Rachel was born on a Kibbutz in Israel. Both her parents survived the Holocaust. They emigrated to Israel after World War II, joined the Israeli Socialist movement, and with a small group of enthusiastic pioneers, founded Kibbutz Yehiam, a small socialist community located within the breathtaking landscape of northern Israel. Like all kibbutz born children, she was raised in the “collective education” system, where relationships between parents and children were regulated by the community. The children grew up in children’s houses but interacted with their parents on a daily basis. Nevertheless, Rachel’s parents’ traumatic past was always central to her upbringing since her mother, Nehama Shuster Rahav, a teacher and writer, dedicated her life to storytelling and Holocaust testimony.
Like most native Jewish Israelis, Rachel completed 2 years of service in the Israeli Defense Force, left the Kibbutz, settled in the city of Tel Aviv, and joined the vibrant and colorful artistic scene in Tel Aviv. She participated in the “Third Floor”, a fringe theater group, led by Oded Beeri who introduced her to the experimental nature of European theater at the time (late 1970’s).
Following her graduation as theater director at Tel Aviv University, Rachel embarked on a variety of theatrical projects. She founded a youth theater in the town of Ramat Gan, taught drama and improvisation in a variety of high schools and colleges, and became a director in residence at Hasimta Theater in Jaffa. All in all, Rachel was involved in about two dozen theatrical productions. Her work was always noted by audiences and critics alike as: original, experimental, avant-garde.
In the early nineties, Rachel and her family to relocated to the USA and settled in Brookline, MA. While adjusting to her American life, struggling with language barriers, and helping her children adjust, she continued to pursue her artistic vocation. She taught Hebrew drama and improvisation at the Hebrew college and founded “Women’s Play,” a stage-acting workshop at the JCC in Newton. In collaboration with Oded Susskind, Jane Lukoff and Nancy E. Gertz. she founded The Portal Theater Company whose mission was to introduce American audiences to European experimentalism in performing arts. The Portal Theater gained attention and good reviews in Boston media.
Overworking, along with raising three boys, led to a health crisis that forced Rachel to shut down the theater and make life changes. She started experimenting with pottery and clay sculpting, and enrolled in a variety of classes and workshops in order to acquire hands-on visual arts skills. Gradually she transformed herself from theater director to a mixed-media sculptor. Her work is inspired and guided by her life-long experiences in the performing arts. Space and material choices are meant to tell a story, to create a dialog with the viewer, to evoke emotion, and to allow conversation about the perils of the human condition.