The real Jersey boy, Frankie Valli and the Four
Seasons return to the FOX Theater this
Friday, Oct 22nd...
During autoimmune illness, author
turned to doctors, then healers, and even
Madonna for strength and support.
Special to the Jewish News
endy Shanker, like other
young adults, began a search
for a guru, someone who
could lead her along a productive and
But unlike many young adults search-
Wendy Shanker: "You don't mess
ing for a guru, she had a need that was
with Madonna. To me, she is an
more physical than spiritual.
example of unrelenting strength."
As Shanker entered her 30s, she was
whose first autobiographical project
diagnosed with an autoimmune disease,
was The Fat Girl's Guide to Life. "It feels
Wegener's granulomatosis, which was
personal but also universal. I'm thinking
disrupting the lifestyle she was estab-
that if this is something I'm dealing with,
lishing as a New York-based comedic
maybe somebody else is, too.
writer for stage, magazines and TV.
"My second book expands on women
Medicines, causing many side effects,
and how they can feel empowered about
were not solving her problem.
their bodies, moving away from body-
Who, she wondered, could help shake
image anxiety and moving into the bigger
off the symptoms and let her fully pur-
image of health and wellness
sue long-held dreams?
Shanker, a graduate of Andover High
The answer is explained in Shanker's
School and the University of Michigan,
new book, Are You My Guru? How
had wanted to become a
Medicine, Meditation &
broadcast journalist. After
Madonna Saved My Life
WEN0Y sli ANKER
moving to New York, she
(New American Library;
as a standup comic,
$15), which she'll discuss 1
YO U my
writer-producer for television
WI II U?
p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, at the
and even talk-show host.
Jewish Community Center
"It wasn't until I put
of Metropolitan Detroit's
together this list of people
59th annual Jewish Book
I had gone to and all the
Fair in West Bloomfield.
things I'd tried that I real-
ized there was a story to tell','
text follows her explora-
says Shanker, now taking
tions of Western medi-
on freelance assignments
cines, Eastern healings,
that include writing the script for the
religious practices and ultimately per-
November Glamour Women of the Year
sonal choices — all resulting in the rec-
ognition that each person's guru resides
Important to the story were Shanker's
within that very person.
religious and spiritual initiatives, com-
"The book tells a story as it describes
ing after years of activity with Temple
the evolution of what happens and the
Israel in West Bloomfield and the B'nai
awareness that grows as I'm meeting
B'rith Youth Organization, which orga-
people, trying things and going through
nized her trips to Israel.
new experiences:' says Shanker, 38, in
"I think there's a delineation between
remission with the combined help of
religion and spirituality:' says Shanker,
Western and Eastern approaches.
whose parents, Myrna and Mickey
"I'm glad to have a representative
Shanker, turned to Luvavitcher think-
voice for people who are dealing with
ing and encouraged their daughter to
illness, chronic diseases and physical
say certain prayers. "Part of spirituality
discomfort while bringing a sense of
involved what I could borrow from a
humor to the telling:'
religion that wasn't mine' Ili
Shanker, who was raised in West
Bloomfield, does not hold back as she
describes the disease and the extreme
Wendy Shanker appears at Book
practices she employed to get rid of it.
Fair at the JCC in West Bloomfield
"When it comes to my body and health,
1 p.m. Friday, Nov.12.
I feel like I'm an open book:' says Shanker,
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October 21 • 2010