Alex Sternick, Israel: Since May 2005 I have trained Laughter leaders not just in Israel, but also internationally under the title of "Playing With Nonsense" which most of you know as Gibberish Improvisation and Therapy. I have initiated Laughter clubs in my country and have been involved in facilitating Laughter Yoga Seminars among Jewish and Palestinian (also Jordanian) participants usually attending Peace Education Conferences.
Though it is difficult to promote the idea of Laughter Yoga among Palestinian villages or even among Jews and Arabs in a politically neutralized location as the borders and bureaucracy is too complicated, but it is still amazing to see how people who live in this very observant society and tough conditions attend our workshops and enjoy the laughter sessions. The endorphin euphoria may not extend beyond the session, yet people remember my one time contribution for a long time.
I must share an incredible story about a sustainable personal friendship built around the concept of Laughter and Laughter Yoga. It all started in 2005 when an Israeli senior yoga teacher Tzippi Negev forwarded my name and mission regarding forming Laughing Clubs among "enemies" to her friend Khuloud Barakat - a PhD student and teacher from Jordan involved in conflict resolution since many years as well as in many spiritual circles. He contacted me and we had an amazing sharing of ideas on the importance of laughter and anger management. Khuloud had been previously exposed to Laughter Yoga in Jordan and loved the idea of unconditional laughter. We were planning and reconsidering many projects like training laughter leaders in several risk factors we had to postpone it.
However, my friend was accepted as a student in an Israeli Environmental Studies College in Kibbutz Qetorah (near the Israeli-Jordanian border). The college holds an exchange program where Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and American Jewish students pass one semester or more together studying both Environmental Studies and Anger Management. After a bureaucratic process of getting a special student visa from the Israeli Embassy she came to Israel, and we met in a peace festival where I led a laughter session. She visited my native home in the coastline of Israel and I also took her to a gathering of our Israeli Laughter Yoga leaders. This friendship which remained virtual for many years became REAL in 2008. Khuloud recommended my activities to the student management in the college who invited me to conduct Laughter and Gibberish Public Seminars. We received excellent cooperation, and we stretched the importance of practicing Laughter Therapy to create an inner peace.
It is so admirable to meet likeminded people here in the Middle East which is full of crisis and stress since centuries. But, when we meet, we laugh a lot and play silly games and .So, let us just laugh for the health of it - This is EPIGENETICS!