"A Jewish Comic and a Muslim Researcher Walk into a Party..."

Can humor really bridge the gap between Muslims and Jews?

If you missed my piece on NPR's "All Things Considered," click here to hear about the unlikely relationship between a Jewish comic and a very serious Muslim analyst.

The piece ignited an interfaith discussion, as many commented how they loved how Dalia's and my relationship showed "the harmony of human spirit despite all the external or outer differences in looks, attire, faith, and even dull versus funny professions."

I was truly surprised to see how a small story of my life could make such a difference.

When I first met Dalia Mogahed at ICAN, a women's leadership conference in Omaha, Nebraska, I hadn't a clue that our small connection would blossom into something worthy for the world to listen to. I was definitely surprised when she called later to ask me to help coach her for her next speech.

Prior to her call, I had been watching the evening news lead with another story demonizing a Muslim terrorist. I'm very sensitive about any group, especially a religious one, being singled out because of a small percentage of mentally ill members of that group. Since the "Son of Sam" murders (serial killer David Berkowitz) when I was a teen in Hebrew schoolevery time someone did a hideous act of violence, I think, "Please don't be Jewish."

I recognized Dalia's call as an opportunity to do some interfaith healing. Studies have shown that laughter and humor build truth. And, when you can laugh at a problem -- it decreases in size. The current acceptance of gay marriage has been attributed to sitcoms showing the gay characters are just like the rest of us. Perhaps, Muslims need their own "Will and Grace" to create their own ripple effect of acceptance.

By speaking the personal stories of our lives, we all can have a global ripple effect of inspiration. Take a helicopter view of your life and see how we all are connected to each other.

Please add your comments to the NPR site.

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Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.