Rabbi Mark Novak and Renee Brachfeld

January 28-30, 2022 

Master storytellers Rabbi Mark Novak and Renee Brachfeld join us for the weekend for performances, workshops, and story-inspired prayer.

“My work with Mark and Renée sent me to a powerful breakthrough in my storytelling abilities. In just one session I was able to take the leap from merely telling a story in words…to letting the story live inside me and pour out effortlessly, joyously, and easily. I am so grateful.” —Rabbi Shefa Gold

“These were two of the most meaningful services I have ever attended. Rabbi Mark really gave us … a reaffirmation of who we are as Jews.
“The communal love that flowed was palpable and inspiring.
“This will live in my heart for a very long time.” —Deb Moldovan, Beth Israel Congregation, Plattsburgh, NY

“Mark and Renee lead you into an encounter with that mysterious side that reaches out beyond words. They lead you toward a discovery that those whispers of the sacred in the best of the old folktales and rabbinic literature are also found in the shape of our own personal stories. In the generous space that Mark and Renee create, we learn of all the many ways–sad, beautiful, humorous–that God finds us in our lives.” —Jay, Vancouver Theological School Seminary student

​Renée Brachfeld, MSW

Renée has been a professional storyteller and teacher since 1987. She has performed and taught at synagogues, churches and retreats throughout the US and Canada, as well as international storytelling festivals. ​Her workshops are fun and dynamic, bringing out the storyteller in each individual. She is a co-host of The Grapevine, a monthly storytelling series for adults.

At the outset of the pandemic, Renée quickly helped move all MFSI and Grapevine events online. Over the course of this difficult time, she has become a well-known Zoom master. She now assists other groups and organizations with creating and running online events that maintain the warmth and interaction previously expected only from in-person gatherings.

She has been heard on NPR, and her written stories have been published in ​Penina Schram’s Chosen Tales, and Goldie Milgram’s Mitzvah Stories.

Renée is also a pretty darn good juggler. Visit Renée online at Jewishstorytelling.com.

​Rabbi Mark Novak

Mark is a free-range rabbi, musician, composer, storyteller, and spiritual director. A master at creating sacred space, he brings with him over 40 years of professional theater experience. He is founder of and spiritual guide of Minyan Oneg Shabbat, Washington DC’s Jewish Renewal happening, which offers a monthly session of ​Mindfulness Practice Thru a Jewish Lens.

His project – A Year of Stories – dedicated to the memory of his teacher, Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi of blessed memory, is Mark’s retelling of stories gathered from a vast variety of sources.

From 1977-1986 Mark was a member of the renowned Living Stage Theater Company at Arena Stage in Washington, DC. His original theater pieces have been performed at Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts and The Smithsonian. Visit Mark online at RebMarko.com