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Jews You Should Know

Aug 24, 2021


Daniel Shapiro is a University of Chicago Law School graduate. He has been a trial lawyer for many years and is a lifetime Chicagoan. He spends his free time reading and socializing with his grown children. His debut book, The Thin Ledge i,s a raw and real telling of coping with his wife’s severe brain trauma. He's currently working on his second book, a novel about an aging lawyer, late-career ambition, and ethnicity in a changing, awakened society.

In the The Thin Ledge, Daniel recounts the realities of living through his wife's mental and physical decline as a result of a dreadful illness in this very honest book. When Daniel’s wife, Susan, suffered a brain bleed and was told her prognosis was uncertain, he was a successful attorney in his early forties. The couple, stunned and with three small children, made the best of the next few years before a major second hemorrhage changed everything. Susan's physical abilities to speak, see, and walk were severely hampered. Mentally, she descended into sadness and underwent a significant personality shift.

​In this episode, Daniel shares his experiences as a caregiver to his wife and how he was able to cope with the difficult diagnosis. He discusses how he looked to Judaism for help and why he chose his faith to find answers among the confusion and fear. He also talks about how his life transformed and the love, commitment, loss and resilience he faced throughout this profound period of his life.


00:00 Daniel’s early life and education

13:08 The power of authenticity and sharing personal experiences to make an impact

17:51 The amazing achievements of the Jewish community

21:07 Coping with news of a loved one being diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury

24:47 Losing yourself and your state of being

26:21 How did your life transform after the diagnosis?

30:27 The limitations of a caretaker

35:18 Calling on Judaism during times on confusion and uncertainty

42:26 What made you decide to look to Judaism?

46:15 Leaning on Judaism when dealing with death

49:29 The Young Leadership Award of The Brain Research Foundation

51:29 Gender bias and society’s reaction to a male caregiver

53:50 Where are you in your life now?

Connect with Daniel:

The Thin Ledge:


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Jews You Should Know introduces the broader community to interesting and inspiring Jewish men and women making a difference in our world. Some are already famous, some not yet so. But each is a Jew You Should Know.

The host, Rabbi Ari Koretzky, is Executive Director of MEOR Maryland (, a premier Jewish outreach and educational organization. MEOR operates nationally on twenty campuses and in Manhattan; visit the national website at