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About Mosaic Outdoor Club of Houston


A walk with the Mosaic Outdoor Club of Houston

Something for everyone

Our events' range from two-mile walks too serious rock climbing, but most activities are at a moderate level of exertion. A few of the other activities we do are, Backpacking, Biking, Camping, Canoeing, Kayaking, Tubing, Fishing, Hiking, Horseback Riding, In-line/Ice Skating, Rock Climbing, Running, Sailing, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Snow/Water Skiing, Tennis, Volleyball, Picnics, Oneg Shabbat Dinners, and Parties. These activities are fine for participants like Barry Laves, President 97-99 of the Houston Mosaic Club, who joined the club just to be outside. 'I use to play in the woods every day in Colorado until I was ten', says Barry. 'This is the same thing.' With such a wide range of programs falling on so many weekends, members are free to pick and choose. Mosaic Jewish Outdoor Club of Houston events' attract between four and 50 participants, often a completely different group from week to week based on the activity.

TX Camping Trip LOG: May 1999,
The Camping Retreat Weekend for Canoes/Kayaks/Tubes and YOU !

The Texas Camping Retreat Trip on the 21st of May, turned out to be terrific! This was the 3rd trip of this type in 3 years.
Friday night there were over 36 of us who had gathered from Houston, Austin and Dallas. Oops, I forgot, we had guests from San Antonio and Tyler!

After meeting, greeting and setting up camp, Monique led us in a brief Friday night service. And then we cooked dinner together over a roaring campfire. Barry did a great job of picking out tent sites because we were right on the river! It was beautiful! The next morning, everyone rose to the smell of coffee, or was it the bagels with cream cheese and lox!

We went over the lists of people who were kayaking and canoeing so we knew where to be if we wanted to get on the water! We made sandwiches to take with us and brought fruit and snacks for our lunch break! Everything was working out perfectly! We all received instruction on what to do in the case of dumping over in deep water. Some of us thought we would never have to rise to that challenge! Boy, were some of us wrong!...I digress... we all headed out and went through the first "shoot" without too much difficulty. Barry J and Celia decided to take Starr out of the canoe before attempting this, although she did have her little doggie life-jacket on! The water was cool and clear and we all met up for lunch about halfway downstream. Most of us! Debbie and Mark I think were trying to break some record and wound up ahead of the group. After lunch we paddled awhile and came upon a man-made waterfall. Bill, Jeff and myself decided it was too tempting NOT to jump! So we did! What a rush! Now, I'll get back to the deep water rescue! Robin and I were paddling along, doing quite well I might add, when all of a sudden, we couldn't avoid the large branch ahead! UH OH! Yes that's right! Into the water we went with our canoe now full of water! Luckily for us, Barry was trying to direct from his kayak and Jody and Melinda were assisting along with Brian and Monique. Thank goodness for Brian, he manage to lift the canoe up over another canoe to allow the water to drain and then return it upright. Getting back in without being able to stand on the bank or in shallow water was the next obstacle. Finally we were in our boat and back on our way!

The day turn out beautifully and I believe everyone had a great time. Upon returning to our campsite, we learned of a new past-time.... River Sitting! (On Sunday, the few of us that hung out for awhile decided to try it out. What fun!) Saturday night was fajitas. Juliette and Amy, along with others to help... did an excellent job! We talked around the campfire, gave massages, went for walks, played cards and got to know one another. Some people got to know the stars and a few constellations a litttle better than others!!!!

We had great participation from everyone with preparing and cleaning up for meals. That teamwork was greatly appreciated!
Sunday morning was Gordon's turn to shine! Pancakes with chocolate chips or bananas! Whatever we wanted, Gordon was flipping flapjacks. A finally, the talking stick ceremony on Sunday morning, you have to be there to see this ! Can't wait to see everyone again soon! If I could be in two places at once, I'd be there for the June 26th trip, but C'est la vie!
Pam Kleiman

A great time, but by no means unique to the members of Mosaic's 20 + chapters in the US, Canada, and Israel. Mosaic is a club that walks the walk. From three to 12 times a month, local Mosaic chapters schedule hiking, biking, water stuff, campouts, and skiing, in a steady stream of outdoor events for Jews of all stripes, shapes, and ages.

How Religious?

The clubs have no set religious agenda, and observance varies. While most members aren't Orthodox, there's a good variety in matters such as vegetarianism, levels of kashrut, Shabbat activity, and a desire to steer programming toward Jewish topics. Some clubs make an effort not to schedule events on Shabbat.

Some trips call for a bag lunch, so the kashrut issues are kept to weekend outings and the annual Labor Day event, which is kosher. The 1999 event, sponsored by the Atlanta, Ga. chapter, provided kosher meals upon request.

Steve Millmond in Denver, Colorado founded the first Mosaic outdoor club in 1988, in answer to the lack of Jewish outdoor organization. A year later he moved to Baltimore and started a club there. Other clubs popped up as people came to Mosaic events and returned to their hometowns to fill an obvious need.

True to its name, Mosaic's members have very different reasons for belonging. Rick Dronsky, Executive Director and Executive Vice President of MOCA - Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America, the national umbrella group for individual Mosaic chapters - says that for some, it's just 'Jewish people getting together to participate in outdoor activities.'

Some volunteer a lot of time and effort in the hope that these Jewish people getting together in the outdoors will learn to love the outdoors; and some hope to meet others with the same interest. Still others are looking to keep fit.

Perhaps twenty percent of members are married, and the rest are single adults.

We are people who get together to do something they like. 'We always have a good time,' and at the end of the day, that's success enough.

Out, for a good time

With modest dues or non-member fees, Mosaic is a inexpensive way to do some outdoor activities and get involved, if you like, and help plan your hike. But it's also a great way to spend time with other Jews who enjoy the outdoors.