Sunday, May 20, 2012


In May, I traveled to Israel for a laughing tour. I had been invited to present a program of laughter yoga at the Jerusalem International Conference on Integrative Medicine. I also spend a few days with laughter friends in Neytana and the surrounding area. Of course, it was an amazing, cross-cultural experience in which laughter brought us together. And why wouldn't it? The more I travel with laughter yoga, the more I understand that we are all one laughing, human family. The differences, which divide us fall away in the priceless moments of laughing together. Below are pictures and captions, which present a summary of my adventures. But first, I invite you to watch this video (if it doesn’t appear in your email, view it at this link:

All excited at the airport & ready to go!

Washington, D.C. as I flew over it (I then got stuck there overnight as the delay in my first flight prevented me from catching my connecting flight...but I just laughed)

Eli Sapir and his granddaughters (he was one of my amazing hosts)

Alex Sternick and Meital Sapir, my amazing friends and hosts

Meital getting fit at the fitness club before laughter club

Meital and Alex at laughter club

Me at laughter club

The three of us having an incredible time

They took me to a Lag BaOmer bonfire (this is a Jewish festival)

Here's the coal fire cooking at the bonfire.

The traditional Lag BaOmer feast—they even made a special vegetarian version for me, which included rice, vegetables and herbs.

Alex's dog, Smiley—who always smiles

Alex Sternick's certified Laughter Yoga Leader course, which I helped teach while I was there

Alex, the laughing professor, hard at work

The laughter yoga practice session on the beach of the Mediterranean Sea

Alex showing his enthusiasm

The class performing the Amazing Chant

Laughter meditation on the beach (does it get any better than this?)

See? I'm laughter meditating too!

Yippeee! The Mediterranean! I was really there.

Laughing together at the sea

Alex and his fabulous students

One more view of the sea that day

This is the short hike between Alex and Meital's apartment and the beach

Alex and Meital's backyard/living room, which also doubles as a laughter yoga classroom

A passion flower growing in their yard

Alex and his little Toyota

Meital's father, Eli sharing some of his incredible homemade sherry with me

Meital's parents, Eli and Mina—check out the incredible feast they have prepared for our dinner party. The food was out of this world!

The laughing dinner party

Laughter meditation with a group of Laughter Yoga Leaders

The wild group of Laughter Yoga professionals

Scenes around a kibbutz

Shabbat table all ready at the nursing home

Meital and Alex goofing around

In Ein Hod, the artist's village—as you can see, I am kinesthetically relating with the art

They took me to the Art Bar—a famous local restaurant, which features home brewed beer and pizza. Gotta love the homemade sign!

Danny, the proprietor, is famous for his jokes. Here he is entertaining a group with one of his best jokes.

The pizza oven

Danny greeting Alex

Danny giving out samples of his unique brews

Meital and Alex toasting to a fun together in Ein Hod

And I enjoyed Danny's porter

The large sunflower seeds they gave us for snacking

Alex and Meital looking adorable as always

Our delicious pizza (I have to admit, the three of us ate four of these)!

Note the random cat who decided to join us

Danny recycles coke bottles and uses them for his beers

One more shot with Danny before leaving the Art Bar

Meital and I enjoying more sculptures around the village

The blossoms smelled so great!

Then, we went to Haifa to visit their friend, Yonathan Roten

Scenes around Haifa

This is the world's largest Baha'i Temple in Haifa

Another feast in Neytana prepared by Mina and Eli

The great cooks in their kitchen

Iranian rice

Mina's painting of Meital

The Sapir's beautiful home

Meital, her parents and I as we said farewell

Hanging out on the beach with Meital, Alex and Ezra

Smiley enjoys the beach quite a bit!

Final fun photo with Meital and Alex

And we cried to say good bye

Then I got a ride to Jerusalem with Yonathan

Snacks in Jerusalem

Enjoying fresh squeezed orange juice in Old City Jerusalem

The market place in the streets of the Old City

The Simon of Cyrene station of the Via de la Rosa

Inside the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer

The courtyard of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer

The Mount of Olives

The Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock

The Western Wall

I met the Laughter Yoga Teacher, Bat shachar Weinfeld

Bat schachar and I with the spring blooms

A grape leaf vendor in the Arab

The wall of the Old City

The layers of natural limestone beneath the Old City wall

Inside a Russian Orthodox church

The Mount of Olives

A funeral at the Mount of Olives

My presentation at the Integrative Medicine conference

A visit with my friends Avi and Eli (who I'd met earlier at Alex's class)

Then, we went on an evening tour of Jerusalem. Here's a view of the Old City at night from the Mount of Olives.

Another station of the Via de la Rosa

This is the evening view of the market place. During the day, all those doors are open and vendors are selling their goods. It looks very different at night.

Inside a new Jewish Synagogue

The Western Wall at night

The Damascus Gate of the Old City

A modern bridge in the new part of Jerusalem

The conference center at which the event was held

With some friends at the conference

Here I am with the conference president

Here I am with some friends I made from Spain

Just before I left the country I had dinner with my friends from Iowa: Gloria and Fred Strickert. They are ELCA missionaries who minister with the English speaking congregation at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Israel. Visit their fascinating blog:

William didn't have time to go with me on this trip but here he is with me the day I got back. We went hiking in Decorah, Iowa.

It is always fun to teach my Amazing Chant to different people. My friends in Israel translated it into Hebrew and performed it for this video. Even if you don't understand Hebrew, it's hilariously fun to watch. (You can also see it at this link:

Here are a few testimonials about my presentation at the conference.

It was truly a wonderful experience filled with lots of laughter and new friendships. I'm so grateful for the experience. I only wish it could have been longer. This trip now makes SIX continents on which I've led laughter yoga. Woo hoo!