Raphael was born and raised in Cape Town. In 2000 the South African government’s Art and Culture ministry awarded him a development grant for his first feature screenplay The Search for Bokkie Rosenthal. Relocating to the UK he studied at the National Film and Television School where he obtained an MA in Screenwriting. His graduation film Sea Monsters was nominated for a BAFTA for best short film in 2004. In 2004, he wrote additional scenes, dialogue and helped script-develop the feature film Boy Called Twist, a South African re-imagining of the Charles Dickens novel. In 2008, Raphael wrote the screenplay for Sidney Turtlebaum a short film starring Derek Jacobi, currently being developed into a feature film. The film was nominated for a BIFA in 2009 and shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2010. Raphael is currently writing a musical with the composer Joseph Finlay set in 1950s London.

In addition to creative pursuits Raphael has an active interest in Jewish communal life. He was a member of Habonim, a committee member for SAUJS (the South African Union of Jewish Students), an elected member of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and has served on the steering committee of Keshet UK. 

He holds a BA in Jewish History and a LLB (law degree) both from the University of Cape Town.