Mosaic in Motion
news from Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America
Dear members of the Mosaic community,
Greetings and happy December! Welcome to the latest issue of Mosaic in Motion, the newsletter for the Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America. We have lots of news to share with you about last fall's Jewish Outdoor Escape, as well as the upcoming year.
We have several very strong candidate camps for next year's Jewish Outdoor Escape -- in fact, we have possible/probable sites for the next few years! While we don't have a contract in place yet for the 2017 event, we are actively negotiating with a camp. We'd like to thank our camp selection committee, and especially long-time Mosaic member Marsha Zellner, who spearheaded the initial contact with the camp in question. This committee is an active combination of Mosaic veterans and people who are new to the organizational/camp selection process.
Speaking of new blood, Mosaic also has a new Board of Directors configuration to announce, including several members new to National Mosaic leadership. Look for a story in the next issue of Mosaic in Motion highlighting the new people that have agreed to bring their considerable energy, expertise and enthusiasm to lead Mosaic over the next year -- and beyond.
We've got a bit of catching up to do since the last September's Jewish Outdoor Escape, hence the belated news below. We're also starting a new feature -- a history of Mosaic in serial form, including new interviews with the founder and other long-time members. We'll be presenting this history over the next year or so, with the first chapter below.
We're looking forward to bringing you even more news from Mosaic in the coming weeks.
Mosaic Board of Directors
Another Celebration of Summer's End
At Jewish Outdoor Escape in Ottawa
By Robyn Israel
Member, Mosaic of Ontario
This year's Jewish Outdoor Escape took place during Labor Day weekend at beautiful Camp B'Nai Brith, located just outside Ottawa in Ontario, Canada. Billed as the Ottawa Odyssey, the five-day event brought 113 people from all over North America -- from nearby Toronto to as far away as California.
Event co-chairs Terry Auspitz and Brian Horowitz planned an incredible weekend. There were 27 different programs to choose from, ranging from white-water rafting to hiking, from cycling to zip-lining. Members of the Mosaic community got to experience the beauty of the Ottawa River Valley, the city of Ottawa, Gatineau Park (located across the border in the French-speaking province of Quebec) and a historical village in Quebec known as Quyon.
Camp B'Nai Brith Director Jonathan Pivnick oversaw fun camp activities like water skiing and swimming in the beautiful outdoor pool, which came complete with several climbing walls over deep water.
Weather was spectacular throughout the long weekend, with the sun shining as participants hiked Lusk Falls, walked around Pink Lake, and explored the site of the Mackenzie King estate (home to Canada's wartime prime minister). Other adventures included exploring Lusk Cave, Arbraska Laflèche Cave and zip-lining in the canyon of the Coulonge River. The most popular event was Locks and Lox, a walking tour of Ottawa -- with lunch.
Rafters got to experience Robin Schaeffer belting out Broadway show tunes on her raft, like "If I Were a Rich Man." And canoers on the Ottawa River debated the benefits of trying to race a car-filled ferry back to the shore (they decided it might not be the best idea).
Special events included a Friday night talk by David Brooks, who addressed the challenge of water use in Israel. Saturday night entertainment was provided by A Touch of Klez, who filled the rec hall with traditional European Jewish music. Our resident naturalist, Dave Liebman, led us on a night hike, in which he identified various trees, plants and flowers. Every night, people gathered around the campfire to sing songs, accompanied by guitarists Jerry Raines and Larry Warmflash.
On Sunday night, after the award ceremony and a meeting of the MOCA Council of Delegates, a
discussion ensued about next year's JOE event. As always, volunteers are needed to make the magic happen yet again. The location of the 27th JOE event still needs to be determined, with recommendations ranging from North Carolina to Michigan to Arizona. Wherever it is, the Mosaic nation looks forward to gathering again in 2017 for another Labor Day weekend filled with fun, friendship and camp spirit.
Mosaic Leaders Celebrated for Outstanding Work at Ottawa Event
|At the Jewish Outdoor Escape, it's traditional to thank volunteers and provide awards to some of Mosaic's MVPs. This year was no different -- here's a rundown of some of our community's most celebrated members.
The Murray Dronsky Memorial Award, given annually for outstanding contributions over a period of time
, was awarded (in absentia) to Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America (MOCA) President Marlisse Marcus. Marlisse
has spent many years in key roles for Mosaic, chairing two International Events and spending 7 years serving on the board in various capacities.
The Shoresh Award recognizes outstanding volunteerism during the past year. Winners this year include:
Special Awards --
This year, we decided to award a pair of very special, one time awards:
- Tamara Heitner has a level of energy that is contagious. Her work included volunteering, generating ideas for marketing, getting younger people involved and providing a vital role on the 2016 JOE camp selection committee.
- Norine Goodman, a former board member, was a key volunteer for the last several Jewish Outdoor Escapes. Her efforts this year included serving on the 2016 camp selection committee, the scouting trip and assisted with the 2016 pre-trip. There are very few committees for the past four JOE's that have not benefited from Norine's assistance.
- Francine Dick, the current board secretary, functioned as the evening activity chairperson for the 2016 Jewish Outdoor Escape, arranging for all of the evening workshops and activities and finding the weekend's Saturday night entertainment.
The Ottawa Odyssey Awards were given to Ottawa Odyssey Co-Chairs Brian Horowitz and Terry Auspitz. These award recognize the contributions, above and beyond, that Brian and Terry have made. After all of the work they did last year, chairing the Jewish Outdoor Escape in the Poconos, they stepped up to chair the second year in a row when we realized that we had no one to run this event. Their contributions to Mosaic, individually and together, could fill the pages of a short novel.
The Eytz Chaim Award was awarded (in absentia) to Rick Dronsky. This lifetime achievement award has been given only once before, to Brian Horowitz.
It is presented for outstanding contributions and service to the organization, which certainly defines Rick. A member of Mosaic for more than 20 years, Rick helped found Mosaic's parent organization, MOCA, as well as Mosaic Outdoor Club of South Florida. He has been organizing and leading trips and events for 20 years for both organizations. Rick first heard of Mosaic in 1993, when he was invited to attend a Labor Day Mosaic National Event in Georgia.
After retiring at an early age, Rick spends most of his time on philanthropy, primarily on behalf of Mosaic. Rick Dronsky was the Executive Director and Executive Vice President of MOCA, and served in that position since its inception in April, 1997 through April, 2002. Rick helped organize twelve Mosaic International Labor Day Events, and attended 17 in total. He led Mosaic trips to Costa Rica, on a Wild West Adventure, and ski, canoe and sailing trips. He also led several leadership retreats. In all, since 1993, he has lead over 440 trips and events on behalf of Mosaic.
Awards of Merit were given to:
- David Golberg, who planned and led the scouting trip as well as the Ottawa Pre-trip.
- Mena Shupak, who stepped in to chair the Food Committee at the last minute.
- Ellen Flax, our Religious Committee chair, who provided wonderful services on Friday night and Saturday, as well as a lovely Havdalah service.
The following volunteers were also honored for their contributions to this event
Norm Abrams, Scott Berman, David Brooks, Hillary Brown, Jo Anne Chisholm, Barb Cohen, Carol Dunitz, Lara Fine, Merrill Goldsmith, Dave Goodman, Yaacov Gothard, Robyn Israel, David Kaufman, Jeffrey Kay, Blake Kessler, Amy Kravitz, Evelyn Levine, Dave Liebman, Debra Miller, Ray Ockrant, Sonia Olchyk, Michael Oliverio, Fred Reiner, Robin Reiner, Elyse Rifkin, Elysa Savelle, Edward Schaefer, Barry Segal, Niles Seldon, Tania Shifrin, Louise Siegel, Paul Silver, Glenn Silverman, Sandy Spekman, Judee Spellman, Judi Spungen, Julie Sternberg, Mindy Tumarkin, Steve Umansky, Erin Wallans, Larry Warmflash, Gail Zalev and Tatyana Zelchenko.
A Short History of Mosaic
(Part One -- 1988 to 1990)
The history of Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America can be traced to one person: Steve Millmond, originally of Philadelphia, who formed the first chapter in Denver, Colorado in 1988.
Millmond, at the time, was a young radiologist who had recently earned the right to be called "doctor." He had just moved to Denver from Seattle, Wash., where he was active in cross-country skiing and biking. New to Denver, he was looking to meet Jews who could join him on outdoor adventures. He had also recently learned that Denver had the highest Jewish intermarriage rate in the country. What if he formed a club that could act as both social organization and surreptitious matchmaker?
"Jewish people went to Denver thinking they wouldn't meet any Jewish people, so they didn't even try," recalled Millmond, now a married father of four living in Rochester, N.Y. "They just wanted to find a nice hiking partner, because Jews don't do (the outdoors). Everyone had this misconception."
But there were Jews in Denver and they wanted to hike. Millmond's first organized event was in December of 1988, a cross-country-skiing trip to a place with 10 feet of fluffy snow on the ground. About 12 people showed up, some of them inexperienced at skiing. Falling in deep snow was a challenge -- it was hard to get up again, because when you put your arm out you'd sink in the powder. But people had fun, and they wanted more.
Millmond called the club the Mosaic Mountaineering League, a name he later softened to something that sounded less gonzo. He picked "Mosaic" because he heard, on the radio, the British Archbishop of Canterbury referring to the term "Mosaic law," as in Moses.
A few months later, an article about the group ran in a local Jewish newspaper. Accompanying the article was a photo of Millmond on top of a mountain, late-afternoon light streaming behind him. He was dressed as Moses, wearing a bathrobe with tallis, standing in front of a Mosaic and Israeli flags, and holding two football seat cushions made up as mock 10 Commandments. Membership surged.
(To be continued in next issue...)
Photos: The article that helped grow Mosaic and one of Mosaic's first newsletters. Supplied by Steve Millmond.