The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey on August 27, 2000 · 18
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The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey · 18

Hackensack, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 27, 2000
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Sunday August 27, 2000 Living SOUTH NORTH CENTRAL NORTHWEST If you want to hide your wont, just comb .-, your hair - Cbuer it. Page L-3 Jy Wjv Clockwise from right, three special-needs students at the Norman A. Bleshman School in Paramus play with adapted toys: Rose Wandelmaier plays a bell toy; Imee Quinit eyes a Muppet drum; and Johnathan Zbor-ovsky enjoys a user-friendly game. "The toys help kids develop language and social skills, as well as motor and cognitive skills," says school speech therapist Karen Chmiel. Adapted playthings are not only fun, but educational and therapeutic special toys I : T7 7 1 - . .1 .. 4 . . i """. 1 i - v..-,--'.,.: x,,. sn- 1 II -A t" i ill Jk '- - r nil r C " V, ' f .' V - I t l .1 -J v . ' v PHOTOS BY PETER MONSEESISTAfF PHOTOGRAPHER By ABIGAIL K. LEICHMAN and JAVONNA MAY-MONS ights, sound, action! Roana Mendez presses a yellow switch pad, and suddenly a toy fire engine is noisily scooting around on the carpet below her wheeled chair, much to the youngster's delight. Roana's physical disabilities prevent her from sprawling on the floor with the engine or manipulating the tiny mechanism to make it go. But here at the county-run Norman A. Bleshman School . in Paramus, the toys are adapted to make child's play accessible to special-needs kids. In the past 10 years, after the Americans with Disabilities Act raised the public's consciousness, a growing number of manufacturers have been making toys for children with limited mobility, hearing, and vision. The toys are fun, but they also are therapeutic and educational, said Bleshman School speech therapist Karen Chmiel: "The toys help kids develop language and social skills, as well as motor and cognitive skills." As she spoke, Rose Wandelmaier, a vision-impaired student, spent a few seconds feeling for the big blue button on a lighted dome set on her wheeled chair's desk top and was immediately rewarded with jolly music and a whirl of color. The dome, as well as many of the items in the school's toy library, is made by Enabling Devices, a Has-tings-on-Hudson, N.Y., firm founded in 1978 by a biomedical engineer. Most of the products, such as Ring Around Bells, are musical and colorful to provide sensory stimulation and to hold the interest of children who may have unusually short attention spans. A product line called "Tickle Me Toys," Sesame Street character dolls that giggle and shake when activated by a switch or by touching their bellies, gave Susanne Flanagan of Clifton an idea. See SPECIAL TOYS Page L-5 No dates? The rabbi author of 'Kosher Sex' will fix you up By DEENA YELLIN Staff Writer e calls uninhibited sex the oxygen of marriage. Quoting the Talmud, he says a man should pleasure his wife regularly and not just to procreate. Clearly, this is not your everyday Orthodox rabbi. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's frank and humorous talk has propelled him into newspapers and magazines, and onto television talk shows, prompting some to call him "Dr. Ruth with a yarmulke." His 11 books, including "Kosher Sex" and "Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments," have helped put his bearded face onto the covers of Time and Newsweek. Now, having recently moved from Oxford, England, to Englewood, Boteach is trying his hand at a new practice: electronic yenta. The 33-year-old, happily married father of six has been appointed matchmaker-in-chief of MatchNet, a massive matchmaking network. In this new capacity, Boteach will offer advice to the lovelorn, serve as a relationship guru on singles trips, and help make matches. "This is simultaneously the most prosperous and loneliest generation of all time," he says. "People are immensely appreciative when you set them up, even if it doesn't work out and especially if it does." While most rabbinic scholars have their works pub lished in serious journals, Boteach had "Kosher Sex" serialized in Playboy. (The title refers to observing the timetable established in Talmudic law: Couples must abstain from sex for half of every month, during menstruation.) Boteach also has counseled Howard Stern, played matchmaker for Roseanne, and brought Michael Jackson to a Manhattan synagogue. "Shmuley takes real-life issues and gives them meaning, whether it's sex or suffering," said Cory Booker, a Newark councilman who served as president of Oxford L'Chaim while a Rhodes Scholar in 1993-94. "In addition to all the flash, he is a teacher of great substance, which is something that sometimes gets overlooked," said Rabbi Robert Scheinberg of the conservative United Synagogue in Hoboken. "The ideas that he conveys are drawn from Jewish tradition." Not everyone shares such enthusiasm over "the sex rabbi," however. Intimate matters should be kept private and Boteach's motives may be misunderstood, said Rabbi Stephen Pruzansky of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck. "In a society enamored of prurience, he may be seen as just another player rather than as an ethicist." Some, like Rabbi Ronald Price, have objected to See RABBI Page L-2 Inspirations columnist Caroline Brewer ia on special assignment. 3 ; r J fl:. T ' 'it . rf " 4 mm DON SWTWSTAFf PHOTOGRAPHER Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has a new role and a new home in Englewood.

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