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October 21, 2010 - Image 52

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2010-10-21

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Arts & Entertainment


Teach Your Children Well



wo authors of children's books —
Myrna Gelman Shanker and Laurel
Snyder — have brought personal
commitments to new projects and will
appear together as part of this year's Family
Day at the Jewish Community Center of
Metropolitan Detroit's 59th Annual Jewish
Book Fair 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, in West
Bloomfield. At 10:30 a.m. the same day,
Snyder will be in Oak Park as well.
Shanker will address her attention to
seniors while Snyder will focus on interreli-
gious inclusion as part of the Global Day of
Jewish Learning, during which communities
from around the world will come together to
celebrate Jewish learning, values and unity.
Locally, the Global Day of Jewish Learning
is co-sponsored by the JCC and Jewish
Federation's Alliance for Jewish Education.
Shanker, who lives part of the year in
Michigan and part in Florida, took profes-
sional inspiration from her daughter, Wendy
Shanker, also appearing at Book Fair (for
more on Wendy's book Are You My Guru?
How Medicine, Meditation and Madonna
Saved My Life, see opposite page), and came
up with Lazar, the Good Deed Dog: Giving
Love and Respect to Our Elderly (Kar-Ben;
$12.95). The book describes the activities of
Lazar, the golden retriever rescue dog who
interacts with residents at the Fleischman
Residence/Blumberg Plaza in West
"I was visiting a friend living at
Fleischman and noticed the dog',' Myrna
Shanker recalls. "I was informed that Lazar
also lived there, and I saw how his energy
with the residents lifted their spirits. It

e w s


l ila

seemed like a good story for children:'
The book, illustrated by Linda
Robinson, is presented in rhyme and
introduces characters as representative of
people at the facility.
"I read a study that shows that when
seniors have meaningful experiences with
children, animals or plants, they have a
reduction in loneliness, boredom and vul-
nerability,' the author explains. "I hope this
book motivates young people to appreciate
Shanker, 61, who volunteers at
Fleischman by visiting and serving
refreshments, has felt connected to seniors
because of the close relationship she had
with her own grandparents.
Although she didn't have a dog when she
was young, Shanker appreciated the black
poodle, Inky, given to her as a surprise gift
from her husband, Mickey Shanker.
The new author, a Southfield High
School graduate who studied education
and earned bachelor's and master's degrees
at the University of Michigan, worked in
broadcast production for an ad agency
before marrying and adopting her stepchil-
dren, Wendy and Josh.
After teaching at Temple Israel, where her
father also taught, and helping friends with
personal writing projects, Shanker decided
to take her literary skills one step further
with a children's book related to the Jewish
community, where family commitment
Besides retaining their membership in
Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, Myrna and
Mickey Shanker have developed an interest
in Lubavitcher practices and joined the Bais
Chabad Torah Center in West Bloomfield.
"I have been so impressed with the hon-


fo (Ng

the Pig Who Wanted
to Be Kosher

Compassion and inclusion: topics
of 2 new books for kids.

Suzanne Chesser
Special to the Jewish News



thyrno 7eknor• Sr,ankof


Myrna Gelman

Laurel Snyder


esty and intensity of Wendy's book and the
loving way in which she talked about the
people close to her:' Shanker says.
"Wendy always derives pleasure in shar-
ing experiences so that others can benefit. I
hope the importance of shared experiences
comes across in my book."
Snyder, whose dad was Jewish and whose
mom was not, had a formal conversion to
Judaism when she was 18. Married to some-
one who is not Jewish, she and her husband
agreed to raise their children in her faith.
"I had been trying for years to write a
book about intermarriage and inclusivity
in the Jewish community, but it came out
sounding very didactic, preachy and heavy-
handed , ) ' says Snyder, 36, author of Baxter,
the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher (Tricycle
Press; $15.99).
"It was only after I had finished Baxter
that I realized I had written a book that
could apply to those questions and issues:'
Baxter tells the story of a pig who hears
about Shabbat and looks for a way to join the
celebration. It is illustrated by David Goldin.
"One of the most exciting things about
a picture book is the collaboration with
the artist, getting to see how somebody
else visualizes what is described:' Snyder

says. "When the art came in for Baxter, it
looked nothing like I had imagined and so
much better."
Snyder, based in Atlanta, got the idea
for the story while joking during a chance
Attention to creative ideas has been with
the author since fourth grade. Summers
before college included programs in cre-
ative writing, her focus at the University of
Tennessee and the University of Iowa.
Although Snyder has worked as a
program director for Hillel in Iowa and
Georgia, her major interest has been writ-
ing. She wrote three novels for children,
Penny Dreadful, Any Which Wall and Up
and Down the Scratchy Mountains or The
Search for a Suitable Princess.
Besides completing two books of poems,
she edited an anthology of nonfiction, Half/
Life: Jew-ish Tales from Interfaith Homes.
She is an occasional commentator for NPR's
All Things Considered.
"I can speak of the emotions of someone
who's grown up with intermarriage,' she
says. "Whatever the complexities of that
issue for the Jewish community, hearing the
voices of the children of that world seems

There is a $5 registration fee for admission to the Global Day of Jewish
Learning, which includes a series of speakers at the Jewish Community
Center's West Bloomfield and Oak Park locations. Register at jewishdetroit.org/
alliance (where a list of classes is available) or call (248) 203-1520. Register
online by Nov. 4 and receive a $5 coupon toward any one item at Book Fair (one
coupon per person; pick it up at registration table). Walk-ins also welcome.
For more info on Book Fair, call 248-432-5692 or go to www.jccdet.org .


I Nate Bloom
Special to the Jewish News

The Couch
112 On
Season three of the HBO drama In


1 Treatment, based on a hit Israeli series,
lam returns Oct. 25-26. This year, the audi-
ence is privy to the sessions psycho-
therapist Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne)
conducts with three new patients: Sunil,
an immigrant from Calcutta who has
moved in with his son and daughter-in-
law and struggles with life in America
(airing 9 p.m. Mondays); Frances (Debra
Winger, 55), a former stage and screen
actress struggling to learn her lines for
a Broadway play whose anxiety arises
from seeing her sister cope with ter-

48 October 21 • 2010

minal breast cancer,
which claimed their
mother (airing 9:30
p.m. Mondays); and
Jesse, a gay teen
struggling with his
identity and in his
relationship with his
Debra Winger
adoptive parents (air-
ing 9 p.m. Tuesdays).
Paul has a new therapist of his own,
Adele (Amy Ryan), with whom he con-
fronts his own issues (airs 9:30 p.m.

Proven Innocent

Conviction, opening Friday, Oct. 22,
is based on the true story of Kenny

Waters (Sam Rockwell) and his sister,
Betty Ann Waters (Hilary Swank). In
1983, Kenny was convicted of murder
and got a life sentence. Betty, con-
vinced of his innocence, put herself
through college and law school with
the aim of mastering the legal skills to
free her brother. The original screen-
play is by Pamela Gray, 50. The direc-
tor is sometime actor Tony Goldwyn,
the grandson of Sam Goldwyn, the
legendary film mogul (who was Tony's
only Jewish grandparent).
In 1999, the younger Goldwyn direct-
ed A Walk on the Moon, a film about
a Jewish family in the Catskills in the
late '60s. Gray wrote the script, based
somewhat on her own family's history.

Mazel Tov
Last week,
43, of
Friends fame,
that in June,
he had secret- Buckman/Schwimmer
ly married
Zoe Buckman, 25. Buckman, who is
British, was working as a waitress
when they met in 2007 and now
works part time as a photographer.
Zoe's mother, Jennie, the longtime
head of acting for the Royal Academy
of Dramatic Arts, now runs her own
theater company.

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