Mark Novak


Mark Novak & Renée Brachfeld -- a dynamic husband-wife performing duo -- draw their material from the warmth and richness of the Jewish tradition. Renée is a storyteller and juggler, and Mark is a hazzan and musician. Since 1996, Mark and Renée have presented more than 100 Artist-in- Residence weekends at synagogues throughout the United States, enriching Jewish communities with performances and workshops for both adults and families. Their highly acclaimed recording, "King Solomon's Daughter", was honored with the 1996 Parents' Choice Gold Award.

Mark Novak, a second year student in the Aleph Rabbinical program, began his musical career as a child, singing with a professional Jewish choir and appearing on Broadway in the musical Oliver. From 1977 to 1986, Mark served as music director/workshop leader of the Living Stage Theater Company of Arena Stage. He is a workshop leader with the Anti Defamation League's "World of Differences" program. As a hazzan, Mark serves many Washington, D.C. area congregations, and is the spiritual leader of Kehillat Nefesh at 6th & I Historic Synagogue. "The Mark Novak Band" which he formed in 1993, is a popular choice for Jewish wedding celebrations throughout the Washington community.

Renée Brachfeld has been delighting audiences since 1985 with her unique combination of storytelling and juggling skills. Renée has been a featured storyteller at storytelling festivals around the country. She has taught storytelling workshops for many Jewish organizations including the National Jewish Educators Assembly, CAJE, and Boards of Jewish Education in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Kansas and Florida. Renée was a recipient of the Janice Goldstein Jewish Community Artists Grant, awarded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington to coordinate and direct intergenerational storytelling programs. She is currently a storyteller/teacher with the "Becoming the Voices" project, which brings high school students and holocaust survivors together to keep the stories of the Shoah alive. Her original story, "The Light in the Wall," appears in Peninnah Schram's book Chosen Tales. Renée leads the High Holiday Learner's Service at Congregation B'nai Shalom of Olney. Renée is highly regarded throughout the Washington, DC area as a gifted and joyous Israeli folk dance teacher.
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