Mosaic in Motion
news from Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America

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eventActive in Ottawa: Jewish Outdoor Escape Daytime Events Highlighted 
Cave discovery tours. White-water rafting. Biking and swimming along a local rail trail. A thousand-foot ascent along a waterfall. A paddle-boat tour through a beaver marsh. Bicycling and swimming.

These are some of the unique daytime activities   planned for this September's Jewish Outdoor Escape in Ottawa, Ontario, scheduled for Sept. 1 to 5 (Labor Day weekend).

Thanks to the hard work of our Mosaic friends in Toronto, plus some others who came to help scout the area last month, we now have a growing list of impressive daytime activities taking place at the event. The Thursday-to-Monday event, which we're calling "Ottawa Odyssey," will be based at Camp B'Nai Brith, located just outside Ottawa on the shore of the Ottawa river.

Some of the options include:
  • Class III to IV whitewater paddling on the Ottawa river.
  • Hiking to the unique Pink Lake in Gatineau Park - a rare meromictic lake, where the water at the top does not mix with the water at the bottom.
  • A guided hike on Gatineau Park's Waterfall Trail with a local ranger.
  • A 290-metre/950-Foot ascent up to the top of Luskville Falls.
  • Several caving trips of one to two hours, where cavers will don helmets and lamps and explore unlit caverns by crawling through narrow passages.
  • The Eco-Odyssee, in which participants ride paddle boats through a beaver bog. 
  • Biking and swimming along the Ottawa river.
  • Walking or biking along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, with a stop at the world-famous Byward Market for bagels and lox.
  • Canoeing and kayaking in Wakefield
We've set up a Flikr site with dozens of photos of the camp and the various hikes and other activities. Feel free to take a look.  

The Camp
The above activities are in addition to activities taking place in the camp itself. Located about a half-hour from Ottawa, Camp B'Nai Brith is built on forested land along the shore of the Ottawa River. Amenities include a regulation-sized ball hockey rink; large, sandy beaches with canoes and a full range of water activities; an indoor gym; a miniature golf course; and a host of other sports.


Mosaic is also planning a pre-trip event from Tuesday, Aug. 30 to Thursday, Sept. 1. Participants will explore some of the area's world-class museums and historical sites, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Parliament building, and enjoy Ottawa's unique dining, entertainment and shopping opportunities. We will stay at a hotel in downtown Ottawa. Pre-trip specifics will be announced soon.


We continually hear from Mosaic members eager to volunteer as trip leaders or with myriad other activities, such as planning or registration. This is a huge event to put together, and we appreciate all your efforts. If you have offered to volunteer, THANK YOU! We will be reaching out to all volunteers soon to provide more details on how you can help make this event spectacular. For more info on volunteering, contact

Airport Arrival/Departure

The airport is about one hour from camp. Please plan to arrive by 2 p.m. on Thursday, September 1 if you wish to take the Mosaic Shuttle leaving the airport at 3 p.m. This will allow enough time to walk through the terminals and get your bags. Please plan for departing after 2 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 5 if you are flying home.

"Ottawa Odyssey" Prices Announced 
Registration Expected to Open in Next Two Weeks  
Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America has determined the pricing for this year's Jewish Outdoor Escape event to be held in Ottawa. Final touches are being made to the event website, and registration is expected to launch within the next couple of weeks.
Below are the expected prices for the event. Prices are in U.S. dollars. Scholarships will continue to be available for attendees who are experiencing financial hardships -- the application will be available on the event website.

Specific dates will be announced when registration opens, but the table  below will give members a general idea of the schedule. We'll be announcing registration in a separate email when it opens later this month. The price for the three-day pre-trip has not yet been determined, but it will be similar to the cost of pre-trips in previous years. 

 Early Bird
 $425 Member / $475 Non-Member
Date TBD
 $450 Member / $500 Non-Member
Late June to late July 
 $475 Member / $525 Non-Member
Late July to mid-August 
$550 Member / $600 Non-Member 
Mid- to late August
bermanRolling through the outdoors
A Mosaic Member Profile

Member: Scott Berman
Club: Los Angeles             
Scott Berman's road to outdoor freedom began with a single wheel.

It's called the Free Wheel. It's a 12-inch wheel that clips into the front of his wheelchair. The Free Wheel raises the tiny, wobbly front wheels of his chair off the ground, allowing him to roll more easily over gravel, small roots, sand and other obstructions. The Free Wheel allows Scott to get out in the woods.

"I've been in a wheelchair for 20-something years," said Scott. "For a long time I didn't go on unpaved paths. I'd go hiking around where there's sidewalks and bike paths. This allows me to go on any paths that are wide enough for the chair to fit down. If they are reasonably smooth, I can go on them."

Scott, 49, discovered the Los Angeles chapter of the Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America more than 10 years ago through a hiking friend. He had always been interested in the outdoors, and the club seemed like a great opportunity to meet fellow Jews who also liked the outdoors.

His first Jewish Outdoor Escape event was in Colorado in 2012. He was a bit concerned about the event - would he be able to access all the buildings in his wheelchair, and would he be able to find activities to take part in?

Turns out there was nothing to worry about. He's been back to three international events since, and plans to attend Ottawa this September.

"I always find something," he said. "Every day I come up with one or two activities."

Born with spina bifida, which affects the spinal cord, Scott always had trouble walking. His legs got weaker in his teens, and he has been confined to a wheelchair since age 25. 
"With the wheelchair I can go further than I ever could when I was walking," he said. "I can push a wheelchair eight, nine miles."      

Born in Detroit, he studied electrical engineering in college and now helps build prototype electric vehicle cars and charging stations. He's even in the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car," albeit briefly -- you can see his hat floating in the crowd in a scene where California residents are protesting the cars being taken away.
He currently lives in Los Angeles, a city that is quite accessible to those in wheelchairs. There are lots of parks and botanical gardens he can explore. He lives near Beverly Hills, and likes to travel the streets around his neighborhood as well. When the Jewish Outdoor Escape came to the Poconos last year, he took an extra day to roll through New York City - he wound up traveling from Harlem's 125th street all the way down to the Battery at the island's southern tip, a distance of several miles.

"I tend to fly -- I go really fast when I'm on my own," he said. "It was entertaining weaving in and out of crowded sidewalks, scaring the hell out of people with an out-of-control wheelchair."
In the past, he's traveled Tokyo in a similar manner, and even was lifted upstairs by a team of subway workers when the station's lift wasn't working. "That's something I can't imagine happening in New York City," he said.

chaptersAround the Country, Mosaic  
Chapters Keeping Members Busy

As we move into summer, Mosaic chapters all over the country are preparing events to appeal to all members. Here's just a sampling of activities planned at a chapter near you. Members are always welcome to join trips from other chapters, so if you see a trip that sounds interesting, don't be shy to reach out.
  • The Mosaic of Ontario  is quite active this summer. Apart from playing a major role in helping to scout and organize this year's Jewish Outdoor Escape in Ottawa, they have activities planned for most of the weekends in the summer. Trips include advanced hikes at the cliffs and ravines of Hockley Valley and the Seaton Trail, an easy hike in Canada's newest (and only) urban National Park, known as Rouge Valley, a curated art walk followed by ice cream and coffee and an annual picnic. There's also a July trip to world-famous Algonquin Provincial Park to practice canoeing techniques, and a four-day August canoe trip to Hambone Lake.
  • Mosaic of Greater New York has a number of day trips planned for June and July. Included in their activities is a trip to a free Shakespeare play in Central Park, a day of trail maintenance on the section of the Appalachian Trail where it goes through Harriman State Park in the Hudson Valley, a club trip to the Jewish Museum on the upper East Side and taking part in a March for a Clean Energy Revolution. More events are being planned for later in the summer, so check their site later this summer for more.
  • Mosaic of South Florida is offering a full plate-load of tropical activities, including weekly volleyball, a lighthouse tour with snorkeling, a kite-flying and beach day, a visit to the rapids water park, a nature walk on Deerfield Island and a day of snorkeling in the Florida Keys.
  • Mosaic of Maryland and Friends is taking part in an upcoming speed mixer, and has been busy with such activities as a gallery opening at a local winery, a three-mile walk in Germantown and, earlier this spring, a trip to see the cherry blossoms. Stay tuned for more summer events to be announced.
  • Mosaic of Massachusetts is planning a kayaking trip on the Charles River in mid-June, and held several activities in the past month -- a hike to Buck Hill, a walk to see the tulips in Boston and a walk around Jamaica Pond. More events are expected as summer progresses.
  • Mosaic of Northeast Ohio has several hikes planned for June, including a trip to Indian Point Park, followed by lunch at a local restaurant, and a picnic and paddle event at Hinkley Lake.



ShavuotHave a Joyous and Festive Shavuot

Shavuot is a two-day holiday, beginning at sundown on the 5th of Sivan and lasting until nightfall of the 7th of Sivan this year -- or June 11 through June 13. In Israel it is a one-day holiday, ending at nightfall of the 6th of Sivan.

Every year on the holiday of Shavuot we renew our acceptance of the Torah, given to the Jewish people through Moses on Mount Sinai more than 3,300 years ago.The giving of the Torah was a far-reaching spiritual event that touches the essence of the Jewish soul for all times. Our sages have compared it to a wedding between G-d and the Jewish people.

Shavuot also means "oaths," for on this day G-d swore eternal devotion to us, and we in turn pledged everlasting loyalty to Him.

On Shavuot it is customary to decorate homes with greens and fresh flowers as a reminder of the spring harvest and the ancient ritual of bringing the first fruits to the Temple. Many Jews prepare and eat dairy foods -- often cheesecake or blintzes -- on Shavuot as a reminder of the sweetness of Torah. Often families gather together on the holiday to enjoy a meal that features such dishes.



Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America

Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America brings Jewish outdoor enthusiasts together to enjoy, celebrate, and explore the great outdoors. With chapters located throughout the United States, Canada and Israel, our international non-profit, all-volunteer-run organization promotes appreciation of the outdoors, nature, outdoor skills and conservation ... while helping to build Jewish community and continuity.