10 Jews you should know

By on March 4, 2009
Mark Fishman - photo by Gal Bar-Or

Mark Fishman – photo by Gal Bar-Or

Jackson Hole, Wyo.-This Friday, Heeb Magazine opens its Heeb 100 exhibit at Lyndsay McCandless Contemporary Gallery. The exhibit features photos and descriptions of 100 young Jewish achievers in the arts, media, food, entrepreneurship and more. In honor of the opening, Planet JH has compiled our own list of Jewish notables here in the valley – not a “best of” Jews list, though they are all pretty cool.

On this list are people you work with, ski with, listen to on the radio, who help you when you’re sick and more. They make Jackson what it is, along with a slew of gentiles, but as of yet there is no show in town called Slew of Gentiles 100.

As in every subjective list, ours may be wrought with controversy. Maybe we missed or included the wrong Jews. You may feel compelled to write letters of complaint to the publisher. Mazel Tov – this is a very Jewish reaction and we may consider you for next year’s list.

So, it is with nachas we ask you to share in our Jewbilation … The Planet JH 10

Larry Rieser
Like many before him, Larry stood on the top of a snowy mountain with skis strapped to his feet and thought, “There’s something silly about working 50 weeks a year to do this for only two.”  Larry left Chicago, where he was a community organizer (yes, Sarah, a community organizer), and came to Jackson in 1973. Only after he’d overseen the creation daycare program in Chicago that served close to 700 kids in need.

Working the usual cadre of Jackson service jobs and teaching skiing, Larry couldn’t abandon the social worker within and worked with kids at various summer camp programs including Youth Conservation Corps. He continues to teach AARP driving classes to seniors and is a ski instructor at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. He’s worked as a river guide, a tour guide in the Parks and Western-swing dance instructor. Now Larry can’t imagine living outside of the mountains that keep him here because “things keep being exciting.” He was profiled in House and Garden magazine in a series called The Good Life. Sure sounds like it.

Dave Bergart
Some people have a burning passion for Jackson Hole. Dave developed a passion while Jackson Hole was burning. From Massachusetts, Dave came to Jackson as part of a Utah-based fire fighting crew battling the Green Knoll Fire in 2001. During a break in the action, he lined up a job coaching Nordic skiing and settled here permanently. A world class archery biathlete, Dave competed across Europe where the sport is more popular.

He is currently manager of  Van Vleck House’s Adams Canyon Crisis Shelter where kids aged 10 to 18 can find help and respite during personal crisis.  He’s also finished his first year of elected office as a city councilman in Victor. As part of a more representative city council, Dave is excited about growing Victor the right way. “To make sure that we stay true to the core values of the community and grow responsibly and appropriately.”  Dave also taught at the local Hebrew School, introducing the kids to Hebrew Hip-Hop.  Shalom, dawg.

Carol Mann
In a former life, Carol took skiing and snowboarding in Wyoming to a whole new level.  It’s not the kind of former life that she’ll reveal to you in a “soul reading,” but she and her former husband owned Grand Targhee in the 1980s and 1990s. On Carol’s watch, Targhee instituted snowcat skiing, extreme ski clinics and summer programs like the Targhee Institute and Targhee music festivals.  Gifted with a keen intuitive sense, Carol now provides clients with a deeper awareness of themselves and their life-purposes. She has just come out with a CD entitled 2012 A.D. The Big Picture. It seeks to explain the changes that are rumored to happen in late 2012. And how will Jackson Hole fare in 2012 and beyond?

“This is a perfect place to connect with what is essential in life,” said Carol. “People have always been drawn to this majestic environment as a place to renew themselves.”  Whew!

Mischa Dziezyc
Mischa Dzyiec must be Russian for “Jewish kid with a lot of energy.”  A senior at Jackson Hole High School, depending on the season, Mischa can be found on the football field, the ski slopes, the golf course and the soccer field. That is until a couple of weeks ago when a knee injury cut short his skiing and most likely his soccer seasons.

The fates were kind in the timing though – he has already gotten a scholarship to play soccer at Westminster College in Salt Lake City next fall.  He now has more time for another passion, drawing and painting. Though he took his first art class just a year ago, Mischa has developed an abstract style, or a genre he calls “going crazy on a canvass.”

Dava Zucker
If you’ve picked up the Jackson Hole Daily in the last 27 years, you’ve rubbed editorial elbows with Dava. She has edited this valley institution since being plucked from the wait staff of Anthony’s Restaurant by the Daily’s owners in a classic “kid, we’re gonna make you an editor” moment. A Detroit native, she holds five (no that’s not a typo), master’s degrees in social sciences and worked as a therapist, nursing home administrator and more before diving into the glamorous world of JH journalism.

Dava’s impact on the valley goes beyond the newsstand. She was part of a team that started the Community Safety Network for victims of domestic violence and was instrumental in founding Community Mental Health and a host of programs that promote tolerance and beyond for the public schools and the larger Jackson community.

Gary Trauner
In the tradition of nomadic Jews, Gary Trauner traveled Wyoming for years, knocking on doors of potential voters. In his twice unsuccessful bid to fill the state’s only U.S. Congressional seat, Gary figures he knocked on more doors and met more people than any other political candidate in memory. Regardless of the outcome, Trauner said it’s nice to be home.  “As badly as I wanted to make a difference for the people of Wyoming, coming home to Jackson Hole and to my wife and sons is not a conciliation prize.” A Jackson resident since 1990, he co-founded OneWest.net and served on various boards, including the Teton County School Board.

Trauner is currently CFO for pet food company Mulligan Stew.  Will he run again? He certainly wanted to represent the people of Wyoming whom he thinks still aren’t well represented.  “Until we make people accountable and responsible for what they say, if we allow people to say anything to get elected, things are not going to get better for the people of our state.”

Dr. Lisa Finkelstein and Dr. Brent Blue
Planet JH had a lot of Jewish doctors to choose from; they are not exactly an endangered species. These two are prominent physicians and each have “shmekle” ads that make us laugh.

Rarely has a urologist had such widespread appeal. A Philadelphia native and board-certified urologic surgeon with a local practice in urological medicine, Lisa is also the comic brain behind one of the most recognized, if sometimes irreverent, ad campaigns in local media. From the debut of the first ad for her practice, illustrated with a picture of a man with a large banana protruding from his pants, Lisa now has more than 100 ads that keep us laughing about our private parts – not at them, but with them.

Dr. Brent Blue, local physician and famous, OK infamous, private pilot has had a solo practice in Jackson for about 25 years, running clinics in town and at Grand Teton National Park. You probably know his biplane flyovers and subsequent misadventures. But you may not know that Brent is a medical entrepreneur and owner of several medical equipment companies that make products for aviation including oxygen meters for pilots, carbon-monoxide monitors and small oxygen concentrators that allow patients in need of supplemental oxygen to fly and travel with ease. But we especially appreciate his half-priced vasectomies during the month of February under the tag line, “The gift that doesn’t keep on giving.”

David Kornblum
From the concrete canyons of Manhatten, rode this word-slingin’ cowpoke affectionately called the “poet lariat” of Jackson Hole. Kid Kornblum, as he is known to cowboy poetry aficionados, left behind a budding legal career and a successful commercial real estate business to move to Jackson Hole as owner of well-known Puzzleface Ranch. Here is where his love of poetry met the responsibility of running a working ranch.

And somewhere between learning which end of a horse to feed and performing his poetry for audiences everywhere, he managed to be elected to the Teton County School Board and to become board president at Off Square Theatre Company, which has now blossomed at the Center for the Arts. “For a town and valley so diminutive, our community is blessed with some rare talent, particularly in the theatrical genre … we now have a venue worthy of the talent we have assembled.”

Mark “Fish” Fishman
Fish wears a whole heap-o kipot at 96.9 KMTN. He’s the music director, program director, promotions director, does advertising sales, and you can hear him on-air from 6 to 10 a.m., every weekday morning. “I program KMTN as an iPod… everything from the Grateful Dead and Bob Marley to newer bands like Coldplay.”

The station is able to introduce listeners who tune in for more classic rock to alternative music they might not hear otherwise. Dave Mathews and G. Love & Special Sauce have found a wide fan base in Jackson. Fish uses his star power for area nonprofits like PAWS ,where he’ll be master of ceremonies at the Fur Ball this weekend.  He’s helped out with Pole Pedal Paddle, Jackson Hole One-Fly, Old Bills and more.


Photo by GAL BAR-OR
Mark Fishman


Reader Comments
We LOVE Fish on KMTN! Thank you for bringing to light all he does in and for Jackson!
Michelle Daniel

Fish is da’ Bomb! Love hearing him on the radio!
Naomi Schatz

GREAT shot (in the print edition) of Dr. Finkelstein and that patient, knowing what’s next for HIM! BTW, am I mistaken, or shouldn’t Judd have been on this list??
Anonyholic II

Looking forward to future cover stories to include; “”10″” Atheists, Muslims, Rastafarians, Christians, Pagans, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, Shintoists, Scientologists, etc. ………… you should know.

What about the valley’s movie theater mogul?

That’s amazing! I brought my Jewish camp (Camp Nageela West) to Jackson this past summer and we had no idea that there is a Jewish presence in JH at all! We’re just about two hours away, so JH might be the closest Jewish community to Bear Lake, UT!
Dani Locker”

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