Mazel Day School was founded in 2002 by parents in Brighton Beach’s Russian community who were looking for academic rigor and a Jewish education that would support children from diverse Jewish backgrounds.
The non-denominational school includes students from across the spectrum — from secular to Modern Orthodox. The curriculum includes a strong secular component, reading and writing in Hebrew, English and Russian, and an emphasis on Jewish values and communal responsibility.
The school’s growth has been swift, with enrollment jumping about 20 percent a year. In 2002 the school was a single preschool class. Now it extends to eighth grade and has 230 students.
Jewish Week photographer Michael Datikash spent some time at the school, and offers this window into daily life there, through a series of moments, public and private, big and small.