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Parents Page



January 2014 | 29 Tevet- 30 Sevat | ISSUE 24

Safety Is Always First The great thing about Mazel parents is that they are some of the most safety conscious people on the planet. When it comes to illness prevention, stranger danger, or avoiding hazards around the house, Mazel parents are already ahead of the curve. At Mazel we don’t take safety any less seriously than the parents do at home, and that’s pretty serious. Our kids visit a firehouse to learn what to do in case of an emergency, and police officers visit us to give the kids a look at their job of keeping everyone safe. By reinforcing important safety concepts at home and in school we insure that our kids learn and have fun while being aware of their surroundings. Mazel Parent Page Executive Committee Mazel Parent Association

In This Issue Family Fun: Weekend Picks


Humor: The Mazel Conspiracy Files


Mazel Comic: Safety Teacher Talk: Teacher Interview


It Worked for Me: Home Safety Tips


Recipes: Desserts


Book Selection of the Month


Parent Talk: Parent Interview


Morah’s Trade Secrets: Mazel Morah’s 10 Parenting Tips Parenting Book of the Month


Pictures: Days of our Lives




Thank You


Family Fun WEEKEND PICKS Ice Skating Ice Skating in Prospect Park –LeFrak Center at Lakeside Through March 2014, Mon –Thu 11 am – 6pm, Fri 9 am – 5 pm Sun 9 am – 8pm $6/$8, $5 skate rentals

B y Elina Rokhkind For your convenience, here is a list of some other popular places to ice skate in New York City. Check their respective websites for times and rates. OUTDOOR • Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center (Manhattan) id=74 • Wollman Rink in Central Park (Manhattan) • Lasker Rink in Central Park (Manhattan) • Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park (Manhattan) • The Rink at Brookfield Place in Battery Park City (Manhattan) After multi-million renovations and years of constructions, Lakeside in Prospect Park is finally open with not one, but two rinks – one open-air and one covered with over 30,000 sq. ft of combined skating surface. In addition to beautiful Prospect Park surroundings, this ice skating destination is features reasonable rates, with kids under 12 skating for free on Mondays from 3pm to 6 pm. The new facility also offers ice skating and hockey lessons and youth and adult hockey league • South Street Seaport Rink (Manhattan) • McCarren Rink (Brooklyn, Williamsburg) INDOOR • Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers (Manhattan, Chelsea) • World Ice Arena (Queens, Flushing) • Aviator Sports Center Ice Skating Rink (Brooklyn, Marine Park) • Abe Stark Rink (Brooklyn, Coney Island) • Staten Island Skating Pavilion (Staten Island)


Family Fun WEEKEND PICKS Snow Tubing – Close to Home

B y Elina Rokhkind Mountain Creek in Vernon, NJ 200 Route 94 approx. 1 hr 35 min from Brighton Beach, $20-$25

The Drop Zone at Mountain Creek is the largest tubing park in our area, with 30 chutes for zooming down the mountain. Tubers must be at least 5 years old and 42 inches tall to hit the hills, and advance reservations are strongly recommended, especially on weekends. Your two-hour session starts when you arrive, so you don’t need to wait for a specific time.

With winter taking its course, families do not want to miss all the winter activities. The all-time favorite, suitable even for the smallest fun-lovers, is snow-tubing. Here is a round-up of 3 popular places closest to home(taken from Please check respective websites for exact schedule and pricing. Campgaw Mountain in Mahwah, NJ 200 Campgaw Road approx. 1hr 20 min from Brighton Beach, $18-$24 depending on day of the week

This tiny ski resort offers eight tubing runs with two lifts, so kids can ride their tubes back up instead of walking. Reserving your session in advance online is recommended. Minimum height 42.

Theater Galli Theater 347 West 36th St. b/w 8th and 9th Ave, Manhattan Sun, 2 pm. Tickets $20 (adults), $15 (kids)

Galli Theater is a small and welcoming place, where fairy tales are brought to life by a troupe of talented actors, in humorous contemporary adaptations. Here kids do not just watch a show on a faraway stage - they sit next to the action, literally participating in it by screaming at the top of their lungs to Snow White not to take a poisonous apple or by pointing out something a character might be “missing”. Scheduled performances include Hansel and Gretel in January, and The Frog Prince in February. They also offer 40-minute after-show theater workshop s for kids for $15.

Tuxedo Ridge at Sterling Forest in Tuxedo, NY 581 Route 17A West approx. 1hr 25 min from Brighton Beach $15-$25

Tuxedo Ridge offers five tubing runs and lift service. All tubers must be at least 42 inches tall to participate. Sessions are 90 minutes each, and often sell out, so make online reservations before you go. 3


By Gennady Favel

For millennia Jews have been the center of conspiracy theories and various diabolical accusations. Some of these conspiracies involve secret religious rituals, following the Protocols of The Elders of Zion, control of world banks and media, and even involvement in international terrorist plots. So it is only natural that after the recent tuition hikes that conspiracy theories about where the money is REALLY going to be used have began to circulate. Below are the top four conspiracy theories for the true reason behind next school year’s tuition increase.


Man’s Home is His Castle (literally) – This theory alleges that after many years of middle-class toil the founders of Mazel decide to join South Brooklyn’s privileged class and build a mansion on Manhattan Beach. For several years Chani and Avremel, using the pseudonyms Boris and Natasha Ivanov, have been buying beachfront land on the most desirable block of the neighborhood. Next year they will be breaking ground on a three floor mega mansion. Each doorway will be adorned with a diamond encrusted mezuzah, and it is said that the kitchen sink instead of water will have the finest kosher wine flowing through it’s faucet.


From West End To Wall Street – According to this version of events, in 2009 the treasurer of the school used that year’s tuition revenue to bet against the stock of Google, proclaiming, that “if people in the future will need to search for anything ,the answers will be found in the Torah and not some hokey website.” Investors on Wall Street thought differently and ever since then Mazel has been using tuition increases to cover the growing investment loses.


The Ruling Elite – It has been theorized for some time that the board at Mazel is comprised of multimillionaires who couldn’t give two shekels about Mazel families and their financial problems. Eager to keep the local population impoverished in order to promulgate their own sense of entitlement, these local oligarchs use the increases in tuition to feed their Putin-like craving for power and control.


Who Needs A Salary – Some people have hypothesized that the reason for past years’ low tuition is that Mazel’s teachers were actually ex-convicts who taught at Mazel in order to meet their court-ordered community service obligations. This theory got additional traction since it was thought that the reason for early Friday dismissal was so that teachers could attend weekly meetings with their parole officers. Now that most of their sentences are coming to an end these teachers are demanding that they be paid a living wage or they will return back to a life of crime.




Gershko a i r o t c i By V

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Teacher Talk T EACHER INTE RVIE W Interview with Cara Stoll In this issue of our newsletter, we are turning the spotlight on our new 3rd grade teacher, Cara Stoll. Cara was born in Norwalk, CT and moved down to South Florida at a very young age. After graduating from high school, she attended The University of Hartford where she graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education. She then went on to complete her Masters of Arts in Literacy from Teachers College, Columbia University. Cara joined Mazel in August 2013, and it is her second year teaching in general. Why did you choose the teaching profession? I chose the teaching profession because I love working with children. I started at an early age with babysitting and my enjoyment grew with working with them throughout my teen years so it was a natural feeling to become a teacher to do the work that I am passionate about.

By Kate Ilyaguyev In your opinion, what makes Mazel Day School different from other schools? Mazel Day School is different because I can feel the love the students and teachers have for one another and the school itself. The warmth of the staff makes it an easy environment to work in and feel that educating the child is its main goal. What is your favorite activity in the classroom? I love “read aloud” and studying the various topics in Social Studies. What are some of the projects you are currently working on in class? The students are working in groups to research the Oregon Trail and they will be working towards the final project, which will be board games all about the Oregon Trail. I researched kid friendly sites and made them all research packets. They are working in groups using that information to develop questions and answers that they will eventually use in their board game. They will also be creating the rules, game pieces and designing the board and using their research to come up with the questions. How do you approach an issue of bullying in your classroom? In regards to bullying, I have shown my kids videos on YouTube, we have done role playing, and a lot of discussions about defining what bullying exactly is.

What do you love most about teaching in general? My favorite moment is the “AhHa” moment. It just makes me feel whole seeing that children are getting something new especially when they discover it on their own with the tools that I have provided. I love seeing children have that AH- HA moment when it is most evident that they were struggling with a concept and then it just finally clicks for them. How did you first find out about Mazel Day School and what motivated you to work here? I was researching day schools and fell upon the school through a website search. I love the fact that it is a neighborhood school that is tight knit which incorporates the best of both the secular and Judaic worlds.


It Worked for Me H O ME SA F E TY TIPS Kitchen Safety Tips

By Anna Rakhlis 9. Never try to catch a falling knife. Instead, let it drop. 10. Always walk with knives at your side, pointed downward, or using both hands to remain aware that you’re carrying a sharp object.

Safety Step Markers Make sure the basement stairs are always visible by adding fluorescent stripes to the treads. Affix adhesive strips of tape or apply a 1-inch stripe of fluorescent paint (both available at hardware stores) to a clean, dust-free surface; position each strip 1 inch from edge of step to minimize wear.

The kitchen can be a dangerous place if the proper precautions are not taken. Follow these safety tips to ensure that nobody gets injured while cooking. The Stove

Car Safety Kit You never know when trouble is going to occur on the road. To be extra safe, it’s always best to plan ahead and stock your car with a safety kit. Store in Your Trunk

1. Keep flammable items away from the stove. Avoid placing pot holders, towels, or your sleeves near an open flame.

• Jumper cables

2. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand just in case.

• Jack

3. Don’t bring a big pot of boiling water to the sink to drain it. Instead, use a hand strainer or a spider to remove food.

• Cotton gloves

4. Turn all pot handles inward so children can’t grab them. If you bump into a handle, the pot can fall and burn you — or your child.

• Sand or absorbent cat litter for traction

5. Remember this cardinal rule: When the fat is on the fire, pay attention! Many kitchen fires start because someone forgets about a pan of fat or oil. Oil gets hotter and hotter and can burst into flames. Appliances 6. Don’t use appliances near the sink. If one happens to fall in water, it can electrocute you. Using Knives 7. Never keep knives on the edge of the counter where children can reach them. 8. Never carry knives outward, as you could stab someone.

• Inflated spare tire

• Extra bottle of windshield wiper fluid

• Reflective safety vest • Roadside reflectors Store in the Car Cabin • Auto escape hammer to break the window if you have no other way out of the vehicle. Mount this to your dashboard so you can reach it in an emergency. • Flashlight and fresh batteries • Simple first-aid kit • Blanket Resources You can find most of these items at hardware stores.



By Rachel Calipha

Russian Tea Cookies (Recommended by Betty Crocker) INGREDIENTS:: • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened • 1/2 cup powdered sugar • 1 teaspoon vanilla • 2 1/2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour • 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts (recommended macadamia nuts) • 1/4 teaspoon salt • Powdered sugar • Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. DIRECTIONS: 1. Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together. 2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. 3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack. 4. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar again.

Book Selection of the Month Recommended by Irene Gabo

The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers Stan and Jan Berenstain When Papa Bear tells the cubs why they should never talk to strangers, Sister begins to view all strangers as evil until Mama brings some common sense to the problem. “The Bears’ rules for safe conduct among strangers are listed on the last pages, including a rule about the privacy of a bear’s body. A good book to start awareness in young children.” —School Library Journal.


Parent Talk PA RENT I NTE RVIE W Interview with Cara Stoll

By Kate Ilyaguyev Irina met her husband, Rubin, during her second semester in college. She shared an interesting story of how they first met. She told me they met through a matchmaker. Once when Rubin was driving home he noticed an elderly woman who used to be his neighbor when he was younger. He stopped his car and offered her a ride. This woman happened to be related to Irina and as a thank you she offered Rubin her phone number, and as Irina said “the rest was history”. Irina and Rubin have three beautiful children. Leora Chaya is in the fifth grade at Mazel, Nathan is in the 2nd grade at Mazel and little Elan is turning 3yr old soon. What do you like most about your job?

Dear Mazel Parents, in this issue of our newsletter I would like you to get to know a very special person: Irina Elnatanov. Irina is the kindest, the sweetest person I have the pleasure of knowing. Her smile lights up the room and her eyes shine with goodness and life! When in her presence, you feel calmness and peace. I hope you too will have the opportunity to meet Irina at the future Mazel events, but in the meantime, read on to get to know Irina some more. Irina Elnatanov, lived in Brooklyn, NY most of her life, but is originally from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. By profession, Irina is a special education teacher.

I love when I come in to a class and the students’ faces are beaming when they see me. I love giving knowledge to children, teaching them something new. I love that I have an opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life. I still remember my favorite teachers and I hope that I can leave the same positive impression on my students. What is most challenging about your job? I have to admit that students with behavioral problems are the most challenging. All students need to know that they are cared about, sometimes it takes time to build that trust. How did you first learn about Mazel? I learned about Mazel from my brother Alex, his daughter Ariela has been a student since pre-nursery, they absolutely love Mazel. Why did you decide to send your child(ren) to Mazel Day School? I love Mazel’s philosophy of including Jews from different backgrounds and observance levels. Mazel’s progressive education is also a very positive aspect of the school.


What do you like most about Mazel Day School?

What is your parenting philosophy?

I love the staff! Everyone is in collaboration to do what is best for my children. From Chani, to the teachers to Helen, everyone is very warm and caring.

Our parenting philosophy is parent by showing and modeling not only by lecturing. Children notice everything, they are little sponges picking up on everything they see and hear. They test and test and test, and push their parents to the limits, but I learned that as long as we are consistent, eventually they realize where the limits lie and how far they can push them.

What do you expect from Mazel education? I expect that my children will learn how to live in harmony with children from different backgrounds, while still remaining true to their own beliefs and customs. I also expect for my children to be prepared to take on the following educational milestones. What is your favorite activity with your child(ren)? We love to bake together. Whenever we have the opportunity we bake cookies. What character traits of your child(ren) always make you smile? I love Leora’s creativity and her sense of style. I love Nathan’s sense of humor and his artistic expression. I love Elan’s laugh and his kindness towards everyone around him. Describe one occasion when your kids really made you proud. Every Shabbat after I light the candles they begin setting the table. When my husband comes home from Shul, Elan runs over to him to shake his hand and say “Shabbat Shalom”. My heart fills with pride. Mazel parents come from different backgrounds. How would you describe your religious observance at home? I was not observant when Rubin and I met, although he was. We discussed religion prior to marriage and I agreed that it would be favorable to raise our children in an observant home. I remember going on school Shabbatons and being in awe of the way the families celebrated Shabbat, no TV or telephones distracting anyone, but a day of complete attention on the family. I couldn’t wait to have that in my family as well.

January issues of our newsletter is focused on safety. Do you ever discuss safety with your children? How do you draw a line between being over protective and communicating what is safe/unsafe? What concerns you most about safety as your children are growing up and how are you addressing the safety topics with your children? We constantly discuss safety with our children; it is an ongoing topic of discussion in our family. When Leora was about five years old I helped her memorize my cell phone number and our address with the use of a song. My biggest concern about safety as my children are growing is that I will not be there supervising them as I do now, they will become more independent and I will not always be able to shelter them from all the bad things in the world. When we discuss strangers, we include strangers on the internet. I have told my children several true stories of children who didn’t know better and got into serious trouble because they met people on the internet who lied about their identities. They know that they are not allowed to communicate with people through the internet unless they know them in person. We teach our children the appropriate behavior in an emergency or potentially hazardous situation, and we trust that they will carry out what they’ve learned. As difficult as it is to let our children go and do things on their own, we realize that we cannot hold their hands forever, we teach them as best we can and trust in them to do what they have been taught.


Morah’s Trade Secrets MAZEL MO RA H ’ S PA R E NTI NG TI PS Have you ever found yourself wondering: “How do those Mazel teachers do it”? We are excited to bring you a new column written each month by a different team of our very own school teachers who will be sharing their insights, tips and “trade secrets” to help you incorporate that special Mazel environment in your own home. This month’s “Morah’s Parenting Tips” was written by Morah Bassie Aronow (PreK 2) in collaboration with Morah Perel Rotenberg (PreNursery 2). If you have a particular parenting-related question that you would like the Morahs to address, please email us as

By Morah Bassie Ar onow & Morah Perel Rotenberg

have a hard time expressing himself, and difficulty trusting himself or others. It may be difficult to accept and validate our children’s feelings. We must try to understand why we sometimes feel helpless and overwhelmed when dealing with our children’s feelings and conflicts. Even as adults, many times we don’t take the time or know how to validate our own feelings. Knowing how to validate feelings is a skill. It can be learnt. Our goal is to embrace our children’s feelings, accepting and allowing children to express their full range of emotions, while also teaching them boundaries. When we listen to a child, we show the child their feelings are real and important. It allows them to feel safe, trust us and themselves, open up and express how they feel. It also allows us to get to know them better. Accepting their feelings doesn’t mean we must support negative behaviors that occur as a result. What are ways we can validate our children’s feelings? 1. We calmly come down to their eye level and look at the child as the child looks back at you. 2. We can say what we see, such as, “You look so sad. Do you want to tell me why?” Some children are still too young to have a language to say how they feel, so we can say it for them. “You face looks very upset and I see you were crying. Did someone take a toy away from you that you wanted?”

There are moments in every child’s life when he/she is upset. Perhaps there are hurt feelings, or maybe they want something they can’t have at that moment. Often, adults try to intervene by attempting to “fix” things, to lay the matter to rest as fast as possible and regain peace and quiet. The child may be told that what happened is not important, and/or that it isn’t necessary to cry about. We tell the child to move on, but this infers that their feelings aren’t valid. Feelings that are not acknowledged can cause the child to feel frustrated and alone. The child begins to feel that his feelings are not worth much, and he learns not to trust his perceptions and thoughts. He may therefore

Always ask the child for information. Never assume what may have happened between two children and act on it without checking for veracity. Always gather as much information as you can in order to assess. You can say it back to them to confirm that you are correct. Always maintain a positive attitude and demonstrate the fun possibilities that can arise when generating solutions. Emphasize the positive in each attempt to problem solve with phrases such as, “Now we know what doesn’t work!” After we validate any feelings of the child we try and direct their behavior. We offer solutions how they can better cope with a given situation and how they feel


Morah’s Trade Secrets MAZEL MO RA H ’ S PA R E NTI NG TI PS about it. We can also distract them in a healthy way. For example, if a child wants a toy at the supermarket. You can first say “I understand you’re upset and disappointed about not getting the toy.” Then distract or offer a solution. “How about you help me choose which cereal to buy?” Children don’t look at problems the same way as adults do. They need help to learn problem solving and they need practice making healthy decisions on their own. So, many times we must intervene and coach them to a better place in mind and spirit. We can talk to the child about ideas and approaches to hypothetical situations. Discuss new events, story plots, and friends’ situations with your child, and ask him what he would do at various decision points. However, after all the coaching and modeling the problem solving process for your child, and breaking complex problems down into smaller parts for the child to understand, you can experiment with this idea of

By Morah Bassie Ar onow & Morah Perel Rotenberg

allowing the child to work out his problem on his own instead of intervening. Children are natural problem solvers when children interact with one another and participate in decision making; it offers countless opportunities for children to grow in their problem solving abilities. These important experiences help children to value different kinds of thinking, think logically and creatively, and take an active role in their world. Don’t forget to give praise – direct praise for good behavior and good choices the child made. For example, a child who wanted to keep reading instead of going to bed when asked, and closed the book anyways and got ready for bed, you can say, “I appreciate you listening the first time and getting ready for bed although you really wanted to keep reading your book. Thank you.” Validate, make children feel safe, and build trust!

You can do it!! Good luck!

Parenting Book of the Month

By Chani Okonov

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Dr. Laura Markham Dr. Laura Markham is a clinical psychologist specializing in child development and parenting. The founder of, she supports parents every day in her private coaching practice and daily email inspirations. She lives in New York City with her husband and their two teenage children. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting is a groundbreaking guide to raising responsible, capable, happy kids. Based on the latest research on brain development and extensive clinical experience with parents, Dr. Laura Markham’s approach is as simple as it is effective. Her message: Fostering emotional connection with your child creates real and lasting change. When you have that vital connection, you don’t need to threaten, nag, plead, bribe—or even punish. This remarkable guide will help parents better understand their own emotions— and get them in check—so they can parent with healthy limits, empathy, and clear communication to raise a self-disciplined child. Step-by-step examples give solutions and kid-tested phrasing for parents of toddlers right through the elementary years. If you’re tired of power struggles, tantrums, and searching for the right “consequence,” look no further. You’re about to discover the practical tools you need to transform your parenting in a positive, proven way.







Thank You


Quality Russian-Jewish Private School

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

Thank You! A special note of appreciation to those parents who made gift donations to their child’s classroom in recent months: Shafir family for donating new learning games to the Kindergarten classroom in honor of Sammy’s birthday... Irlin family for contributing lots of math learning games to the Second Grade class in honor of Sophia’s birthday... Khodorkovsky family for donating books to the class library in PreK 2...Verkhovsky family for gifting a set of literacy board games to the Second Grade class in honor of Alan’s birthday... Gabo family for donating books to the First Grade class library in honor of Rachel’s birthday... Khanukayev family for donating models of human body parts to PreK 2 in honor of Boris’s birthday... Sendersky family for contributing a math learning game to the Second

Grade in honor of Sammy’s birthday... Melnikov family for donating a game of Scrabble to the Third Grade in honor of Chanukah... Khenkin family for gifting new games and toys to PreK1 and PreK2 in honor of Ben and Emma’s birthday... Biniaminova family for contributing new books to the classroom library... Simakhov family for donating a sound matching game to PreK1... Gabo, Verkhovsky and Katz families for gifting the second grade class with great games for recess play. Whether you want to give a gift to your child’s class in honor of his/her birthday or just because... check out your class’s online wish list of carefully selected items that will be greatly appreciated and used by your child’s teachers.

We acknowledge and thank the following organizations for their continuous support: UJA Federation of New York Gruss Life C.I.J.E. and the Fund for Jewish Education. 16

Parent Page: January 2014  

Safety Is Always First The great thing about Mazel parents is that they are some of the most safety conscious people on the planet. When it...