Yavilah McCoy

b. November 8, 1972

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Yavilah McCoy until we are able to commission a full entry.

Yavilah McCoy in The Colors of Water, a theatrical performance about her African-American family's journey in Jewish living.

Yavilah McCoy founded Ayecha, a nonprofit Jewish organization that provided Jewish diversity education and advocacy for Jews of color in the United States, in 2000 and directed it until it closed in 2008. Raised in an Orthodox family, McCoy studied at Yeshiva University High School in New York and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She trained with the Anti-Defamation League’s A World of Difference Institute as an anti-bias educator and has taught Judaic Studies, Hebrew, and English Literature in elementary and secondary schools. In directing Ayecha, McCoy worked with rabbis, synagogues, schools, federations, and multiple agencies to increase awareness of Jewish diversity and expand inclusion for Jews of color. As an anti-racism activist, she has provided training and consulting to numerous social justice agencies both within and outside the Jewish community. In 2008 she became director of the New England Curriculum Initiative, a non-profit educational consultancy that services 600 prep schools across the nation with religious diversity resources. In 2009 McCoy co-wrote and performed The Colors of Water, a Jewish gospel musical describing the matriarchal journey of four generations of her African-American Jewish family. In 2014 she established Dimensions Educational Consulting, through which she continues to support organizations in expanding their relationships across race, religion, identity, and culture. That same year, McCoy directed the launch of the Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project, an initiative that sought to make synagogues more accessible spaces for those with physical disabilities. In 2016 she was mentioned as one of “16 Faith Leaders to Watch” by the Center for American Press. McCoy currently serves on the advisory board at IKAR, an organization seeking to strengthen Jewish spirituality and community within the United States.   

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Yavilah McCoy." (Viewed on May 22, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/mccoy-yavilah>.