Hazleton was born in England, and became a United States citizen in 1994. She was based in Jerusalem from 1966 to 1979 and in New York City from 1979 to 1992, when she moved to her current home in Seattle WA, originally to get her pilot's license. She has two degrees in psychology (B.A. Manchester University, M.A. Hebrew University of Jerusalem).
She has described herself as "a Jew who once seriously considered becoming a rabbi, a former convent schoolgirl who daydreamed about being a nun, an agnostic with a deep sense of religious mystery though no affinity for organized religion".
In her luminous TEDxRainier talk, Lesley Hazleton, a writer and “accidental theologist,” described herself as “a tourist” in the Koran, and shared her discovery of the musicality, ambiguity, and depth of a text known by name to billions, but read intimately by far fewer.