Friday (Day 1):


At 5:05pm ET, even with bumper to bumper traffic on Route 4 and inclement predictions of two- to seven-feet of snow, the outside conditions couldn’t keep The Blog Squad from getting to the highly anticipated Livingston Weekend. Upon getting to our houses, it took an another good hour to locate our actual room within the buildings that Livingstoners call homes. Jacob Grossman said it best: “I feel like I’m walking down a stairway to heaven, or what Couragers call – the basement.” The sweet hymns of K.O.C. director of madness Ari Dobkin’s voice greeted us on Friday evening. Walking through the synagogue doors, our hands were grabbed by 7-time Grammy winner Pitbull, who couldn’t stop singing (“don’t stop the party…”) and brought the house down. Euphoria was everywhere as we danced the night away. Even our very own Zach Pollack got in on the action and started doing the worm, which set the roof on fire.

As we made our way to the dining hall, we saw some of our amigos from First Class Catering, who continued to amaze us as they set a new culinary bar with a five-star dinner. Sammy Salamon was removed from kitchen kicking and screaming as he was found eating three pots of matzah balls. He was heard to be screaming, “I’m innocent” and Llay off me. I’m starving!” The songs lead by Dr. Lustig and his band of vocalists warmed the crowd up for the exciting night activities that Eli Langer had up his (short) sleeve. Following inspirational words from Roni Bibring and Zack Pollack, the masses heard some poetic and bromantic secret Valentine’s card reading by our head staff… to our head staff.

Just as we were about to whip out a game of Monopoly, Eli Langer kept the fun spirits rolling as he introduced his next activity titled “Compound It!” In a nutshell (since we can’t divulge how our secret games are played), the sound of laughter resonated throughout the community as the hilarious and witty comments kept on coming, each one funnier than the previous. You know the activity is over when after Round 74, Langer asks the crowd “Does anybody have a good idea for a scene?”. Luckily, the game stopped just in the nick of time, as the Oneg snacks were distributed. Just when you thought nothing could top the decedant chocolate soufflet with ice cream, a shorgezboard of dental nightmares were brought out and loaded the campers with enough sugar to keep them wired until San Diego.

Though most KOCers just pre-gamed the Oneg for the afterparty at Michael Celler’s crib, The Blog Squad remained in their seats for in the friendly confines of social hall for Yosef Feldman’s reading of his New York Times bestseller autobiography titled “Drop”. We then headed for our hosts’ houses, which was situated just three homes away from the shul, so naturally, the walk only took 45 minutes. (Man, those Livingston houses are small!)


Shabbos (Day 2):

There are three things in life that are certain: birth, taxes and the weatherman being totally off. Though the predicted snow never made it, that didn’t stop some of K.O.C. from their planned wake-up time of 9:30am ET.

Immediately following the services, Livingston spoiled us with a phenomenal kiddush. It was full of delicacies that any and every jew craves at 11:15am in the morning. We tried to get some feedback from Daniel “Colonoscopy” Katz on the herring from this lavish feast, but as we approached him for comment, he passed out suddenly. After receiving medical attention, it emerged that Daniel didn’t have a good herring-to-cracker ratio, and the onion + fish stench really took over and knocked him out cold. Amateurs.

Lunch-time was pretty amusing as the crew finally got their chance to sit down for a much needed round of Monopoly Deal. Reigning champ Racheli Hertzfeld displayed why she is the upstanding ‘queen of the scene’, wiping the floor clean to maintain her undefeated record in the addicting card game. After a moving speech from the great Dr. D, which coincidently was strikingly similar to all of his other speeches – no matter which community we visit, a cake was busted out as guests of all ages joined in unison to sing “happy birthday” to K.O.C. Logistics guru, Yaakov Mo Miller. Upon dishing out delicious slices of the mouth-watering dessert, Langer once again took center stage and announced the post-lunch activity: a Q&A panel titled “Getting to Know Us Better”. This interactive session of question and answer featured lovable comedian Elon Gold, entertainer turned physician Dr. D, Goldman Sachs chief technology officer Rabbi Sargent Sensei David Bendory Esq, MD, CPA, JD, MBA, DDS, C++, EMT and LCSW, and local residents Mr. and Mrs. Halpern. The audience was enlightened about the extremely diverse panelists in areas ranging from favorite pizza topping to personal preferences of boxers or briefs. The activities concluded with an intense game of charades where division head and aspiring hair stylist Menashe Friedman was forced to motion “the hippopotamus skied on red ice cream”. With a little help from Adam Sandler’s hit film Big Daddy, ‘Friedawg’ was able to communicate the above sentence in a mere 18 minutes. Nobody said charades were going to be easy without all-star Elisheva Hayman in attendance.

We broke for hangout time where most couragers hit the board games. We kept busy with a very special Shabbos party karaoke with Jacob “jukebox heroGrossman. His vast repertoire of classic rock and pop music kept The Blog Squad, Moishe Gamms and Tzviki Adlerstein busy for the duration of the afternoon. Dinner was enjoyed by all and Dobz (“boooo!”) gave over heartwarming words. We also heard some more harmonious songs before the night’s BIG event took place.

Upon gathering our belongings and thanking our hosts for a truly memorable shabbos, we made our way back to Congregation Etz Chaim for some motzei shabbos pasta, smoothies and tricked out grilled cheese paninis before taking in the hilarious and amusing Elon Gold Comedy Show. Parents and children could not stop laughing as Elon delivered a performance that really set the tone and got everyone into the Purim spirit. Speaking of Purim, as the throngs of KOCers dashed for the exits, our dedicated staff members and campers taped our newest viral video, “The Courage Shake”.

What a way to cap off an unforgettable weekend. Special thanks to all those who made this weekend possible and to the larger Livingston community for graciously making us feel like part of the family.

From our courageous family to yours, Freilichin Purim y’all!

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