Nicole Raphael heard her calling while playing Queen Esther in her nursery school Purim play. She was given the opportunity to combine what would later prove to be her two great loves: Judaism and theatre. She uses theatre and the arts to teach Jewish children of all affiliations to embrace Jewish learning and their heritage.
Nicole is working toward her second Master’s degree at the Davidson School at the Jewish Theological Seminary while continuing to privately tutor students in Jewish Education ages 4-10. Through her unique, exciting and fun style, she teaches one on one and in small groups. She offers tailor made classes by incorporating drama, storytelling, crafts and games in teaching Torah stories, the Jewish holidays and beginning Hebrew while instilling her students with a love for Judaism.
Nicole graduated from Smith College as a theater major, studied theatre in London at the University of London, spent a summer at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and received her first Master’s Degree at the Actor’s Studio. After graduation, Nicole consistently worked as a professional actor in many of our country’s regional theatres, performing Shakespeare, drama and comedy. The inspirational role of Anne, in the Diary of Anne Frank created the spark that merged her love of both theatre and Judaism.
Nicole attended the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education as an Artists Fellow, studied in Jerusalem at She’arim and received the Pesakh Fiszman Memorial Scholarship from the Workmen’s Circle which enabled her to take part in Yiddish culture and language programming at the Circle Lodge Retreat. She also performed with the National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene!
Nicole spearheaded a Hebrew school program for The Aish NY Hebrew School that allowed her to create artistic and creative lesson plans for children four to seven years old. She founded The Mesaper Theatre, a Jewish Theatre company dedicated to presenting Jewish history and culture through creative and theatrical expression. Under its auspices, Nicole held workshops and taught classes suitable for both young students and family audiences in many of NYC’s Jewish schools.
In addition to Jewish learning, Nicole continues to coach children, pre-teens and teens in speech and drama which helps students of all ages in their school presentations, creativity and confidence.