marlieGreetings from Mosaic President
Dear Mosaic members,

My second term as president is well under way, and I'm super excited to work with both our new and returning board members. We have an amazing and very international board this year -- four Canadians and five Americans (representing both east and west coasts). You can read all about them later in this issue.

This Board faces some unique challenges -- if nothing else, different time zones -- but also some fantastic opportunities to lead the future of the Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America (MOCA).

Our board has already been hard at work. We are very close to signing a contract with a fantastic camp for our 2017 Jewish Outdoor Escape (JOE) and will make an announcement shortly. This event will once again take place over Labor Day weekend, 2017 -- Thursday, Aug. 31 thru Monday, Sept. 4. While we can't announce a place until a contract is signed, here's some teasers:
  • It is a beautiful Jewish Camp in a part of the United States never before visited by a MOCA event.
  • Many of us have never been to this area and have always wanted to.
  • We will have a post-trip and most likely a pre-trip in some new and unusual places.
  • A national park that is one of the 7 Wonders of the Natural World will likely be part of the adventure.
In other news, the board has also started the practice of having a short brainstorming session at each meeting to plan for the future of Mosaic. Please let me or any of the board members know if you have any issues, ideas, suggestions that you would like to see discussed during these sessions. As you know, it takes a village -- and we welcome the input of every Mosaic member.

Another exciting development we want to share with you is that you could raise money for Mosaic, simply by volunteering for Mosaic. Thanks to member Mike Resnick, we found out that
Microsoft offers grants to non-profit organizations (up to $25 per hour) when Microsoft employees volunteer. Mosaic is now registered with this program. Do you work for Microsoft? Can you check with your employer to see if they offer this benefit? If you have any questions please contact me. Let's raise some much-needed funds. These funds could add money to the Scholarship Fund, or help pay expenses for the scouting trip, help new clubs get off the ground, or pay for additional marketing to increase our visibility.

Speaking of marketing ... we are forming a Marketing Committee and are looking for one or two folks to help with this crucial task. Brian Horowitz has already made a valiant effort to raise local awareness of Mosaic at the potential 2017 JOE location. He would now like to turn this over to someone else. He is willing to work with and mentor whoever will step up in this position. So, do not be shy -- step right up!

We're looking forward to bringing you even more news from Mosaic in the coming weeks.

Happy Chanukkah and Happy New Year,

Marlisse Marcus, president
Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America 

winterWinter Fun With Mosaic
Do you hate winter? If so, it may be because you've never been to the Mosaic Club of Ontario's Winter Weekend Retreat!

Join your Canadian Mosaic friends for three days of pure winter bliss from Friday, Feb. 3 to Sunday, Feb. 5.

You can snowshoe, cross country ski, night-hike, skate or just hang out. You definitely don't want to miss the famous broom-ball in the snow. Participants will also celebrate Shabbat, of course, and relax with games, yoga and Saturday night movies.

It all takes place at Pioneer Camp, which is located in woodsy Muskoka, about 2 hours north of Toronto. If you're coming from out of town, volunteers can arrange accommodation in Toronto at someone's home and also an airport pick-up and ride to the event.

The cost runs from $215 to $275 Canadian, depending on whether participants want a single space or roommates. Remember: prices are in Canadian dollars, so Americans get about a 30 percent discount due to the exchange rate.

Skiing and snowshoe equipment will be provided at no charge. Bedding is not included -- bring sheets/blankets or a sleeping bag, plus a pillowcase and towel (pillows and a basic mattress will be provided). Expect rustic camp conditions, similar to Mosaic's JOE events but with heated space.

For info, contact organizer Lorne Severs.

Looking for other winter events closer to home? Here's a few options:

If you're in Atlanta on the weekend of Jan. 13-15, chapter members are attending an Acoustic Shabbat Cafe on Friday, Jan. 13, followed by a morning walk and brunch on Sunday. Contact the chapter for details.

The Greater New York chapter is attending a winter dance event at the synagogue Ansche Chesed on the Upper West Side. The date is Saturday, Feb. 25. Contact the club for more info. 
mensch 25 Years as a Mosaic Mensch
(a Mosaic member profile)
Member: Marsha Zellner
Location: New Haven, Conn. area
Accomplishments: Labor Day weekend chair (multiple times), co-founder of Mosaic of Connecticut (now closed), former MOCA board member, unflappable registrar.  

If you have attended any of Mosaic's Jewish Outdoor Escape weekends, most likely your first introduction to the event was Marsha Zellner.

Marsha shows off her canoe skills after the 2002 Mosaic international event in Ontario.
For more than 25 years, Marsha has been handling on-site registration, among other duties, for the Labor Day weekends. Regardless of what's going on -- long lines, agitated new arrivals, first-time attendees stressed out from the journey -- Marsha is unflappable. You just can't faze her.

"I work in an E.R.," said Marsha, an emergency room physician at two hospitals in New Haven, Conn. "You have people screaming in your face. I'm used to dealing with that."

While Marsha may credit her medical background for helping keep her cool, she says it was her experience growing up in Hudson, New York that helped drive her lifelong affection for Mosaic. To her, Mosaic did nothing less than change the way she felt about herself.

"As someone who always felt like a social outcast, who didn't belong anywhere, this group made me feel like I was a part of something," she said.

As a child, Marsha often felt isolated. She grew up in a Jewish home in a rural community where Jews were rare; Jews who kept kosher and faithfully observed the holidays even more so. She also loved the outdoors, at a time when being an
Moab, Utah Mosaic trip
outdoorsy girl wasn't cool. And she was overweight.

Over the years growing up, she attended a Girl Scouts camp in the Adirondacks. One year, she took a 10-day canoe trip through the heart of the mountains. She credits this experience with teaching her all her outdoor skills. "I can still light a fire with one match," she said.

After attending college in Boston, she moved to New Haven to practice emergency medicine. In 1994, she attended her first Mosaic event in North Carolina. There, she was amazed how quickly and thoroughly she was embraced by the group. "They made me feel like I was part of everything, as if I was already in the 'in' group," she said.

At the time, Mosaic founder Steve Millmond was living in Connecticut, so she and Steve founded a chapter there. It only lasted a few years, but Marsha still continues her Mosaic membership to this day.

In 1995, she first volunteered to run the registration table at the annual event, which she loved because it helped her meet new people. A year later, she signed on to chair the  event, which was taking place not far from her home in New York's Hudson Valley.

"I did everything," she said. "I didn't even own a computer. Everything was by hand. I had lists and lists and lists. I was treasurer, secretary, event planner and coordinator. But it was pretty cool -- I had a lot of fun preparing for the trip."

Marsha also chaired the Maine event in 2000 and the West Virginia event in 2001. While she's scaled back her involvement since then, she continues to run the on-site registration table almost annually, and co-chaired the Quebec event in 2010. She also led 18 participants on a visit to Yellowstone National Park in 2008.

Marsha continues to enjoy the outdoors near her two-acre property, where she shares a house with two Burnese mountain dogs (massive, St. Bernard-like dogs that she describes as "big love-bugs") and a cat. When not hiking, she collects antique dolls (she has more than 2,000), quilts (her work has won ribbons at New England's annual Big E fair), and grows vegetables in a large backyard garden.

She missed the 2016 Mosaic event in Ottawa, due to impending knee surgery. But she'll likely be back next year, doing her old job with a new knee.

"I like doing the registration," she said. "Now I have tons of old friends to meet and greet, and now I can meet and greet new ones."

newmembersNew Members Join MOCA Board 
This September, the MOCA Board of Directors saw the creation of a new board position, director of volunteer engagement, and election of three other new members. Here are the new members:
Robin Lee Reiner, director of volunteer engagement -- Robin, vice president of the Massachusetts Chapter, attended her first international event in Ottawa last summer. After having a great time, she decided to get more involved with the international group. Through this newly-created position, Robin hopes to grow the Mosaic volunteer community to help plan, organize and run events locally and at the Jewish Outdoor Escape. As a biologist and former environmental educator, combining her love of the outdoors with Judaism is a natural fit. She taught a number of Teva ("nature") workshops at her local synagogue -- she likes to explain how Noah was the first to establish the Endangered Species Act! She enjoys kayaking, hiking, sailing, and snorkeling.
Raymond Ockrant, member-at-large -- Raymond has been a member of Mosaic of Ontario since 2011 -- after attending a Mosaic canoe trip, he was hooked. He joined the club's board of directors in 2013, and is very excited to contribute to making Mosaic a vibrant Jewish outdoor organization that inspires people of all ages and generations for many years to come.

Scott Berman, member-at-large -- Scott, originally from Michigan, now lives in Los Angeles, Calif. He first joined Mosaic of Greater Los Angeles about 10 years ago when he went on an outing that explored one of the local botanical gardens. Since then, he has led many hikes in the area, mostly hiking the streets of L.A. and Beverly Hills to seek out the local delis. Colorado, 2012 was his first Mosaic international event, and he has attended nearly all  since.
Tamara Heitner, member-at-large -- Tamara first joined Mosaic of South Florida in 2001 while living in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area. When she moved to Toronto, joining the Ontario club seemed like the natural thing to do. She quickly got involved and served on the local board in 2003 and 2004. Now living in Vancouver, Tamara was integral in organizing the 2016 Jewish Outdoor Escape. Tamara is also involved with local organizations and outdoor activities. Favorites include sailing and kayaking, but you will also catch her on her bike or enjoying a short hike from time to time.
These new members are in addition to five returning members:
  • Marlisse Marcus, president, a Los Angeles chapter member. She has served on the international board since 2009, and co-chaired two international events. She is serving her second two-year term as president. Marlisse runs her own chocolate  business.
  • Mindy Tumarkin, vice-president, a member of the Northeast Ohio chapter. She joined Mosaic in 2001 and is in her sixth year on the MOCA board. She works for a local manufacturer in the IT field.
  • Hillary Brown, treasurer. A Chicago resident, she has been coming to the JOE since 2003 and joined the board as a member-at-large in 2012. She is a paralegal and is active in local theater.
  • Francine Dick, Secretary. Francine has been a member of the Ontario chapter for more than a decade. She is a strong community activist and in 2013 was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her service.
  • Norine Goodman, member-at-large, has been a member of the Ontario chapter since 2013. She is returning to the MOCA board, after taking a year off.
Ahistory Short History of Mosaic:
 part two -- Mosaic Moves East
Mosaic's first official logo

Last month, we unveiled a new continuing feature -- The History of Mosaic (if you missed the first chapter, contact the author). Last time, we read how founder Steve Millmond, a young radiologist, moved from Seattle to Denver. It was the late 1980s, and he was looking to create a community of outdoor-orientated Jews for socializing, adventuring and dating. His club was a huge success. But the East Coast beckoned...

After a year in Colorado, Millmond moved to Baltimore. He left the Denver club in the hands of a local board of directors, and then quickly founded a Mosaic chapter in Maryland. Two years later, he moved home to Philadelphia and started yet another group. By now he was using the term "Mosaic Outdoor Club."

He was a veritable Jewish Johnny Appleseed, creating a Jewish outdoors community wherever he went. And after he left, the groups continued to operate.

Also by now, membership was exploding. This was largely due to a 1990 ad in a magazine printed by the Appalachian Mountain Club, an outdoor group with large memberships in all the major East Coast cities.

"The ad said something like, 'We're looking for a few good mashuganas," Millmond recalled. "We got people writing in from all over AMC's readership."

In little time, new groups started in Atlanta, Boston, New York City, Connecticut and South Florida. Millmond's mission was working. He recalled how a Boston Mosaic Club member -- a woman who previously hadn't even bothered to date Jewish men -- wound up meeting and marrying a Jewish man through the club.

Mosaic clubs also began to recognize a "higher purpose" besides just getting together to have fun. Clubs organized trail cleanups and other environmental efforts. Environmental education, Judaic tradition and leadership training were introduced. Mosaic rapidly became a vast grassroots organization with values to offer society and the Jewish community, embracing the meaning of tikkun olam ("repairing the world") .

As Mosaic chapters blossomed, another idea started to form -- holding a national event of some sort to bring members of all these far-flung chapters together.

(to be continued...)

Press coverage of Mosaic's first event in Colorado.

Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America brings Jewish outdoor enthusiasts together  to enjoy, celebrate, and explore the great outdoors. Mosaic Outdoor Clubs are located in 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. Join a club near you or start one and get outside.
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