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July 5, 2013

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PAGE 16A By Golda Shira Chicago Jewish News JERUSALEM--Israeli Pres- ident Shimon Peres confessed to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel that during Peres' first visit to the Windy City, he felt profoundjealousywhen he saw the outstanding beauty and size of Lake Michigan and Chicago's abundant water resources. Which is one of the reasons why the Land of Milk and Honey and the City by the Lake have joined forces to work to make fresh drinking water more plentiful and less expensive by the year 2020. In a ceremony at the Presi- dent's Residence in Jerusa- lem, Chicago Mayo" Rahm Emanuel and Israeli President Shimon Peres joined in the signing of an agreement between the University of Chicago and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev on a research initiative designed to apply the latest discoveries in nanotechnology to create new water production and purification technologies for deployment in areas of the world/where freshwater resources are scarce. The two schools will fund several research projects aimed at finding new materi- als and processes for making clean water. The goal of the projects is to develop more efficient ways of using water to produce energy and using en- By Rebecca Spence TOPANGA, Calif. (JTA)-- Few world musicians get to play with rock bands, but 15 years ago, Hani Naser chris- tened his new electric oud per- forming "Blister in the Sun" with The Violent Femmes. In May, when the 1980s folk-punk band reunited at the Bottlerock Music Festival in Napa Valley, Calif., Naser joined in again, strutting his stuff alongside Femmes front man Gordon Gano, this time playing the hand drums. A master percussionist and oud player, Naser has made music with the likes of Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt and Santana. But he's also used his talents to advance peace in the Middle East. Along with Israeli music legend David Broza, Naser has performed across Is- rael and, in 2011, at a unity concert a.t Sinai Temple in HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 5, 2013 I II I Chicago, Israel team up to clean water ergy to treat and deliver clean water. The Chicago group will include scientists from Argonne National Laboratory, which the university manages for the U.S. Department of Energy. The plan includes the establishment of a research center based in both Chicago and Beersheba where "the molecular aspects of water science and technology will result in a powerful new ap- proach for addressing the vari- ous and pervasive challenges to the global water supply," said University of Chicago president Robert J. Zimmer at the ceremony. "Clean, plentiful water is a strategic issue in the Middle East and the world at large, and a central research focus of our university for more than three decades," said Ben- Gurion University president Rivka Carmi. "We believe that this partnership will enhance state-of-the-art science in both universitie s , while hav- ing a profound effect on the sustainable availability of clean water to people around the globe." "Chicago's worldwide lead- ership in water management continues to grow, as we invest in our water-infrastructure, creating jobs for our residents and economic activity in our neighborhoods. I strongly support this partnership and I look forward to working with leading institutions like BGU and University of Chicago to create innovations and oppor- tunities for the future," said Emanuel. The mayor empha- sized that he's made water a key element in all of Chicago's Sister City programs. The Chicago-Israel effort began with the signing of a memorandum of understand- ing in Chicago in March to explore a research partnership that would innovate water production and purification technologies to meet a growing thirst for fi'esh water resources globally. Leading the efforts are Matthew Tirrell, the Pritzker director of University of Chi- cago' s Institute for Molecular Engineering, and Moshe Got- tieb, BGU's Frankel professor of chemical engineering. "Water is the most funda- mental molecule for sustain- ing all forms of life, but it is in dramatically short supply in many parts of the world," Tirrell said. "Water in all parts of the world faces numerous threats, which in turn en- danger human and economic health." The dangers include increased demand driven by energy production, agricul- tural runoff, depletion and contamination of aquifers by salt water and by industrial, organic and biological toxins. 'In this collaboration we intend to take advantage of the great strides achieved over the last decade in nanotechnology, materials science, biology and chemistry at both institutions, and the world-class facilities available at Argonne National Laboratory," said Gottlieb. "These new tools and insights afford a molecularlevel ap- proach to tackle an" age-old human plight." The Institute for Molecular Engineering will commit tens of millions of dollars to the molecular engineering of water resources over the next decade. BGU researchers will have a significant presence at Hyde Park to further facilitate the collaborations. Tirrell's and Gottlieb's teams met for two days in Israel in April to explore their mutual interests in water chemistry, materials science, flow in soils and other porous substances, microbiology and nanotechnology. A BGU con- tingent will pay a reciprocal visit to Chicago this autumn, following the final selection of their first collaborative projects, to participate in a workshop that will sharpen their research focus. Because there have been five meetings between the two universities so far and there will be many more in the future, the strong recom- mendation that El Al resume direct flights between Chicago and Israel met with the enthu- siastic approval of all. The first wave of research proposals include fabricating new materials tailored to re- move contaminants, bacteria, virus and salt from drink- ing water at a fraction of the cost of current technologies; biological engineering that will help plant maximize their own drought-resistance mechanisms; and polymers that can change the water retention properties of soil in agriculture. One proposed projectwould attempt to devise multi- functional and anti-fouling membranes for water puri- fication. These membranes, engineered at the molecular level, could be switched or tuned to remove a wide range of biological and chemical contaminants and prevent the formation of membrane- fouling bacterial films. Keep- ing those membranes free of fouling would extend their useful lives and decrease energy usage while reducing the operational cost of purify- ing water. The Israeli. government founded BGU with a mandate to spearhead the development of the Negev Desert. BGU has worked at the forefront of water-related research for more than four decades, having developed several in- novative technologies in the field. Work at the Zuckerberg. Institute for Water Research has helped make it possible for Israel to produce more than 60 percent of its fresh water Naser makes music for peace Los Angeles. The pair were even invited to perform for King Hussein and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to commemorate the signing of the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty, but Rabin was assassinated before the concert took place. In an email, Broza de- scribed Naser as "one who deeply wants to see peace in the world." "His playing is unique," Broza said. "It fuses Ara- bian rhythms and Western grooves." Naser's comfort in differ- ent cultures can be t-raced back to his birth in the mountain village of Er- mameen, Jordan. Naser is the son of a Christian fam- ily with roots in Nazareth whose ancestors are said to have converted from Juda- ism some 2,000 years ago. At 7 months old, the family moved to New York. He spent his childhood in suburban Westchester County and as a teenager would take the train into Manhattan, staying out all night to hear Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and the beatnik poets who were fixtures at the clubs and cafes of Green- wich Village in the 1960s. At the same time, Nas- er was exposed to Latin rhythm s at the city's Cuban and Flamenco clubs. At home, he heard the sounds of such Arabic music legends as Oum Kalthoum and Fairuz. "It was a melting pot of cultures," Naser said. "As a nusician, it was like cook- ing an amazing meal, with a little spice from here, a taste from there." When Naser, who prefers not to give his age, is not touring with The Violent Femmes or Broza, he's play- ing with his own Hani Naser Band, which he describes as needs by desalination. Emanuel said the new technologies created by the collaboration will help in his efforts to purify Chicago's water. The mayor has. made water conservation and restoration one of the key initiatives in his effort to overhaul Chicago's infrastructure. He plans to replace 900 miles of century- old water pipes, replace 670 miles of sewer pipes, rebuild 1,000 catch basins and pump- ing stations for water on Lake Michigan, and transform the Chicago River. The river has become sullied by its historic use for transportation and com- merce. The current admin- istration has already begun a major renovation transform- ing this vital resource into a haven for boating, sculling and other pleasure and rec- reational activities. While contrasting Chica- go's location on the shoreline of one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world, and Ben-Gurion University's in the Negev desert,,the mission of the two is the same, said Emanuel, :"understanding that fresh water is a com- modity, it's known as a scarce resource. You have to become a good steward of that com- modity. ' Golda Shira is the Israel and White House correspondent for the Chicago Jewish News. Rebecca Spence Hani Naser began playing the oud at 7 and still has the same nearly 70-year-old instrument. b a "world music jam band?' On a recent Tuesday morning, after rolling a joint and fixing a cup of fresh mint tea (served in a small glass cup, as is the Middle Eastern custom), Naser showed off one of his most prized instruments:- a hand drum covel:ed with the skin of a Nile perch and decorated with the Eng- lish words "Peace through Music" on one side and the Arabic words for "Arts and Ecstasy" on the other. "I never cared for politics because it led to one thing and one thing only--how to overpower the other side," Naser said. But with mu- sic, "there's a whole other mindset that kicks in. It's not about the politics or the military strategy, it's about what peolyle are feeling." Naser has no formal music training. At 7, he began playing the oud after his mother returned from Jordan holding the pear- shaped string instrument in her hand. He still has the nearly 70-year-old instru- ment, which he plays every morning on the patio of his Topanga Canyon home, a rustic, airy paradise perched high above Los Angeles. Naser credits his love of rhythm in part to listening to his grandfather, Abu Farham, recite poetry as he ground freshly roasted coffee beans with a wooden stick each morning. Naser was just a toddler at the time, but the sounds infused his spirit, and by the time he was in high school, he had started his own rock band. "I didn't know it was world music," he said of his ado- lescent venture. "But that's what it was." In the 1990s, while touring with guitarist David Lindley, Naser got a call from Seeds of Peace, the nonprofit orga- nization that brings together youth from war-torn regions for conflict resolution work ata summer camp in Maine. Naser jumped at the chance to work with the group and soon began playing benefit concerts. Since then, he's also performed benefit concerts for the joint Palestinian- Jewish village Neve Shalom/ Wahat al-Salam, or Oasis of Peace, co-founded by Broza's grandfather. And in 2004, Naser played a concert in support of land- mine survivors at the U.N. General Assembly. Asked whether he's frus- trated by the slow pace of peace in theMiddle East and the many lost opportuni- ties- since he was invited to play for Hussein and Rabin, Naser shook his head. "There was a possibility for peace," he said. "And when you know it's possible, you know it can happen again."