Early life and career
Born Christine Frances Masave Horii, Factor is a fourth-generation Japanese-American. She attended the Punahou School, where she discovered an affinity for dance. She began performing in the community theater, and at age 18 moved to Los Angeles to pursue a dance career in music videos, film, and television. She worked as a back-up dancer for Jody Watley and Belinda Carlisle and appeared in over 40 television commercials. She then moved to New York, where she performed as a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall, in off-Broadway productions, and in Broadway shows including Shogun: The Musical and Miss Saigon.
Conversion to Judaism
Factor was raised in a Protestant family. At age 29, she fell in love with Todd Factor, a Jewish television commercial producer, who told her that he had to marry someone Jewish. At first she was hesitant about converting, but decided to look into Judaism and was interested in what she learned. She studied for and underwent a Conservative conversion before her marriage and afterwards lived as a secular Jew, continuing to perform in the theater. However, until after the birth of her first child in 2002, and the child's circumcision by an Orthodox mohel, she and her husband began moving toward an Orthodox lifestyle. After Factor and her 8-month-old son underwent Orthodox conversions, she changed her name to Rachel and she and her husband moved to Jerusalem where he could study in a baal teshuva yeshiva.
After her Orthodox conversion, Factor chose not to perform in front of male audiences. She created for female-only audiences her first one-woman show, J.A.P. — a play on the term "Jewish American Princess", recounting her journey to Orthodoxy. J.A.P. had a 50-city, 4-month tour in the U.S. and Canada. Her second show, Not Even Normal, depicted her journey from Broadway performer to kollel wife. Her third show, Becoming Rich, explores the themes of faith and trust in God while living on a kollel salary.
In 2005 she opened the Jerusalem Women's Center for Theatre Arts (HaMachol Shel Bnos Miriam), a dance-and-wellness center in downtown Jerusalem.
In 2010, she opened Midreshes Shmuel, a post-high school women's Torah learning and performing arts program, under the direction of Rabbi Binyomin Moskovits, rosh yeshiva of Midrash Shmuel Yeshiva. Her husband, who now goes by his Hebrew name, Tovia, is a member of the Midrash Shmuel kollel. In summer 2010, she also directed a 5-week Dance and Touring Summer Program introducing Orthodox Jewish teenage girls to the performing arts along with tours of Israel.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Yellin Fuksbrumer, Deena (19 November 2010). "Former Rockette Rachel Factor now performs women-only shows". New Jersey Jewish Standard. http://www.jstandard.com/index.php/content/item/15982/. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Midreshes Shmuel. Rachel-factor.com. Retrieved on 14 November 2010.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Zegerman Schwimmer, Helen (3 March 2010). Crossing the Narrow Bridge with Rachel Factor. The Jewish Press. Retrieved on 14 November 2010.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Featured Artist: Rachel Factor – A singer of her faith beyond race. Asian American Artistry (March 2005). Retrieved on 10 February 2011.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Kroll, Chana (2010). Rachel Factor: The Journey of a Broadway Dancer. chabad.org. Retrieved on 10 February 2011.
- ↑ About J.A.P.. rachel-factor.com. Retrieved on 10 February 2011.
- ↑ Not Even Normal. rachel-factor.com. Retrieved on 10 February 2011.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Zegerman Schwimmer, Helen (20 December 2006). Rachel Factor's 'Not Even Normal'. The Jewish Press. Retrieved on 10 February 2011.
- ↑ Becoming Rich. rachel-factor.com. Retrieved on 10 February 2011.
- ↑ Rachel Factor's Dance & Touring Summer Program, July 21st – August 18, 2010. Bnos Camp. Retrieved on 10 February 2011.
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