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February 1, 2013

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PAGE 14A By Salvatore Caputo Jewish News of Greater Phoenix Sababa plays contempo- rary Jewish music, but it would be a mistake to think that'the band's music only touches young people, says Scott Leader, who co-founded the musical trio with Robbi Sherwin and Steve Brodsky. "We had this gig in Naples, Fla.," he says, "and there was nobody there under 75 years old." He admits he expected that a rock group and the older crowd wouldn't mix. "Instead, it wound up be- ing one of the best shows we ever did. They loved it--and everybody had a granddaugh- ter that they wanted me to meet, too." Leader, a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who has been the music director at Temple Gan Elohim in Phoenix for nearly a decade, is also a major light in Jewish rock--writing, performing and recording his own music, as well as producing record- ings for other artists. Sababa latest recording is called "Shalosh." That's the Hebrew word for three, and it seems that threes are wild right now for Sababa--whose three players who live in three time zones recently released their third album--hence the title. Sherwin and Brodsky have Jewish rock credentials just as strong as Ieader's. Sherwin, a cantor, hails from Austin, Texas, one of the capitals of American music, has sung on a host of albums HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 1, 2013 For Sababa, t]ae threes are wild Since radio play is negli- gible, it's the traveling and performing--mostly to do synagogue gigs--that builds their audience. "It's at the live perfor- mances that people hear about us," he says. "We'll be at a temple in some city and somebody who was at the show will come up afterward andsay, 'I'd love to have you come to our temple.'" In case you're wondering, Sababa's musicis not rock ala the Rolling Stones or Bruce Springsteen. The group's sound is driven by vocal harmonies. On the band's recordings, you're just as likely to find a vocal backed by a quiet piano or acoustic guitars and mandolin as you are to find full-on rock arrangements using such staples as electric guitars, saxophones and drums. The songs' styles range from reggae (check out their "Hinei Mah Tov" from "It's All Good") to calypso ("One Little, Two Little" from "Pray for the Peace") to harmony- drenched folk-rock ("Am Yis- rael Chai," the sprightly track that leads off "Shalosh"). "If you would have told 19-year-old Scott that I'd make a living playing Jew- ish music when I grew up, I wouldn't have believed you," Leader says. His vision of a music career was definitely in rock-star mode but there came a day when he realized, "I wasn't going to be the next Billy Joel." He'd been playing Jewish music since his teens and a light bulb turned on for him and has two solo albums to her credit: "Todah LaChem" ("Thanks, Y'alr') and "Aish HaKodesh" ("The Holy Fire"). Brodsky, who lives in Den- ver, was a founding member of the band Mah Tovu and is director of new media and special projects for URJ Books and Music, the Union for Reform Judaism's publish- ing house. "We got together in 2005 and it's been a great ride," Leader says of the group. "Individually, the three of us were heavily involved in Jewish music." They traveled in the same circles, doing performances at Jewish events such as CAJE (Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education) gather- ings and the Union for Reform Judaism biennials, and they all had a background in Jew- ish summer camps and as NFTY (National Federation of Temple Youth) song leaders. "We were going out of our way to perform with one another," Leader says. "So we decided one day: 'Why don't we get together and be a band?' ... "We all write and play instruments, and we really believed that vhen we came together we had a great synergy." That was borne out by what he calls "a killer first album" ("Pray for the Peace," 2007). "It did really well, and we started traveling all across the country." "It's All Good," the band's second album, was released in 2010, continuing Sababa's journey. SAVE THE DATE: FEB. 8 v" AT 7:30 P.M. Join Beth Schafer & the band to create Shabbat Joy, Intimate Spirituality and Complete Peace. ,-I00:lrl TI2V) Temple Shir Shalom's Shabbat Chavayah, Will be an immersive experience where you can get lost in the message, music and rhythm of our sacred liturgy. Friday, Feb. 8th, at UCUMC Main Sanctuary at 7:30 pm 1395 CampusView Court Oviedo, FL 32765 For additional information call (407) 366-3556 FIRST WE LISTEN... THEN WE DELIVER! LET MY 41 YEARS OF INSURANCE EXPERIENCE REVIEW YOUR COVERAGES AND DESIGN A PACKAGE THAT PROTECTS YOUR BUSINESS BY MEETING YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS! All Forms of Insurance Products for Business Retailers, Manufacturers, Contractors, Service Industries, Restaurants, Child Care, Physicians, Attorneys Call Today To Schedule An Appointment At Your Convenience Marshall L. Helbraun Representing The Sihle Insurance Group, Inc. An Independant Insurance Agency Phone: 1-800-432-6652 (407) 761-3521 (cell phone) at a Jewish music gig with Sam Glazer and Noah Budin. "I realized while I was on stage with these guys, 'I like being Jewish, why not do this Jewish music thing?'" That decision represented "a sort of practical approach," he says. "As an artist, what do I want from people? I want them to listen to music I created and have it mean something to them," Leader says. Unlike the audiences for secular music at a club, for instance, Jewish music audiences "inherently listen. They tell themselves, 'i want to hear what this guy has to say.' That began to speak to me." The whole point is to con- By Diana Atallah The Media Line nect with people who aren't reached by traditional Jewish services and music, he says. "The beauty of Jewish music is that everybody sort of connects to it in their own way." Salvatore Caputo is as- sistant managing editor of Jewish News of Greater Phoenix. Lost in politics deputy minister of the local and 4,000 in the Gaza Strip. RAMALLAH--While the political road map between Israel and the Palestinians may have failed to get off the ground, actually finding one's way on the network of poorly maintained roads in the Palestinian Author- ity is just as problematic, with even a GPS not always reliable. Munir Abdullah drove from his hometown of Beth- lehem aiming to tour Ramal- lah with his wife Abir, Out got lost and couldn't reach his destination. Abduilah, a 30-year-old computer engi- neer who works for a com- pany from Dubai and was on vacation, thought he had the road memorized. "It's been a while since I came to Ramallah and the roads have changed," he told The Media Line. Unable to find any road signs to Ramallah, he tried entering different towns to reach the city. "At one point my husband told me we were in down- town Ramallah, but I knew we were not," his wife Abir said. She added they were frustrated with wasting gas and time and in the end went home without seeing Ramallah. Getting lost on the roads in the Palestinian Authority is a common fate among Palestinians as not all roads have signs. "If you don't know where you're going, you won't embark on a trip. Even if you find your way to your destination, you might not find your way back," Najah Odeh, a government employee from Ramallah, told The" Media Line. She says she hates travelirg to Nablus by herself for fear of getting lost. "I was lost once in a neighboring village and eventually I paid a taxi driver to drive ahead of me and lead the way," she said. When Patestinians drive from one main West Bank city to another, they drive on Israeli-built roads bypassing Jewish communities on land Israel acquired in 1967. Most of these roads are in an area known as Area C, under full Israeli control. While these roads have specific signposts offering directions to Israeli towns in the West Bank, the Pal- estinian Authority couldn't install road signs on the roads leading to Palestinian areas. In the case of Birzeit, for example, you can find a sign for the Halamish com- munity on Route 60 but not Birzeit. "Most of he roads be- tween cities are in Area C and we can't work there. We started a project to put signs on the roads butwe couldn't install them in Area C and were faced with Israeli re- strictions," Mazin Ghneim, Governance Ministry, told the Media Line. He added that the signs were erected in some cities where Israeli approval isn't needed, such as the road between Ramal- lah and Birzeit, but funding for the project was stopped. The situation is so bad that it has led to a joke about the "Palestinian GPS:" asking for directions from pedestrians, who use mosques, roundabouts and shops to help direct motor- ists. An amateur YouTube video mocks the Arab GPS as directing people to avoid potholes and speed bumps, referring to poor Arab in- However, this system isn't trusted by many. Issa Zboun, the director of the Geo-Information De- partment at the Applied Research Institute--Jeru- salem Society (ARIJ) which promotes Palestinian devel- opment and self-reliance, told The Media Line that ARIJ found these maps as acceptable raw material but in need of more work to be useable. "We tested it and it was imprecise in some cases," he told The Media Line. Researchers say that some trusted Israeli maps are used by some Pales- frastructure Palestinians still don't trust the navigation sys- tems, which are problematic to use on Palestinian Au- thority roads. While Israeli GPS devices have some data on the West Bank, they can't be used by Palestinians because the latter are not allowed to drive on some of the roads the Israeli GPS's suggest. Some Israeli GPS's have the West Bank maps and tracking systems but they are not very precise. "When I entered the streets of Beth- lehem, my GPS warned me that I was driving through a wrongroad, and directed me to the closest check- point to exit the Palestinian territories," Peter Ray, an American tourist, told The Media Line. Instead he stays on the phone with friends to direct the way. With no other option, Palestinian companies have begun turning out their own GPS devices that ease finding your way from one town or village to another. Anas Maraqa, 24, is the CEO of the two-year-old GPS Pal- estine company in Hebron that sells Palestinian GPS devices and map software. But they sold only just over 200 devices so far, leading them to offer advertising and public relations services as a sidel'ine. The GPS costs $100 as does the software which is supposed to be activated regularly. However, the maps were only updated once, in 2012, and only show roads Palestinians holding West Bank or Gaza identify cards can use. "Foreigners and Israeli, for example, can drive from Hebron to Ramal- lah via Jerusalem, but Pal- estinians have to travel on difficult and Usually longer roads. Our system doesn't- cover that," Maraqa added. American funding helped a group of 100 Palestinian engineers create the first Palestinian road maps in 2010. After one year of map- ping, the full maps were made available for free on- line. The system has 15,000 locations on the West Bank tinian companies bu_the data is not shared with the Palestinians. If the Israeli data were made available to Palestinians, Palestinian companies could use these maps, edit them and make them more precise, and in this way they would help develop the sector. As data collection re- quires time, energy and funds, a comprehensive mapping project would al- low the navigation industry to thrive in the West Bank. However, there are secu- rity concerns. Zboun told The Media Line that ARIJ tried to import an Indian car-tracking system and prepared a full mapping of the West Bank, but the de- vices are still stuck in Israeli ports for security clearance. Not all West Bank streets are named or numbered which makes navigation that much harder. "Some issues are more urgent than naming "the streets. If the mun!cipality doesn't have enough streets, nam- ing becomes a secondary problem," Ghneim told The Media Line. Some cities like Ramallah have named and labeled most of the internal streets but a comprehen- sive overall numbering and naming system is still lacking. But beyond just being a matter of finding one's way, the road signs problems have a crucial political dimension for the Palestin- ians. "For example, we can't acknowledge that the road from Bethlehem to Ramal- lah or Nablus is from Wadi El Nar, because the historic way for Palestinians was through Jerusalem," Gh- neim added. Wadi El Nar is a long, hilly and dangerous road that de- tours around Jerusalem, and is the only route Palestinians can use to travel from the southern West Bank to the north. Palestinians don't acknowledge this because historically and politically the route passed from Jerusalem. Installing signs on such de- tours means the Palestinians would be officially acknowl- edging them as main roads.