Mosaic in Motion
news from Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America


One of the last actions of the Jewish Outdoor Escape in September was for club delegates to elect members for the next year's Board of Directors. Included in the new positions were vice president, treasurer, secretary and four member-at-large positions.
The following new members were elected:

Francine Dick, secretary. Francine has been a member of the Toronto, Ontario  chapter  for more than a decade. She frequently leads hikes for the chapter, and her "Toronto Island Beach Day" is a perennial and popular event. Her first international event was Finger Lakes in 2014. Her goals for Mosaic include growing the membership and having stronger local chapters.
Sharon Goldman, member-at-large. Sharon, located in the Boston, Mass. area, has been involved with Mosaic since 2001. The Poconos event was her   fo urth international event. She enjoys a range of year-round outdoor activities, including biking, swimming, hiking, and snowshoeing.  

I n addition, five incumbents were elected to the same or new positions: 
  • Mindy Tumarkin, vice-president. Mindy, of Northeast Ohio, also joined Mosaic in 2001 and has been active since. She has served on her local chapter as president and vice-president. For the MOCA board, she served as secretary for three years before becoming vice-president in 2013. In her non-Mosaic life, she works in information technology for a major manufacturing company and looks after her elderly mother, her cat and two dogs.
  • Hillary Brown, treasurer. She lives in Chicago and first became interested in the outdoors thanks to growing up near a forest preserve and the Chicago Botanic Gardens. She has been attending the Jewish Outdoor Escape since 2003 and joined the board as a member-at-large in 2012. Along with participating in Mosaic both locally and nationally, she works as a paralegal and performs and works behind the scenes with the Savoyaires, a community theater group that specializes in Gilbert & Sullivan.
  • Terry Auspitz, member-at-large and volunteer coordinator. Terry first joined Mosaic in 2006, and was impressed enough to join the board a year later. A former Mosaic board president, he co-chaired the 2015 Jewish Outdoor Escape event in the Poconos. He is currently taking on a new position for Mosaic: "volunteer coordinator," to work with members old and new to help grow the organization. A Philadelphia native, he now lives near Lancaster, Penn. and works in information technology.
  • Miriam Gross, member-at-large. Miriam, a former Boston denizen now living in Rochester, N.Y. will continue her position as member-at-large. She is well-known in the Mosaic community, having attended many international events over the years, and is looking forward to giving back to the organization.
  • Robyn Israel, member-at-large. Robyn first heard about Mosaic from a book called Gonzo Judaism, which explored ways for Jews to reconnect with their faith. Her first event was the Finger Lakes event in 2014, and she's been hooked since. She's a journalist and playwright, and runs a counseling practice in London, Ontario. This is her second year on the board.
Finally, Marlisse Marcus will continue her multi-year position as President of Mosaic. She has been a member of the Los Angeles, Calif. chapter for many years, and has co-chaired several international events.
"As m y second year as president starts, I'm super excited to work with both our new and ret urning board members during this pivotal year for Mosaic -- our 25th year together as an organization!" Marlisse said. " As we continue our search for a site for next year's Jewish Outdoor Escape, we are also devoting increased energy to ensuring the future of Mosaic. As you know, it takes a village -- and we welcome the input of every Mosaic member, to determine what the next years hold for the organization."

Meet the outgoing and incoming MOCA Board of Directors: (Left to Right)  Alan Wechsler, Mindy Tumarkin, Terry Auspitz, Sharon Goldman, Hillary Brown, Robyn Israel, Miriam Gross, Francine Dick, Norine Goodman and Rick Dronsky. Missing is Marlisse Marcus and Arthur Goldstein.

Looking for a Few Good Volunteers 

Next Labor Day is a long time away, but the Board of Directors is already working hard to find a site for the next Jewish Outdoor Escape. At this time, we do not have a site or even a region chosen, although we are looking at a few options. This is where we look to you, our Mosaic members, for assistance.

Do you know of a good camp in your area -- or anywhere, for that matter? Our criterion includes: enough cabins or room to support 150 attendees, at no more than six per room; spots for singles and doubles; proximity to outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, historical sites and tourist attractions; and within two hours of a decent-sized airport. Being a Jewish camp is a plus, but not essential.

Send your ideas to And if you'd like to volunteer to help organize next year's event, please reach out as well. Remember: Mosaic is an all-volunteer organization -- the more, the merrier.   


This year The Jewish Outdoor Escape counted 31 new attendees at the September event in the Poconos. We are always on the lookout for ways to attract new members, so it was heartening to see so many newbies checking us out.

Members new and old fill the stage to the music of Roosevelt Dime at the Poconos event.
Also this year we decided to try something new. On the advice on another first-timer, we decided to reach out to as many new attendees as possible by phone -- both to thank them for attending and also to get constructive feedback from them.

Some provided some thoughtful suggestions for improvements, which we will address in a future newsletter. But most had very positive things to say about the event: comments ranged from "I was very impressed" to "It was a great experience" to "Can't imagine how to make it better -- it was clear someone did a ton of work."
But it's likely no one had a more poignant first-time experience than Elysa Savelle, a member of the South Florida chapter.
Elysa, no light packer, flew to the event with an estimated 50 pounds of luggage in a duffel bag - a down jacket, rain jacket, coordinated outfits for hiking and rafting, numerous hair products, a full-sized pillow, even a coffee maker.
But when she arrived, she found that the airline had lost her luggage.
Fortunately, the Mosaic community came to the rescue.
"Everyone was so generous," she recalled a few weeks later. " Both Michelle and Alan offered to take me to Walmart, Marsha went to the camp store and got me T-shirts and flannel p.j. pants, Claudia gave me contact solution ... Everyone was just running to my rescue."
She survived the weekend and still had a blast, as anyone who saw her dancing and singing at the evening campfires can attest. Two months later, she still hasn't gotten her luggage back. But she has no regrets about coming.
"I lost my luggage on the way to the Poconos," she said. "But what I found was community, compassion and new friendships. It was a beautiful thing."

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.