I live in one of the most family friendly neighborhoods in New York City. So domestic that one website blamed it for the semi-recent breakup of Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal (MOT!) because they just weren’t ready for the pregnancy/baby/dog-loving vibe.
So I’m used to seeing playgroups, music classes, baby swim lessons, baby yoga, mommy yoga, mommy and baby yoga, toddler yoga…anything that you can dream up for a child, it exists here in Park Slope. And I hear about all of it on what some call the Brooklyn Mafia, the Park Slope Parents listserv. But I hadn’t seen this yet. Starting on Sunday, January 23, there’s a Mommy & Me class for Russian-speaking Jewish parents called TotTussovka. Personally, I’ve always been really intrigued by Russian Jewry. My great-grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Russia in the early 1900’s, and I grew up in the era of campaigns to support Soviet Jewry. The band Safam wrote a song called Leaving Mother Russia and I used to blast this anthem (on tape) in my room. (Yes, I am a Jewish dork. If you, unlike me, were less dorky in the 80’s, you can find everything you need to know about the Soviet Jewry movement in Gal Beckerman’s book, When They Come For Us We’ll Be Gone).
Though I’m not really into borscht. Strange, I know.
Anyway, the point is, I’m totally excited about these classes. It seems that there’s a huge Russian Jewish population here in brownstone Brooklyn, and they want their kids to have a high-quality program focused on arts and culture. TotTussovka is sponsored by the Jewish Community House of Brooklyn and the UJA-Federation of New York.
Here’s what they have to say about it: “Instill a love for Russian language and Jewish traditions in your child through interactive play in a fun and imaginative environment. Each sixty minute program is led by a bilingual musician/educator who sings and plays an instrument. You and your child will love our Russian sing along, storytelling time, imaginative play, language activities, dancing, and games.”
They had an event a couple of months ago with a famous Russian artist named Zhenya Plechkina, and they plan to do additional holiday programs throughout the spring. They want you to pre-register, because space is limited.
I kind of really wish I spoke Russian.