Monday, June 18, 2018
News Roundup

Young Clearwater rabbi hopes her music inspires spiritual journeys

CLEARWATER — Rabbi Danielle Upbin of Congregation Beth Shalom, looking every bit a star in her black pants and high boots, took to the stage and belted out the music she loves to an enthusiastic audience of some 200.

Upbin, 38, is both a rabbi and a professionally trained singer, and her recent performance was a coupling of her musical talent with her passion as a spiritual leader.

It was also the live debut of the music from her first CD, titled Reveal the Light.

The title reflects the rabbi's personal mission: to help others find the path to peace and harmony and a sense of oneness with each other and with God.

"We live in a dark and complicated world," said Upbin, wife of Rabbi David Weizman of Beth Shalom and the mother of four young children. "We (humans) are charged with uncovering the holy sparks that are in all living things."

A native of Manhattan, she also serves the Beth Shalom congregation as cantor and musical director.

Upbin said that with the nine simple prayers on the CD, she wants to "invite the listeners in" and move them along on their spiritual journey to uncovering the light.

"I wanted to use music I knew and loved," she said, "but that had universal appeal and accessible melodies."

The music, sung mostly in Hebrew, is translated on the CD jacket. The themes of peace and oneness with God are apparent in the English translations, with titles such as Let There Be Peace, The One Who Makes Peace, Only One Thing and Return Us to You.

For her debut of the CD, Upbin was joined by five local musicians from all faiths and backgrounds who also accompany her on the album: Charles Barry Skeete, a jazz musician and percussionist based in Largo; Skeete's wife, Catherine Costa, a vocalist who plays numerous instruments; Tim Burnaman, pianist and musical director at several local houses of worship; Blake Lenett, guitarist and musical assistant to Upbin at Beth Shalom; and Fred Johnson, well-known local jazz musician and songwriter.

Upbin credits Johnson with mentoring her in improvisational singing.

"Through him, I learned to trust myself and to let my own spirit guide me," she said.

Johnson praised Upbin for both her musical selections and her passion in conveying them. He spoke of her music as holding a light of faith and hope "that can serve as a catalyst for opening people's hearts."

In November, just prior to the album debut, Upbin performed selections from it as part of a music festival at the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater. The Rev. Abhi Janamanchi said his congregants loved the music.

"The energy that Danielle's music generated was both healing and joyous at the same time," he said. "She has an amazing presence that combines with the God-given gift of her voice."

He sees her talent reaching beyond the walls of her synagogue.

"She has the potential to embody something bigger," Janamanchi said.

Upbin hopes to perform at other venues throughout the Tampa Bay area. About 100 CDs sold following the debut performance, but they also can be purchased from her website, danielleupbin.com, which has links to all major online music purveyors, including iTunes, Amazon and CDBaby.

The young rabbi radiates enthusiasm for the project. "I've heard a lot of Jewish music," she said, "but in this album I feel I have a unique message of peace and connection among all religions."

Correspondent Elaine Markowitz can be contacted at [email protected]

Comments

Updated: 1 hour ago
Mazzaro’s market set to reopen Tuesday after blaze damaged one of its warehouses

Mazzaro’s market set to reopen Tuesday after blaze damaged one of its warehouses

ST. PETERSBURG — Mazzaro’s Italian Market is scheduled to reopen Tuesday after an electrical fire broke out its dry goods warehouse Friday night.Dominic Horwath, a grocery manager at Mazzaro’s on 22nd Avenue N said staff spent Monday and the weekend...
Updated: 1 hour ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, trying to stop a streaking champion

For starters: Rays at Astros, trying to stop a streaking champion

After winning Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep by the hot Yankees in New York, the Rays face arguably a tougher challenge tonight when they face a sizzling Astros team that just completed a 10-0 roadtrip and has won 11 straight overall.The Rays are ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Land O’ Lakes dance studio serves students and community

Land O’ Lakes dance studio serves students and community

LAND O’ LAKES — Lilly Jayska once cried and cowered at the notion of dancing on stage. Now, after four years of classes at Nicole’s Dance Center in Land O’ Lakes, the 10-year-old wants to dance solos. When asked to name her favorite type of dance, he...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

TAMPA — Iceland isn't what it used to be. Literally. The Nordic island country is shrinking, what with global warming. Iceland's glaciers are getting smaller. If you took all that ice and laid it end to end, well, you clearly have nothing bette...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Where’s the new VA clinic going? Not in the city of New Port Richey

Where’s the new VA clinic going? Not in the city of New Port Richey

NEW PORT RICHEY — The federal government’s search for a home for its new Veterans Administration community outpatient clinic is focusing on the Little Road corridor in west Pasco.Three locations in the running for the VA clinic are identified in the ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Will Gholston is painfully honest about a 2017 season that wasn't anything close to what he wanted it to be. Ask him about last year, and there are no parentheses in his world to soften what he remembers here."I just played (crappy), completely. That...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tampa man rescued from near drowning in waters off Whiskey Joe’s

Tampa man rescued from near drowning in waters off Whiskey Joe’s

A Tampa man was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries on Sunday after he was rescued from a near drowning off the shores of Whiskey Joe’s Tampa Bar & Grill, a popular hangout on the beach of the Courtney Campbell Causeway.When police officers a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Developer Grady Pridgen buys St. Pete’s shuttered Edward White Hospital

Developer Grady Pridgen buys St. Pete’s shuttered Edward White Hospital

ST. PETERSBURG — Edward White Hospital, closed four years ago because of declining revenues, has been sold to developer Grady Pridgen for $2.7 million.Pridgen could not be reached Monday for comment. City officials said he has submitted plans for rem...
Updated: 3 hours ago