Our October Rebel was born in Honolulu, and has been dancing ever since she was a little girl. By the time Christine reached high school, she had already decided on a career in the performing arts. And she eventually had one: appearing in Broadway productions such as “Miss Saigon” and in Radio City Music Hall as a World Famous Rockette.

But nothing compared to the success Christine would eventually have as an Orthodox Jewish woman performing to sold-out auditoriums of girls and women. Huh, Christine? Well, perhaps we should backtrack....

At age 29, everything changed for Christine when she met a nice Jewish boy, Todd Factor, and together they embarked on a spiritual exploration which led them to Orthodox Judaism. Now known as Rachel, she and her husband have two sons, Ariel and Shalom and call Jerusalem their home. In between loads of laundry, Rachel still manages to find time to sing, dance, and act. (Her incredibly successful one-woman show “J.A.P.” has played to glowing reviews in 41 U.S. cities.)

Now 36, Rachel’s dream is to found a Center for the Theater Arts in Jerusalem where women and girls can take classes in dance, drama, and fitness and perform together as well. Although many of these things already happen informally in Jerusalem, she envisions a more structured “place for women to come together, express themselves, learn and grow.”

People who associate Orthodox Judaism with restrictions will be surprised to hear Rachel say that it was Broadway which stifled her artistic expression: “The emphasis on skin and sexuality overshadowed artistic expression almost always. Most important was ‘what sells’ and the answer to that was unfortunately, always ‘sex.’” It is ironic to some, then, that her one-woman show should be so incredibly successful, since Rachel is being true to herself and breaking with Broadway’s limited definition of female creativity. But evidently, integrity also sells.

In retrospect, what Rachel liked most about Broadway were the friends she made: “I love dance and theater, all the arts and creative expression. I enjoyed the steady work, the pay and the stature of being in a good job. But when it all boils down to the really important things in life—as was clear to me after September 11th—it’s your relationships with friends, family, and of course God that count the most.”

In case you’re wondering, yes, Rachel is still in touch with many of her friends from her former life. Her best friend is a very successful choreographer and many other friends are still working as dancers, actors (and actresses) and choreographers. “Few have gotten married, none have children yet—and we are not so young,” she adds. But all greatly admire her life choices and support her “to the utmost.” After all, Rachel points out, most of them are also searching for meaning in their lives and trying to do acts of kindness.

So, how in the world did a former Broadway singer and dancer end up in one of the most religious neighborhoods in Jerusalem? As Rachel explains to Modesty Zone:

Every morning before I start my day, I say a number of blessings from the Jewish prayer book. In the middle there are four blessings that stand out to me. We thank God for his greatness and for giving sight to the blind, clothing the naked, releasing the bound and straightening the bent. Although this can also be meant literally of course, when I took on the Jewish laws of modesty I felt this progression also. I saw what I wanted in my mind's eye, 2) I covered much (and I mean much!!) of my body that had been naked, 3) This released me from the grip of secular media and 4) allowed me to regain a sense of dignity that I had lost. Making my own choice against "what is done" by society around me gave me a sense of freedom and empowerment and allowed me to go further in my pursuit of truth and spirituality.

If you’re a young woman feeling boxed in by society’s expectations, wondering if you will ever meet a man who will appreciate who you really are, take heart! Rachel has a powerful message just for you: “If you value your soul, you will end up with a soulmate.”

For speaking (and singing) the truth, Mrs. Factor has certainly earned our deepest admiration.

If you would like to know where you can hear Rachel perform, check out her cool website.

Ladies, if you'd like to get in touch with Rachel, send us a message and we will pass it on to her.

If you would like to nominate a Rebel—including yourself—please submit a short personal profile and what you are rebelling against here. There is no age limit, but high school and college students will be given priority over grandmas, since grandmas, after all, are supposed to be good.

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