Grillin’ Up a Flavorful ‘Parents’ Night Out’

A beautiful night, coupled with laughter and friends, made this year’s Friendship Circle “Parents’ Night Out” a smashing success. More than 80 people attended the event, which included a comedy show, giveaways, and, of course, great food.

The evening began with a tour of LifeTown, the 53,000-square-foot social and educational center currently under construction in Livingston. For some parents, especially those who have been involved with Friendship Circle for many years, the tour was proof that their children will soon have a place to call their own. All were blown away by what they saw and heard, and eager for the final phase of construction to get underway.

The fun then moved to the home of Abbi and Jeremy Halpern, who were thrilled to open their home for the event. There, parents enjoyed a barbecue dinner with all the fixings. Gathered around in small groups, they ate, chatted and caught up with old friends, while at the same time making some new ones. Speaking to the parents, Jeremy Halpern noted that his children were volunteers with Friendship Circle, and that the organization means a lot to his family. He added that the children who come to Friendship Circle programs are “so pure in heart.”

The highlight of the evening—other than seeing LifeTown, they said—was a performance by stand-up comedian Avi Lieberman, who has appeared on numerous television programs and performed for U.S. troops overseas. With his quips about Jewish life, Israel and more, the comedian had the audience in stitches for a good part of the night.

One lucky mom even won tickets for two to the Broadway show “Hamilton.”

“Avi’s a riot, and the company’s great,” declared first-time FC barbecue-goer Justin Sakofs, accompanied by his wife, Rachel. While they have attended other FC programs with their young children, they said an adults-only venue gave them an opportunity for deeper conversation with parents, and they hope to see similar events in the future.

“I was very excited about the progress I saw at LifeTown, and I look forward to [my daughter] Monica joining,” said Suzanne Smolyar as the evening drew to a close. “It was just a beautiful event. It feels like family.”

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