AUGUST 16, 2018 – As a significant percentage of American Jewish millennials move away from Judaism and their connection to Israel, Kate Eppers stands out. The singer/songwriter, actress, and social worker is a vocal supporter of the Jewish homeland and is committed to advocating for the country, even if it takes hours of conversations to explain Israel’s views to friends.
“I was on the phone last night for 3½ hours talking to a friend about Israel,” she said. “They’re miseducated and it’s terrible. If they knew the reality and the short 70-year history of Israel, then people would be on our side.”
Eppers is an unlikely Zionist. She grew up in Salem with little Jewish background, and while her family celebrated Chanukah and Passover, it also commemorated Christmas.
Eppers, who has a sweet soprano voice, learned piano as a child, and got an early start on stage. From 8 until 17, she performed in Harvard’s comedic “The Ig Nobel Prizes” ceremony, which starred Nobel laureates such as Dudley Herschbach, who was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in chemistry. She went on to sing in the chorus in public school and at Salem State, where she majored in music.
Eppers likes to give back, and in addition to being a social worker, she’s also been employed as a preschool teacher, a music teacher in Danvers schools, and a camp drama director. She also has worked closely with autistic children.
Around 10 years ago, she went on a Birthright trip to Israel. “It was a life-changing experience. I just never understood the magnitude of the blessing of what it means to be Jewish, and understanding that we have this home,” Eppers explained.
Since Birthright, she’s made two more visits to Israel, and when she’s not singing, performing, or writing songs, she’s advocating for Israel with friends or on social media.
While she spends her days as a social worker, Eppers feels most comfortable on the stage. In recent years she’s performed at numerous venues, including the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, the Kresge Auditorium at MIT, and the Sanders Theatre at Harvard.
Last year, Eppers released her debut album, “The Wishing Well,” which features her original music. Earlier this month her music video, “Follow Me” – which was filmed in Newburyport – premiered on YouTube. In addition, she’s been busy acting in independent films and just wrapped “The Dinner Party,” in which she portrays a progressive teen debutante in 1906.
Her recent album took three years to record, and the music grew out of a difficult period in her life. “It came from going through a series of bad things. I went through some traumatic events and I took all of that bad energy and just poured it into my piano and just wrote it,” she explained. “The summer took a turn for the better as I fell madly in love, and 2014 turned out to be the most magical, romantic summer of my life. ‘The Wishing Well’ is a true testament to this. The album is rich in intense, emotionally charged love songs.”
When she began to write the album in 2014, she decided to go on a Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ young adult Israel trip, where she toured the country and performed community service. That trip also helped further her bond with the Holy Land.
“We were there on July 4th and we went to a Tel Aviv club and they played Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the U.S.A.,’ and I felt at home,” said Eppers, who wears a silver Star of David around her neck and always seems to have a tune in her head.
For Eppers, singing and performing is life affirming. She does not expect to become a famous pop star or actress. She wants to have children and buy a house one day.
“The work I do is very important – you have to eat and pay your bills,” said the North Shore resident. “I’m not trying to be a pop star. I’m just doing what I love and hoping for the best. I was only meant to do this, there’s really nothing else that matters. Whether it’s through a stage/film performance or through my music, I want nothing more than to touch people somehow.”
For more information, visit www.kateeppers.com.