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Parents Page


mA Z el dAy S cH oo l

The Recap It was a year to remember, surely it was So we’ll end with a poem what we started with prose The school year began just like all others The kids were brought in by their fathers and mothers Their bright little faces lit up the whole school And some even said that they wished for a pool Well what do you know, their wishes came true And Sandy gave them not one pool, but two With a pool in the preschool and a pool in the shule It was fun times for all, for me and for you But what happens when Jews all work together No task is too big, no matter the weather And this is the most important lesson this year When you’re with good people, you have nothing to fear. – Poem by Gennady Favel

Mazel Parent Page Executive Committee Mazel Parent Association

Have an exciting summer vacation!

Summer 2013 ISSUE 21

In This Issue Family Fun: Summer Picks


Humor: Answers to your most important inquiries


Cartoon caption contest winner


Teacher Talk: Teacher Interview


It worked for Me: Crafts & some tricks


Summer Reading: Book list for kids


Summer Reading: Parenting books


what a great year!


Family Fun S u m mer P icks

B y Elina Rokhkind

With summer vacation just around the corner, we once again realize how much family-friendly fun New York City offers, not to mention that a big part of it is absolutely free. From awesome playgrounds all around the City, to parks featuring concerts, exhibits and film screenings every single day of the week, to beaches and swimming pools to cool off on a hot day, it is not easy to choose from the variety of offerings. Following is just a limited selection of some events.

• Madison Square Kids (Madison Square Park), Tuesdays and Thursdays June 11-August 8 at 10:30 am –features some famous family rock bands, and you can hit the playground for active fun after a show.

Free Outdoor NYC Summer Music Festivals and Concerts

• A Clearing in the Forest (The Peter Jay Sharp Children’s Glade in Central Park ), every other Sunday through October 13 at 12 pm – the lineup of performances includes theater, dance, storytelling and music, and are usually interactive.

• Summer in the Square – Kids in the Square (Union Square Park), Thursdays June 13 – August 15, yoga at 10 am, performances at 12 pm – another live performances series for children preceded by a yoga story time session, and another great playground to explore. At 6 pm they have free zumba or salsa classes.

Governors Island

Weekends through September 29

Check the schedules for such renowned music series as SummerStage or Met Opera Summer Recital Series. Even when not geared specifically to kids, they could still be an enjoyable family time of listening to jazz, or rock, or classical music while picnicking on a blanket. Some of the series, such as Celebrate Brooklyn! and SummerStage have dedicated family days. Here are some selected performance series: • Celebrate Brooklyn! (at Prospect Park Bandshell), June 5 – August 10 – eclectic mix of performances and films.

This popular weekend destination hosts multiple activities and attractions during the summer. Ongoing events include Children’s Museum of the Arts’ free art-making workshops, Mü-Math’s exhibit of brain-teasers promoting mathematical thinking, artist-designed Minigolf Course, and FIGMENT’S large interactive installations, such as the Treehouse that the kids can explore and climb on. You can also bike on the island car-free (bring your own bike or rent from Bike and Roll). In addition, special events are scheduled on multiple weekends. A sample includes NY Hall of Science’s Designing for Flight program on July 28 (public can explore various forms of flight and even make their own flying machines), and NYC Unicycle Festival over the Labor Day weekend (competitions, unicycle sports, demonstration of skill, and an opportunity to try one-wheel riding).

• River to River Festival (Downtown Manhattan), June 15July 14 –more than 150 music, film, dance, theater and art events at 28 sites throughout lower Manhattan.

Feel free to check their complete schedule at

• Summer Stage (Citywide), June 4 – August 29 – over 100 shows throughout NYC parks and playgrounds, including circus, music and theater performances just for kids. It also hosts 5 Family Days, with the one in Central Park on July 7.

Dinosaur Safari @ the Bronx Zoo

• Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series (Citywide), July 10-August 1 – an opportunity to introduce your kids to the world-class classical music for free. • Lincoln Center Out of Doors (Upper West Side), July 24 – August 11 – over 50 performances spanning a variety of genres. • Broadway in Bryant Park, Thursdays July 11 – August 12 at 12:30 pm, and Bryant Park’s After Work Series, Wednesdays June 5 – August 28 at 6 pm – soaking culture at no cost.

For all the dinosaur lovers, this special attraction is part of the Bronx Zoo until September 8, 2013. The Safari itself is a guided wagon tour past the life-sized animatronic prehistoric creatures. In addition, Adaptations! A Dinosaur Musical plays several times a day, and various meet-andgreets are scheduled throughout the summer (e.g. the popular children’s author Mary Pope Osborne on July 20). Other attraction and activities include a musical adventure of the characters from the Magic Tree House book series, dinosaur-themed crafts and fossil digs, and an exhibit of dino artifacts. To find more exciting ideas check a highly recommended site, and


Humor A nswers to yo u r m ost im por tant i nqui r i e s

By Gennady Favel

Here at the Parent Page we like to help whenever we can. So when we found out that Mazel’s parents have questions regarding their babysitters we jumped right into action researching the answers to your most important inquiries. As with every other Parent Page topic, we know best and you should listen! Q. Am I paying my babysitter too much? It feel like I am. A. Without even knowing what you pay your babysitter our answer is a firm, yes. Your babysitter has the best job in the entire world – wiping the tuhas of your little angel. Not only do you gladly do the same job she does, on certain weekends, but no one pays you a cent for it and you are just fine with that. But what about the minimum wage laws you say. Well, even though the minim wage in the U.S is $7.25, the minimum wage in Russia is 86 cents. It seems that just like with the space race the Russians found the solution before our American friends. Q. How do I know if my babysitter is stealing from me? A. We already established that your babysitter won’t be able to subsist on a salary that you should be paying her, so why is she still around? Peraps she found a way to supplement her 86 cents an hour with theft. How are you to know? Once again we looked for answers to other more enlightened countries. One of Saddam Hussein’s sons used to periodically weigh his servants to see if they gained weight. If he noticed that they did, he would conclude that they stole from him since their salaries would be just enough to get by. We recommend you follow the same procedure with your household staff, because if you can’t learn from a psychopathic son of an ex dictator who can you learn from? Q. Should I give our babysitter a Chanukah gift? She isn’t even Jewish. A. First of all, your babysitter already received a gift, which is, working for a wonderful boss such as yourself. Why would she need or want anything else? However, tradition mandates  that those close to your family get a gift, so we recommend you get her what she has been waiting for the entire year – a framed photograph of your family that she can put in her house. This way whenever she misses your stern look of disapproval she can look at her night stand for a quick reminder.


Cartoon caption contest winner

“You can have anything on the menu, except the apple”

Rita Geisler

Q. My friend’s babysitter not only watches her kids but also cleans her house and mows the lawn, mines doesn’t even know how to work the lawnmower. Did I get a bad deal? A. Absolutely! A babysitter is the human equivalent of a Swiss army knife ready to tackle any job no matter how big or how small. Watching the kids and cooking should only be the start of her duties, but what about when the kids are sleeping and a five course meal has already been prepared? Clearly there are things around the house that she needs do. Has the BMW been washed and waxed? Have your shoes been arranged alphabetically by the name of their designer? No? Well then somebody has been slacking off and not deserving of that Chanukah gift. In the next issue please look for the article on How Not To be Helpful Ever.


Teacher Talk TE ACHER INTERVIEW Interview with Morah Bracha Kreyderman Morah Bracha’s patience and dedication to each student’s progress truly make her a unique and wonderful Russian language teacher. With a degree from Tiraspol Pedagogical Institute, and 38 years of experience as a beloved and awarded teacher of Russian language to elementary and high school students, we feel honored to have Morah Bracha on staff. She teaches Russian language in Grades K-4. How did you start teaching in Mazel Day School? My husband and I have been attending the FREE Synagogue for years and I learned about the prospective school from Chani Okonov, our Rebetzin. I knew how important this school was for the Russian-Jewish community and was very interested in contributing my efforts. Our whole family has been very involved in helping Mazel Day School succeed. My daughter also teaches here. My husband even said that he would like to win the lottery, so he could donate the winnings to Mazel! In the years that you have been teaching here, what have you seen? An incredible amount of growth and a very dedicated, hardworking teaching staff. We started out with the original class of five children and it has been very gratifying to watch them learn and grow, as well as add more and more children and families to our school. Also, I must put in a word about Chani Okonov, our Principal. In the course of my teaching career, I have worked with numerous school principals and Chani clearly stands out. She is very deeply concerned about the welfare of the school, has very thorough knowledge of each student and parent and a good knowledge of psychology, which is an important asset when managing a school. What can you tell our parents about the way Russian taught in Mazel?

By Alla Barsky To give you more specific details about our Russian curriculum, here is what is covered in grades K through 4th: Kindergarten – we start out with the Russian alphabet, teaching children fine motor skills, as well as discipline, following directions, being able to function in a group setting. At this point, I engage children in conversations in Russian about their families, health, younger siblings, grandparents, etc. 1sr Grade – Children have lessons based on specific themes – plants, animals, motor vehicles, etc. 2nd Grade – Script writing is introduced. 3rd Grade – This is where we begin to study Russian grammar rules and sentence structure. Children read simple stories and text, with emphasis on improving reading speed, reading comprehension, and being able to quickly grasp the main gist of the text they are reading. 4th Grade – Children start reading more Russian literature, including Russian-Jewish writers, as well as Russian classics (such as Krylov and Pushkin). What do you think is important in education? Well, as far as developing proficiency in Russian, a lot depends on parental support. When children, even children from purely Russian-speaking households enter an Englishspeaking school environment, they start absorbing English. In order to maintain knowledge of Russian, parents have to make an effort to speak Russian at home, even if it is more difficult. I feel inspired when I pass by some of my students on the street and I hear parents actually carry on a conversation with their children in fluent Russian. If parents are not Russian speakers, they can show excitement and encourage their child to learn Russian. What advice can you give to parents to help along their children’s education? Above all else, be interested in what your children are doing. Children have a natural desire to please their parents. So when you ask your children about their schoolwork and show real interest, they will also be more motivated to do better.

Since children come to me with widely varying degrees of proficiency in Russian, I do not focus on attaining specific levels of knowledge by my students. Rather, I focus on teaching each child at his/her level. Because Mazel Day School has fairly small class sized, I am able to give de facto private lessons to each child and focus on each child’s individual level of knowledge and accomplishment. I find that it is important to not only teach children the subject matter, but also to teach them to enjoy the very process of learning and to feel competent in school.


It Worked for Me crAftS & S ome trickS Tic-Tac-Towel This towel isn’t just for drying off at the beach. It’s crisscrossed with grosgrain ribbon for a giant tic-tac-toe board that’s sure to produce hours of enjoyment in the sand. There’s plenty of room for sitting on each end and no complicated cleanup: Just shake the towel out, and fold it up. What will you do for the Xs and Os? Send the kids to collect two different kinds of shells or rocks (five of each). Start with a solid-color towel, and choose ribbon in a hue that will stand out. We used a 35-by-66-inch bath sheet and 1/2-inch grosgrain ribbon cut into four 24-inch strips. Center tic-tac-toe pattern on towel; each of our squares is 8 inches. You can use a transparent ruler to ensure ribbons are straight and boxes are square. Pin ribbons in place, turn them under at the ends, then sew down centers using thread in the same color as the ribbon.

Bottle Terrariums Kids can turn the kitchen into a personal laboratory as they watch green plants spring up from ordinary foods -- with your help. The most commonplace things -- dried beans and spice seeds, as well as onions and sweet potatoes -- can sprout into eager green plants that are fun to observe (though they’re not very tasty to eat). Terrariums are easy to assemble and don’t require much maintenance. Let kids choose their favorite succulents, then place the terrarium in a spot where everyone can enjoy it. It’s easy to see why the popularity of succulents has skyrocketed in recent years. The plants look modern and require little maintenance -- just several hours of sun and not too much water. To showcase their beauty at home, go beyond the terra-cotta pot with this display idea. Sprinkle an inch of cactus soil in a clean glass bottle. Divide the succulents into single-stem plantlets, each with roots. Using chopsticks, place the plantlets in the bottle one at

By Anna Rakhlis a time. Use the chopsticks again to nestle each plantlet into the soil. Once the plants are situated, keep them indoors and out of direct sunlight. These desert plants require only a drop of water every two weeks or so. For more succulent display ideas, see our Modular Succulent Planters and Succulent Rock Garden.

How to Grow Root Vegetables How to Grow: For onions and sweet potatoes, fill a jar with water. Insert three toothpicks 1 inch into vegetable so the bottom third of the vegetable will be underwater. Set in indirect sunlight. Change water when it gets cloudy to prevent rot. For radishes, beets, and turnips, twist off greens. Cut away bottoms (a parent should do this); set tops on small rocks in a pie plate. Add water to cover vegetable by 1/ 8 inch. Set in indirect sunlight. Change water to keep it clear; an adult should shave off parts that get slimy. How Long It Takes: You’ll see some green growth in about five days for onions and sweet potatoes. Greens will appear on vegetable tops within three days.

Painted Sneakers Give sneakers a one-of-a-kind look with this charming craft. TOOLS AND MATERIALS •


Clean canvas sneakers

Fabric or acrylic craft paint

Artist paintbrushes

Fabric paint pens

PAINTED SNEAKERS HOW-TO 1. Cover a work surface with newspaper. 2. Using fabric paints and paint pens, decorate sneakers. 3. Let paint dry for 24 hours before painting another shade on top of the original color.


Summer Reading B o ok list f o r kids After a challenging and rewarding year of learning, exploration, and discovery at Mazel Day School - summer is finally here! The children are all excited thinking about sunny, balmy days filled with swimming, camping, and spending time with family and friends; everyone deserves some good old fashion R&R - our hard working kids have earned it! Lets continue to foster the love of reading as we’ve done all year long! Read to your children, have them read to you, write stories, make books, however you do it make reading a part of your child’s everyday summer routine!

By Ilona Dektor

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr.Seuss

Here’s a list of fun, interesting, well written books for your children to enjoy. Happy reading & happy summer!

Award Winning Books

Information Books


The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (age 4 & up)

Can We Save the Tiger

The Lion And the Mouse (age 1 and up)

Let’s Talk About Race

Temple Grandin: How The Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World

My Secret Bully (ages 6-9)

Jewish Books Hanna’s Way Goodnight Sh’ma Gathering Sparks Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken Feivel’s Flying Horses

K- 2nd Grade Books (Books with Illustrations) How I Became a Pirate

Eight Days Gone

Grades 3-5 Contemporary Fiction The Road to Paris The Lemondade War

Liar and Spy Because of Mr. Terupt

Historical Fiction Keeping Score One Crazy Summer



Are you afraid that with school in recess your child won’t have the opportunity to continue developing their artistic talent? Well worry not! Mazel’s favorite art teacher Irene Zinger will be offering Everyone Can Draw art classes for those families and kids interested in cultivating their inner artist. Call Irene at 347-210-5285 and find out how your child can become the next Marc Chagall.

Sonia Sotomayer - A Judge Grows in the Bronx

Zachary’s Ball

Shining Star: Anna May Wong Story

Wild About Books

Early Readers

6th Grade & up Fiction

My Parents Think I’m Sleeping

Return to Sender

Gilbert And the Lost Tooth

The Summer I Learned to Fly

Chapter Books

Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle

Flat Stanely




Just Grace

Drawing From Memor


Summer Reading Pa renti ng bo o ks

By Chani Okonov

Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years

Raising a Child with Soul: How Time-Tested Jewish Wisdom Can Shape Your Child’s Character

Parenting little ones can be exhausting...until you discover Love and Logic. Take the exhaustion out and put the fun into parenting your little one. If you want help with: Potty training, temper tantrums, bedtime, whining, hassle-free mornings and many other everyday challenges, then this book is for you! This book is the tool parents of little ones have been waiting for. America’s Parenting Experts Jim and Charles Fay, Ph.D., help you start your child off on the right foot. The tools in Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood will give you the building blocks you need to create children who grow up to be responsible, successful teens and adults. And as a bonus you will enjoy every stage of your child’s life and look forward to sharing a lifetime of joy with them.

With the seemingly insurmountable pressures placed on families today, many parents lack the spiritual foundation and practical knowledge to chart a clear-cut course in child-rearing. Parents question whether nurturing their children’s souls is even possible in the fast-paced materialistic culture in which we live. Utilizing the insight that springs from her knowledge of Torah wisdom, her personal experiences and the experiences of those she has counseled, Slovie Jungreis-Wolff, a longtime parenting coach and advisor to young couples and families teaches in detail how to approach the entire gamut of issues, with a special emphasis on strengthening the child’s morality and character. Parents will learn how to: • Instill simchas hachayim, “true joy,” in their children

The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children In a world where material abundance abounds, parents want so badly to raise self-disciplined, appreciative, and resourceful children who are not spoiled by the plentitude around them. But how to accomplish this feat? The answer has eluded the bestintentioned mothers and fathers who overprotect, overindulge, and overschedule their children’s lives. Dr. Wendy Mogel helps parents learn how to turn their children’s worst traits into their greatest attributes. Starting with stories of everyday parenting problems and examining them through the lens of the Torah, the Talmud, and important Jewish teachings, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee shows parents how to teach children to honor their parents and to respect others, escape the danger of overvaluing children’s need for self-expression so that their kids don’t become “little attorneys,” accept that their children are both ordinary and unique, and treasure the power and holiness of the present moment. It is Mogel’s singular achievement that she makes these teachings relevant for any era and any household of any faith. A unique parenting book, designed for use both in the home and in parenting classes, with an on-line teaching guide to help facilitate its use, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee is both inspiring and effective in the day-to-day challenge of raising self-reliant children.

• Value chessed, kindness, in a self-absorbed world • Create a mikdash me’at, a home filled with calm and reflection • Teach children gratitude and appreciation • And much more… From discipline to sibling rivalry to effective communication skills, this book offers unique concepts and pragmatic ideas that can be understood and applied to both Jewish and non-Jewish households.

To Raise a Jewish Child: A Guide for Parents How can American Jewish parents teach their children to know and appreciate what it means to be a Jew? Updated with current resource material, this wise and practical book by Rabbi Hayim Donin provides help in finding and evaluating a Jewish Day School or Hebrew school, in dealing with secular peer-group pressures on children, and in planning family observances in the home.


Summer Reading Pa renti ng bo o ks Happiness is Homemade Happiness is Homemade is a timely resource that helps families navigate contemporary life, founded on Torah’s enduring wisdom. The book is the product of more than thirty years of research and counseling Jewish families and individuals who come from a broad range of observance levels. Recognizing the influences and dynamics that are unique and particular to our times, the book explores why some of the educational methods that were successful in the past have limited impact today - and, more importantly, it tells us what works! This book examines such common issues as: • how to nurture respect and responsibility • how to provide appropriate attention • how to establish and maintain boundaries • how to deal with sibling rivalry • how to guide teens through the adolescent years • how to diffuse rebellion, apathy and obstinacy • how to boost self-esteem Author Rachel Arbus is a highly respected and recognized parenting and marriage counselor in Israel. She is the director of Jerusalem-based Pathways in Jewish Education (Nesivos BeChinuch HaYehudi). Her popular seminars and workshops have equipped countless parents with practical approaches to raising positive children.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk The ultimate “parenting bible” (The Boston Globe) with a new Foreword—and available as an eBook for the first time—a timeless, beloved book on how to effectively communicate with your child from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors. Internationally acclaimed experts on communication between parents and children, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish “are doing for parenting today what Dr. Spock did for our generation” (ParentMagazine). Now, this bestselling classic includes fresh insights and suggestions as well as the author’s time-tested methods to solve common problems and build

By Chani Okonov foundations for lasting relationships, including innovative ways to: • Cope with your child’s negative feelings, such as frustration, anger, and disappointment • Express your strong feelings without being hurtful • Engage your child’s willing cooperation • Set firm limits and maintain goodwill • Use alternatives to punishment that promote self-discipline • Understand the difference between helpful and unhelpful praise • Resolve family conflicts peacefully Enthusiastically praised by parents and professionals around the world, the down-to-earth, respectful approach of Faber and Mazlish makes relationships with children of all ages less stressful and more rewarding. Cartoon illustrations and easy to follow tip sheets make this book an engaging read.

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too The #1 New York Times bestselling guide to reducing hostility and generating goodwill between siblings. Already best-selling authors with How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish turned their minds to the battle of the siblings. Parents themselves, they were determined to figure out how to help their children get along. The result was Siblings Without Rivalry. This wise, groundbreaking book gives parents the practical tools they need to cope with conflict, encourage cooperation, reduce competition, and make it possible for children to experience the joys of their special relationship. With humor and understanding—much gained from raising their own children—Faber and Mazlish explain how and when to intervene in fights, provide suggestions on how to help children channel their hostility into creative outlets, and demonstrate how to treat children unequally and still be fair. Updated to incorporate fresh thoughts after years of conducting workshops for parents and professionals, this edition also includes a new afterword.


Summer Reading Pa renti ng bo o ks The 5 Love Languages of Children Does your child speak a different language? Sometimes they wager for your attention, and other times they ignore you completely. Sometimes they are filled with gratitude and affection, and other times they seem totally indifferent. Attitude. Behavior. Development. Everything depends on the love relationship between you and your child. When children feel loved, they do their best. But how can you make sure your child feels loved’ Since 1992, Dr. Gary Chapman’s bestselling book The 5Love Languages has helped millions of couples develop stronger, more fulfilling relationships by teaching them to speak each others’ love language. Each child, too, expresses and receives love through one of five different communication styles. And your love language may be totally different from that of your child. While you are doing all you can to show your child love, he may be hearing it as something completely opposite. Discover your child’s primary language and learn what you can do to effectively convey unconditional feelings of respect, affection, and commitment that will resonate in your child’s emotions and behavior.

Parent Talk: How to Talk to Your Children in Language That Builds Self-Esteem and Encourages Responsibility Do you find yourself in those maddening situations where you sound like a broken record when talking to your child? Your preschooler won’t decide what she wants to wear, regardless of how many times you insist that she just choose; your struggling third grader says “I can’t do math,” and your “Sure you can!” reassurance falls like a dead weight; your daughter smears on black eyeliner just before the bus arrives, and your daily protests are muted by hers.

By Chani Okonov • The morning mad dash to dress, eat, and leave the house on time • The nightly struggle to focus on homework • The endless car ride of exhaustion-induced whining • The meltdown in the mall For instance, Moorman’s antidote to the “I can’t” loop is “Act as if you’ve done this before.” With Moorman’s help, you’ll learn the words to use and the words to avoid to end power struggles and the fruitless conversation loops you’re stuck in.

Liberated Parents, Liberated Children: Your Guide to a Happier Family The Companion Volume to How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk In this honest, illuminating book, internationally acclaimed parenting experts Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish bring to life the principles of famed child psychologist Dr. Haim Ginott, and show how his theories inspired the changes they made in their relationships with their own children. By sharing their experiences, as well as those of other parents, Faber and Mazlish provide moving and convincing testimony to their new approach and lay the foundation for the parenting workshops they subsequently created that have been used by thousands of groups worldwide to bring out the best in both children and parents. Wisdom, humor, and practical advice are the hallmarks of this indispensable book that demonstrates the kind of communication that builds self-esteem, inspires confidence, encourages responsibility, and makes a major contribution to the stability of today’s family.

WHAT’S LEFT TO SAY? LOTS. In Parent Talk, a must-have for every parent with a preschool to high school-age child, Chick Moorman tells you what to say so that you can communicate more effectively -- and peacefully -- with your child in every circumstance, including:


What a great year! H eA ltHy SnAck f u n!

mAZel dAy ScHool

Quality Russian-Jewish Private School

2901 - 2915 Brighton 6th St Brooklyn, NY 11235 Phone: 718-368-4490 e-mail: we’re on the web!


Parents Page Summer 2013  

It was a year to remember, surely it was * So we’ll end with a poem what we started with prose* The school year began just like all others*...

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