The Avodah Blog

Beyond Black History Month, Working Toward Collective Liberation All Year

Throughout Black History Month, we honor and celebrate the numerous contributions millions of Americans have made to our country. We also know that the recognition of Black excellence and discussions about race and racism must not be relegated to just one month. To achieve true racial justice, we must work toward collective liberation all year.
We’re proud to raise the voices and teachings of today’s racial and social justice activists, including our Jewish leaders of color, who are championing these issues.
In Avodah’s groundbreaking speaker series, Speak Torah to Power, Dr. Koach Frazier and Yavilah McCoy offer Jewish wisdom on today’s pressing racial and social justice issues. Speaking from their personal experiences as Jews of Color, with identities interwoven in both Jewish and Black communities, they powerfully call upon us to work to dismantle systems of oppression. More than 15,000 people have already tuned into the series and numerous Jewish institutions are using our videos and accompanying Discussion Guides to foster conversations around Jewish identity, racial justice, coalition building, and finding nourishment and inspiration in Jewish tradition.

In “Cultivating Resilience Through the Power of Lament,” Koach speaks of his experience facing hate and oppression as a Black and trans Jew, gathering strength through the Talmudic practices of grief and healing. Koach explains how he has brought these lessons into his work and his life as a racial justice activist, drumming alongside mourners during the Ferguson uprising and standing in solidarity with the LGBTQAI+ community following the tragedy at Pulse nightclub. We invite you to experience his talk, which speaks to the deep listening and courageous action it takes to dismantle white supremacy.

In “Intersectionality as a Jewish Practice,” activist and teacher Yavilah McCoy invites us to consider how experiences of inclusion and exclusion can shape our identities and worldview – and how building Jewish communities that honor these experiences and identities can help dismantle systems of oppression.

In her talk, Yavilah states, “In order to heal and transform not just our Jewish community, but our relationships toward equity and justice across the world, we need intersectional relationships, relationships where we can acknowledge both our own and others’ historically held pain. We need relationships where we restore dignity by offering truth, reconciliation and the prospect of healing.”

Watch and listen to more of Yavilah’s talk here.

As we pivot from Black History Month to Women’s History Month, we’re proud to raise the voices and teachings of today’s racial and social justice activists. We invite you to join us for our series finale of Speak Torah to Power, featuring Rabbi and activist Sharon Kleinbaum on Wednesday, March 13th in NYC and onFacebook LIVE from anywhere. Learn, engage and join us in the work toward collective liberation.

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