Raphael was born in Khartoum, Sudan, to parents of Sephardic origin, who were also Zionists. When Raphael was at an early age, the family decided to immigrate to Palestine/Israel.
Raphael, completed his elementary and high school education, he attended simultaneously a Talmud Torah, which was under the auspices of Rishon Lezion, Rabbi Hayim Uziel. There he studied liturgical music under the auspices of the well-known Hazan, and composer, and Choir Master Nissan Cohen Melamed. Mr. Melamed was a foremost composer of many modern Sephardic melodies that combined both Western and Eastern style music. Some of his compositions are currently being sang by the Kol Sephardic Choir. Raphael, joined the choir led by Nissan Cohen Melamed, and performed in a number of Synagogues, in Tel Aviv where Mr. Melamed was the Hazan (Cantor).
After completing his high school education, Raphael, volunteered to serve in the Jewish Settlement Police for a year, after which he left for the US to study Aeronautical Engineering. He worked as an aeronautical engineer for various well know companies, and on the most advance aircrafts built by the US. After the six-day war, he was approached by Israel Aircraft Company to come and help build the first Israeli fighter plane the Kfir. Raphael quit his job with Lockheed, and went to Israel with his family for three years. Upon his return, he joined Rockwell International Space Division (now Boeing), where he worked on the Space Shuttle program for 22 years.
In 1990, Raphael felt that there was a need to boost the attendance in the Sephardic Hebrew Center Synagogue, where he was a member, and where attendance was dwindling. He approached the then newly hired Rabbi Claudio Kaiser-Blueth, about forming a choir. Rabbi Claudio Kaiser-Blueth was very enthusiastic and receptive to the idea. Shortly thereafter the Sephardic Hebrew Center Choir was formed. Twice a month the choir performed, and during the Friday nights service that the choir performed, the attendance increased extensively. Because of the politics that took place in the Synagogue, Raphael decided to leave the Synagogue Choir and form the independent KOL SEPHARDIC CHOIR.
At first the group was only on the West side but later formed another group in the Valley. The Valley group meets on Tuesdays and the West side Group on Thursday. Every six or eight weeks or on special occasions the two groups meet to rehearse together.
Raphael was fortunate to learn some of the Romanceros from his parents, and in particular his mother. Every day when he came home from school, he would hear from distance away his mother singing the Romanceros while cooking for a family of nine. These beautiful songs, never left him even when he was working as an aeronautical and later as a Space Engineer. The first chance he had to fulfill his dream he formed a Sephardic Choir with the objective of reviving this beautiful music among the Sephardim in Los Angeles, and to disseminate that culture to the Ashkenazic community as well as to the general community. That is the present goal of Kol Sephardic Choir.