Mosaic in Motion
news from Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America
January 2016 Update from the President
Greetings from Mosaic. By now we're well into the New Year, although from the weather it seems that winter proper has just gotten started (after last year, this may seem a relief to some). As you will see below, a number of our chapters are continuing their activities through the winter, ignoring or embracing the cold as they see fit.
Here's a few things going on now:
2016 Jewish Outdoor Escape
For those of you who prefer warmer climes, you should know that work is continuing on the site of the next Jewish Outdoor Escape on Sept. 1 to 5, 2016. We are currently working on a contract with a wonderful camp, located in a beautiful part of the Northeast. While we can't announce the site yet, we can tell you it's in a location where Mosaic has not yet held an event -- a place where we have access to both world-class culture and a full weekend of outdoor activities. We hope to be able to announce the details in only a few more weeks.
Please email us if you are interested in helping in ANY capacity to plan our 2016 Jewish Outdoor Escape!
Future of Mosaic
As announced in the previous Newsletter, we have started a panel to work to ensure that there is a Mosaic Outdoor Club for our children and grandchildren. The panel met a few weeks ago and came up with some great, tangible and attainable goals. However, we need help to implement them. If the future of this wonderful organization is as close to your heart as it is to ours
, this is YOUR opportunity to get involved and make a difference! Email us at
-- we're looking forward to hearing from you.
Perhaps you have noticed that our website is in need of a face-lift and a little bit of updating. We are pleased to announce that Lanny Wexler and Mindy Tumarkin have stepped forward to help with this task; Brian Horowitz will assist them as needed and Andrew Weitzen will provide Tech support.
If you are a long time Mosaic member we need YOUR help! You may have noticed that our history on the website ends with the year 2000. Miriam Gross is working on updating our history from the year 2000 to present. Please email
if you would like to help fill in the gaps.
News from Mosaic Chapters
|Trip leader Glenn Weiner, left, and hikers Sam and Hanna below Bear Mountain.
Greater New York chapter has had a busy early winter. About 30 people showed up on Dec. 25, with temperatures warm enough for T-shirts, to walk the High Line - New York City's famous elevated former rail-line that is now a linear park. A week later, 11 folks went up to Bear Mountain State Park, about an hour north of the city on the Hudson River, for a moderate hike. Leaders from this chapter are working with Massachusetts chapter members to plan a warm-weather weekend excursion to
, off the coast of Connecticut, as well as possible joint springtime trips to
Old Sturbridge Village
. Stay tuned for more details.
In Mid-December, the
chapter hosted its 22nd annual Bethel Inn Winter Weekend near the Sunday River Ski Resort in Maine. There was little snow to be had on this warm weekend, but 12 attendees enjoyed sumptuous food, a heated outdoor pool and the quaint New England community of Bethel (or Beth El, as Mosaic attendees refer to it). A traditional Xmas Day movie and dinner attracted 23 people. And more recently, a "meditative hike" led by a local rabbi to a local scenic spot was, rather unseasonably, rained out. Organizers are contemplating a new date.
chapter has many winter events planned, including
|Mosaic Toronto chapter members at a New Year's Day skating event.
the annual Canoe Symposium, where attendees spend the weekend hearing about amazing paddling expeditions around the world; a popular annual Games Night; winter hikes and, on the weekend of
, the annual Winter Weekend, held in the woods several hours north of the city. Snow conditions permitting, the weekend is filled with cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, star-gazing, night hikes and social evenings at a rustic resort. There's room
as of this writing, and attendees from other chapters are welcome. The price is $190 Canadian for a shared room; much less with the favorable U.S. exchange. For more info, contact the
Mosaic of South Florida
members are keeping busy with weekly "wallyball" (indoor volleyball) meets every Thursday, while plans are underway for a camping trip Feb. 12 to 15 at
, a barrier island state park accessible only by boat. This weekend is already filled, but there's always next year - and members from other chapters are welcome, say organizers.
Interested in seeing your Mosaic events listed in a future email? Contact the editor.
Trains, Buses, Streetcars: a Life in Public Transport
A Mosaic Member Profile
|Jeffrey at Steamtown, Penn.
Member: Jeffrey Kay
Mosaic Chapter: Toronto, Ontario
Time in Mosaic: more than 15 years
Long before his bar mitzvah, Jeffrey Kay was riding the subways and streetcars of Toronto. By himself.
"I had a supply of transit tickets, and I could go for a ride to the end of the Subway line. I'd have a walk around and get back on the train and head home," he recalled.
"As long as I was back by dinnertime, my parents didn't mind," he said. "Other guys were out playing street hockey; I'd be riding the train. Never got into the hockey."
Jeffrey, now in his 50s and still a Toronto resident, continues to have a passion for riding the rails (and the buses). It is his profession -- he helps manage the budget of the Toronto Transit Commission. And it's a hobby that also ties into his regular attendance of the Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America's annual Jewish Outdoor Escape event in late summer.
A 15-year Mosaic veteran, Jeffrey has attended more than a dozen international Labor Day weekend events. He always manages to include in his trips a tour of whatever local public transport is nearby.
In Colorado, he rode the regular commuter bus from Boulder down to Denver, for a pre-arranged tour with another transit planner who showed off the light rail network. In Boston, home to the oldest subway system in North America, Jeffrey rode the trains to all the local tourist attractions. In Los Angeles, he became that rare tourist - relying on the light rail and subway trains instead of a car, even though the guidebook didn't recommend it (yes, there is a subway in L.A.) In New York City, he rode the elevated "M" train over the Williamsburg bridge through Brooklyn and on to its terminus in Queens because ... well, just because.
"Every city's a little different -- in history, in geography, in the layouts of the road," he said. "You can see how the systems have adapted to the needs of their local people."
|Selfie on the Brooklyn Bridge.
most recent event in the Poconos afforded him a chance to visit the nearby Steamtown National Historic Site, a unique urban park at a former railroad yard that includes dozens of steam and diesel locomotive engines, plus a separate museum for streetcars.
His dream trip is to visit Melbourne, Australia (although not likely through Mosaic) to see the world's biggest streetcar network. And closer, to home, he'd like to see Portland, Oregon, which is often used by urban planners as a model of how a city can seamlessly integrate private vehicles, public transport, bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
But no matter where the Jewish Outdoor Escape ends up in the next few years, he'll be there with his camera and guidebook - as well as enough spare change for bus or train fare.
"It's more enjoyable from my perspective," he said of public transport, which he continues to rely on today to get around in Toronto. "I can leave the driving to someone else, and watch the world go by."
Outdoor Tips: Staying Warm in the Cold
There's no reason to hang up your hiking boots just because there's a nip in the air. Winter is one of my favorite times of year to be in the outdoors -- snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or just plain hiking in the woods. I love the snow, the icicles, the low January sun that makes everything glow a frosty magic.
However, winter is not to be trifled with. Get out and play in the cold - but do so safely. Here are a few hiking tips for those who refuse to stay home when the mercury drops:
- Make a plan and stick with it. Many problems in the woods begin when a group separates and one team doesn't know what the other is doing. This can be avoided by discussing the trip in detail before departure, including the rules, such as the following:
- Stay together, or wait at ALL intersections. Many problems have occurred when a fast team takes a wrong turn, or fails to wait for stragglers at a confusing junction.
- Have a designated sweep at the back to ensure no one is left behind.
- Be sure to give the slow folks a chance to rest when they show up. If the group is constantly separating, perhaps the hike is too difficult and you should reassess your goal.
- Set a turn-around time, and don't break it. Don't be too ambitious, especially if you're going out with an inexperienced group.
- Bring the right clothing -- ideally, synthetics or wool -- and wear layers. I like thin long underwear under a mid-weight fleece, and a heavier fleece for when
it gets cold. Over that, a waterproof-breathable windbreaker, which I usually carry in the pack unless it's windy or precipitating. I carry multiple gloves and mittens of various thicknesses, and a hat or balaclava. On really cold days, a face mask or neck gaiter is helpful. I also like to bring a change of socks and chemical heating pads for toes. Note that an all-day hike in the middle of winter is not the time to test out new boots!
- Bring enough gear for safety. I always carry a headlamp, a thermos full of tea, a foam mat to sit on, and a down jacket, which lets me take a break without cooling down. Matches and firelight are a good idea. I also pack a lot of high-energy food as well -- the key to staying warm is to keep that inner fire burning. Helpful hint: Skittles candies turn into molar-breaking rocks when it's below freezing, as do most protein bars.
- Be conscious of your exertion. If you are sweating, stop and remove a layer. Try to avoid getting anything wet. If your toes have gone numb, don't shrug it off. Deal with any problems immediately to avoid cascading issues.
- If you have interest in leading regular trips in the winter, take a Wilderness First Aid course. These one- or two-day weekend classes are not only fun and inspiring, they can also save a life.
Editor Alan Wechsler is an avid winter enthusiast, who has recently completed his Winter 46 - climbing all 46 of New York's highest peaks in winter.
from Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America
"New Year of the Trees," falls on
Monday, Jan. 25th. Many contemporary Jews look upon Tu B'Shvat as a Jewish Earth Day, a day for contemplating our ecological heritage. Our heritage is rich with inspiration about protecting the earth and conserving natural resources.
As Mosaic members, and as lovers of the outdoors and nature, we are examples of Jewish outdoor enthusiasts to our wider community. Tu B'Shvat is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our basic Jewish teachings and think about how our actions might serve as models and inspiration for others.
May the sweetness of the fruits you eat to observe Tu B'Shvat reflect the sweet feeling we get from knowing that our actions can have a ripple effect far larger than we can
ever imagine! To learn more about Tu B'Shvat blessings and Seder, please visit our website and look under the Resources Tab.