In what ways do you see your work aligned with one (or more) of the four propositions?
Wisdom/Chochma Proposition 1: In an age of globalization, Jewish institutions need to offer multiple avenues to explore chochma, the wisdom of our sacred texts put into the context of the world’s religions and in the language of contemporary culture.
Social Justice/Tzedek Proposition 2: At a time when our political culture seems so dys-functional and the social and environmental threats to the planet grow exponentially every year, the Jewish community needs to provide ever more ways to advance tzedek in the world.
Community/Kehillah Proposition 3: At a time when technology has made meaningful social intercourse much harder to come by, the Jewish community must offer places where people can find support in times of need, communal celebration in times of joy, and friendships to make life fulfilling.
Lives of Sacred Purpose/Kedusha Proposition 4: In an age when we better understand the short-comings of capitalism and the culture of consumerism, the Jewish community must offer a glimpse of kedusha, experiences that provide holiness, transcendent meaning, and a sense of purpose.
I see my work as being aligned with chochma in the ways that I utilize traditional Torah texts to teach anti-oppression theory, which incorporates the words, concepts, and aspirations of most contemporary social justice movements. I see my work as being connected to community/kehillah in that I teach tools for building intercultural relationships across difference- differences that are being navigated by many Jews in pursuit of deeper community both within and outside of communal borders. I see my work to be contextualized within living a life of sacred purpose/kedusha in that I ground the deep spiritual work that is done in building relationships across difference as the pursuit of the creation of “beloved community” where a shared understanding of our spiritual connections has the power to trump prejudice and biases that often separate people on the basis of physical and material differences.
Yavilah McCoy is the founder of Ayecha, one of the first nonprofit Jewish organizations to provide Jewish diversity education and advocacy for Jews of color in the United States. Yavilah is currently the CEO of Visions Incorporated where she directs a team of 37 consultants in providing community education, youth empowerment, and anti-racism consulting to national and international communities.