary Reiner has articulated my profound respect and love for this book. Having grown up in the era of "A Serious Man," Judaism was a convention rather than a spiritual path that could illuminate my life. As so many other Jews of my generation, I found that "path with a heart" within Vipassana Buddhism. My "Rabbis" were Ram Dass, Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, James Baraz and Sharon Salzberg.

Having savored a touch of mysticism through my meditation practice, I remained alienated from the Jewish identity inculcated by my parents and extended family. During an arduous and devastating time in my life, I miraculously overcame some of my aversions and suspicions towards Chabad, an accessible school of Hasidic practice. I discovered a form of Judaism that spoke to the non-dualism of Hashem that was congruent with my "Buddhist values."

Everything is G-d is a great opus of the human spirit. It is philosophical, it is poetry and it is practical. It satisfies the mind, the heart and yes, involves the body. I will read and reread this book to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts and wisdom. I gratefully appreciate Jay Michaelson's fierce authenticity and revelation of his true Self.

Rumi wrote, "If you open your love to the great Love, you will be helping many people that who you will never see or never know." This book solidified my commitment to the lineage of seekers and finders who pass on this love.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, exciting theology
Great, thought-provoking book. I own the Kindle edition as well. Using it to teach a class at my synagogue.
Published 1 month ago by S.J.
4.0 out of 5 stars A true companion
I love this book and keep it close by. While watching TV I pick it up during commercials just to remain reminded that God is Everything. Thank you so much.
Published 9 months ago by Patricia Measel
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Deep, boring and much too oriented towards Judaism
Very thought provoking and I did enjoy some of the insights which BTW I had already formulated independently through a profound willingness to find a spirituality and sense of a... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ronald L. Robertson
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
This is one of the best books I have read and I like everything by Jay Michaelson. He writes clearly and develops deep concepts without making it read like a dissertation. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Linda Shivers
5.0 out of 5 stars An invaluable contribution
Nonduality is a concept usually associated with Eastern contemplative traditions. Here Michaelson illuminates how Kabbalistic descriptions of reality embody the same impressions of... Read more
Published 19 months ago by William Ross
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book: very thought provoking and written in poetic style
This book is dense, deep, and thoughtful. It confronts many of the challenges that intelligent, well educated people have with the belief in G-d. Read more
Published 19 months ago by value seeker
5.0 out of 5 stars Judaism meets New Thought
Jay Michaelson's writing is always clear, insightful, inspiring and informative. I have enjoyed other of his books and his columns for Huff Post, but this book is my favorite for... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Ari
5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting approach
I have not finished reading this book. The approach is radical and requires concentration and repeated readings, at least in my case. Read more
Published 23 months ago by georgehd
4.0 out of 5 stars Love of God inevitably leads to love of people.
This is a superlative work. Jay Michaelson here uses a plethora of Jewish sources; from the Tanakh to the Tanya and much more besides to support the nature of God and the meaning... Read more
Published on January 21, 2013 by JC
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good quality book
This book is in top condition - brand new. It also came very fast despite holiday time. I definitely recommend this company.
Published on January 6, 2012 by Yogini
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More About the Author

Dr. Jay Michaelson is a nationally known writer and activist. He is the author of five books, most recently Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment (North Atlantic); God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality (Beacon), a 2012 Lambda Literary Award finalist and Amazon.com bestseller; and Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism (Shambhala). His writing appears regularly in the Daily Beast, the Forward, Tricycle, and the Huffington Post.

In addition to his writing, Jay is a leading LGBT activist. Recently the vice president of the Arcus Foundation, the leading funder of LGBT causes worldwide, Jay's advocacy work has been featured in the New York Times, NPR and CNN and he has been listed as among the "most inspiring LGBT religious leaders" by the Huffington Post and among "our religious allies" by The Advocate.

Michaelson own contemplative journey includes twelve years in the dharma, including several long-term vipassana retreats in the United States and Nepal. He is affiliated with the Practical Dharma movement and the Contemplative Development Mapping Project, and has participated in the Mind and Life Institute, Wisdom 2.0, Buddhist Geeks, and other emerging dharma communities. He has taught at institutions from Kripalu to Burning Man, and at over two dozen university campuses around the country.

Jay is also an accomplished scholar of religion who holds a PhD in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a JD from Yale Law School, an MFA from Sarah Lawrence, and a BA from Columbia. He has held teaching positions at Yale University, City College, Harvard Divinity School, and Boston University Law School, and has been a scholar-in-residence at over 100 institutions around the country. He is presently an advisor to the Varieties of Meditative Experience project at Brown University.

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